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Seminole Indian

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« on: February 08, 2018, 08:10:25 am »

HOUSTON, Texas _ Another 30-point scoring effort by senior Jordan Howard and another triple-double by a freshman _ this time 7-foot center Hayden Koval _ carried the University of Central Bears to an easy 100-80 victory over the Houston Baptist Huskies on Wednesday night at Sharp Gym.

Howard, the leading scorer in UCA history, put up the 12th 30-point game of his career, scoring a game-high 35 points while taking just 16 shots. He went 12 of 16 overall, made 5 of 7 from three-point range and was a perfect 6 of 6 at the free-throw line. He led five Bears in double figures, including Koval, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and a school-record 11 blocked shots.

Koval joins fellow freshman DeAndre Jones as just the second and third UCA players in history with triple-doubles, along with NBA superstar Scottie Pippen. Koval leads the Southland Conference in blocked shots and had seven in the first half, tying the school record for the third time in just 16 minutes of action. He grabbed his final rebound for the triple double with two minutes remaining.

"He was a big, big factor. I just thought he was dominant on the defensive end,' said UCA head coach Russ Pennell. "And early on, just by him protecting the rim like he was, he just changed the complexion of the game for HBU. And then he kind of started getting it going on the offensive end in the second half. They started in a box-and-one on Jordan and we tried to get Hayden to push deep in the lane because there was a big hole there in the middle. And he finally did an made some easy buckets, then as the game wore on, he stepped out and made some jumpers.

"That's a special moment for a kid, and to have just three triple-doubles in the history of the school, and two of those were this season, by true freshmen. That's pretty remarkable.'

The Bears (13-12, 7-5) also got 13 points each from junior Thatch Unruh and senior Mathieu Kamba and 10 from freshman Matthew Mondesir. UCA finished with 21 assists, five each from Kamba and Howard. The Bears also outrebounded the Huskies 44-32, led by Koval's 10 and Kamba's 7, while Howard and Mondesir added six apiece. As a team, the Bears blocked a season-high 13 shots.

"Jordan was Jordan,' said Pennell. "He was so effiicient, he didn't force it, he let the game come to him. Even when they box-and-oned him, he kind of waited and then got a couple of layups, and then all of a sudden the basket got really big. To only miss four shots all night, that's pretty incredible.'

The Bears led 47-35 at halftime on the strength of 19 points from Howard. UCA shot 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes and held HBU to just 35.9 percent. In the second half, the UCA lead reached as much as 25 points as the Bears were even better from the field, hitting at a 65.4-percent clip after halftime. UCA , the second-best team in the SLC at the free-throw line, went 20 of 23 (87 percent) for the game.

HBU had four players in double figures, led by Ian DuBose with 20 points. Jalon Gates added 17 points, including four three-pointers, while freshman David Careher had 15 points, but went just 6 of 17 from the field

Mondesir had career highs of 10 points and 6 rebounds and added three assists in 22 minutes of action off the bench.

"He played really, really well,' said Pennell. "He was just outstanding. And when he came in, he really gave us a lift, because Thatch picked up his second foul pretty quick.'

"Overall, I thought we just played pretty good defense. We held them to 38 percent and we were well over 50. It was really just a complete game from tip-off to finish. We just made shots, shared the ball. We had 21 assists. We're really getting it going offensively. I just hope we can keep it going, and improve our defense just a little bit, and I think we have a chance of making a run here at the end.'

UCA is open Saturday before returning to the Farris Center to take on the McNeese State Cowboys at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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