Whorton captures 600th win in Lady Lions’ triumph

FORT SMITH, Ark. – UAFS women’s basketball coach Louis Whorton etched another milestone in what has been a legendary college coaching career on Thursday night, earning his 600th career win.

Freshman forward Justyne Huber posted a double-double to lead the Lady Lions to a 59-55 Heartland Conference win against the Oklahoma Christian Lady Eagles at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS (3-10, 3-4) snapped a three-game losing streak in winning the opening game of the two-game, home-and-home series with Oklahoma Christian (5-6, 1-4), which is a provisional NCAA Division II member.

Whorton, who has spent his entire 28-year college coaching career at UAFS, has compiled a 600-252 win-loss record that includes a NJCAA Division I National Championship and one NJCAA National Runner-up finish.

He is the winningest Lady Lions basketball coach and is a member of the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Huber scored 20 points and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds to lead the Lady Lions, who trailed 31-30 at halftime. UAFS shot just 30 percent from the field (20 for 66) – it was only 4-for-20 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 79 percent from the free-throw line (15 for 19).

Freshman guard Sydney Franklin came off the bench to chip in 11 points and was the only other Lady Lion to score in double-figures.

Blossoms’ second-half rally falls short

MONTICELLO – The University of Arkansas at Monticello women’s basketball team trimmed a 17-point deficit down to three points with 5:32 remaining, but could not overcome a poor shooting performance in a 66-54 loss to East Central University on Thursday night at home.

East Central (7-4, 2-3 Great American Conference) held UAM (5-5, 1-3 GAC) without a made field goal for the final 14 minutes of the first half to take a 31-14 lead at the break. UAM had taken a 10-8 lead on a fast break layup from sophomore Tamia Grady at the 14:22 minute mark for the final field goal of the opening half.

Jordan Goforth and Grady each finished with 20 points. Goforth was 7-for-14 from the field, while Grady finished 6-for-17 and made 7-of-12 foul shots.

The Blossoms are back in action on Saturday at home against Southeastern Oklahoma State.


Lions cage Eagles, earn first conference win

FORT SMITH — Three players scored in double-figures to lead the UAFS Lions to an 86-76 Heartland Conference win against the Oklahoma Christian Eagles on Thursday at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS (8-3, 1-2), who was the preseason favorite to win the conference, snapped a two-game losing streak in posting its first conference win in three tries. Oklahoma Christian (4-7, 0-3), which is a provisional member of NCAA Division II, lost its fourth game in a row and remained winless in conference play.

It was the first game of a two-game weekend homestand for UAFS, which will host Dallas Baptist in conference play at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS shot 48 percent from the field (26 for 54) – it was 14-for-30 from 3-point range – and shot 63 percent from the free-throw line (20 for 32).

Freshman Seth Youngblood led the Lions with 24 points, including five 3-pointers. Senior guard Jake Toupal chipped in 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and freshman guard Alex Cooper added 10 points.

Nine players in all scored for the Lions, who led 37-29 at halftime.

Senior guard Xavier McClish and Cooper had nine and seven assists, respectively to lead the Lions, who had 20 assists as a team. McClish, junior guard Miha Glavas and freshman forward LJ Ross had five rebounds apiece to lead UAFS, which out-rebounded Oklahoma Christian by three rebounds (38-35).

A-State wins Sun Belt opener

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Arkansas State University men’s basketball team opened up Sun Belt Conference (SBC) play in impressive fashion with an 82-66 victory over UT Arlington this Thursday night at UTA’s College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

The Red Wolves improve to 8-4 overall and 1-0 in Sun Belt Conference play as a result of winning their third consecutive contest while UT Arlington drops to 5-8 overall and 0-1 in the SBC.

Senior guard Ed Townsel scored a season-high 20 points off the bench to lead the A-State offensive charge while senior forward Kirk Van Slyke and sophomore guard Cameron Golden posted 15 points apiece. Senior guard Brandon Reed notched 12 points as did senior forward Kendrick Washington, who registered his second straight double-double with a game-high tying 10 rebounds. Van Slyke totaled 10 boards as well to notch his initial double-double of this campaign.

The Red Wolves continue conference play in Texas this Saturday (Jan. 4) taking on another league newcomer in the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos, Texas.

Bears drop SLC opener

CONWAY — Texas A&M-Corpus Christi had four players in double figures and knocked off the University of Central Arkansas Bears 81-66 in the Southland Conference opener on Thursday night at the Farris Center.

UCA (3-9, 0-1) staged a comeback late in the second half but could not overcome a poor shooting night from the field, and particularly from three-point range. The Bears, the third-best three-point shooting team in the league, made just 5 of 23 from beyond the arc (21.7 percent) and shot 39 percent from the field overall.

Freshman forward Jalen Jackson led the Bears with 21 points, making three of UCA’s five three-pointers.

Senior guard LaQuentin Miles, who added 19 points, scored consecutive baskets for the Bears, but A&M then outscored UCA 11-4 the rest of the way to pull away.

The Bears are at home again on Saturday, hosting SLC newcomer Houston Baptist, an 88-55 loser to Oral Roberts on Thursday night.

Wilson goes for 29 in UAM win

MONTICELLO — Senior forward Brandon Wilson scored a career-high 29 points to lead the University of Arkansas Monticello men’s basketball team to its seventh straight victory, defeating East Central 76-71 on Thursday night at home.

Wilson finished the game 9-for-16 from the field. The Rayville, La. native was 11-for-16 from the foul line, and added six rebounds and four blocked shots to his final totals.

The Weevils (9-2, 3-1 Great American Conference) opened the game with the first four points, but ended up relinquishing that lead midway through the period to the Tigers (6-5, 3-2 GAC), who led for the final 11:18 seconds before Wilson nailed a jumper in the paint at the buzzer to force the game’s third tie, 39-all at the break.

In addition to Wilson’s career-night, Jared Harrison finished with 16 points and six assists, senior Dayton Mickens had 10 points and seven rebounds, and junior D’Audrio Patton chipped in with 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench.

The Weevils are back in action on Saturday at home against Southeastern Oklahoma State.

Trojans rally to win SBC opener

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Facing a three-point deficit at halftime, UALR (6-7, 1-0 SBC) rallied to shoot 63.2 percent over the final 20 minutes and made several key plays down the stretch to pull out a 63-59 win over Texas State (4-10, 0-1 SBC) on Thursday to open Sun Belt play. Senior Will Neighbour led the Trojans with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half.

Led by sophomore Josh Hagins’ career-best 19 points, the Trojans held a 24-to-19 edge in bench scoring.

Sophomore DeVonte Smith scored six points, including two late free throws to seal the game, and finished the night without a single turnover.

UALR returns to action on Saturday when it continues its road swing with UT Arlington.

Tech’s Fletcher scores team-best 13 in win

ALVA, Okla. – Bryson Fletcher scored a team-best 13 points, while Charles Mells grabbed 11 rebounds with three blocks, as the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys basketball team (7-4, 2-1 Great American Conference) topped Northwestern Oklahoma (4-6, 1-3 GAC) 60-56 on Thursday night at Percefull Fieldhouse.

Tech returns to action on Saturday when they face Southwestern Oklahoma in Weatherford, Okla.