Coaches pick Lions to finish third

FORT SMITH — The UAFS baseball team has been picked to finish third in the Heartland Conference in the preseason poll released on Friday.

UAFS, which will begin its fifth season of competition in the conference and third season as an active member, received 81 points in the voting among the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors.

The Diamond Lions finished 29-20 overall last season and 24-12 in conference play, which was good enough for a third-place finish in the regular-season conference race. The Lions qualified for the conference tournament for the second consecutive season but were eliminated after two consecutive losses.

St. Edward’s is the favorite to win the conference. The Hilltoppers, who finished second in the regular season last year and won the conference tournament, received 14 of the 17 first-place votes and 116 points in the overall voting.

The Diamond Lions will make their home debut on Feb. 11 when they host Ecclesia College in a nonconference game at Crowder Field. UAFS will play seven nonconference games before beginning conference play with a three-game series on Feb. 21-22 against Oklahoma Panhandle State at Crowder Field.



Gibson’s 28 paces Harding in win over SAU

SEARCY — Sophomore Jacob Gibson scored 28 points and all five Harding starters scored at least 10 as the Bisons (8-6, 5-3) defeated Southern Arkansas 92-80 on Thursday in Great American Conference action at Rhodes Field House.

Blake McNair also made four 3s and tied his career high with 16 points. Senior Hayden Johnson scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half after missing all but the first four minutes of the first half with foul trouble.

Freshman Will Francis added 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Bisons, and senior Weston Jameson had 10 points and eight assists. Harding had only five turnovers, matching its lowest total of the season.

Chauncy Williams made seven 3-pointers and led Southern Arkansas (5-7, 2-5) with 25 points, and Alre’k Brown added 24 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Harding’s nine-game winning streak over Southern Arkansas is the longest for either team in a series that dates to 1957.

The Bisons will play their fifth game in eight days Saturday at Arkansas-Monticello.

Trojans top WKU in overtime

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Down eight with 5:16 left in regulation, UALR outscored WKU 15-7 over the final five-plus minutes of the second half to force overtime, where it eventually prevailed with an 87-83 victory at E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday night.

Senior Will Neighbour led four Trojans in double figures with a career-best 32 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the floor.

Neighbour’s 32-point performance was the first 30-point outing by a UALR player since Brandon Freeman scored 32 against FIU on Jan. 30, 2005. With seven boards on the night, Neighbour became just the 15th player in program history to surpass the 500-rebound milestone.

James White added 10 rebounds to go along with 14 points for his second career double-double. Osse scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench. Hagins scored his 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the floor and 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

UALR will return to action on Saturday when it takes on Georgia State in Atlanta.

Cardinals go inside to knock off Bears

SAN ANTONIO — The University of Central Arkansas Bears figured they would be facing one of the top perimeter teams in the Southland Conference on Thursday night. But it was a superior inside attack that carried the Incarnate Word Cardinals (14-2, 2-1) to an 87-72 victory over the Bears at the McDermott Center.

The Bears (4-11, 1-3) were the better team from the outside, making 9 of 17 from three-point range (52.9 percent) but the Cardinals scored 48 points in the paint and had five players in double figures to win their initial home SLC game.

Senior LaQuentin Miles, who led four UCA players in double figures with 21 points.

UCA had three other players in double figures behind Miles, with Tirrell Brown and DeShone McClure scoring 13 each and Ball finishing with a career-high 12. Brown had his third double-double of the season in just seven games with 12 rebounds.

UCA’s road trip continues Saturday afternoon at Abilene Christian, another SLC newcomer.


No. 6 Harding continues win streak against Southern Arkansas

SEARCY — The sixth-ranked Harding women’s basketball team continued its record winning streak on Thursday as they defeated Southern Arkansas in Great American Conference action 70-59.

Senior forward Kristen Celsor captured her 13th double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Harding (16-0, 8-0). Celsor made 7-of-13 from the field. Junior guard Montana Lewis had 14 points and junior guard Shana Holmes had 12 points, hitting two 3-pointers.

Southern Arkansas (7-6, 3-4 GAC) was led by junior forward Chanel Miller who had 18 points, hitting 7-of-15 from the field. Miller also had 11 rebounds. Wade finished with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers.

The Lady Bisons will be back in action on today as they start a three-game road trip at Arkansas-Monticello.