BLOOMINGTON, Ind. _ Two big scoring droughts were too much for the University of Central Arkansas Bears to overcome Wednesday night against the No. 22 team in the nation.
UCA went stone cold twice against the Indiana Hoosiers and it resulted in an 86-53 loss in front of a crowd of 13,915 at storied Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The Bears (4-7), who led for most of the first six minutes of play, had scoreless streaks of more than nine minutes in the first half and another of just over seven minutes in the second half. UCA's shooting, which was well over 60 percent in the early going, tailed off dramatically as the game progressed. The Bears finished at 31.3 percent overall, despite hitting 9 of 23 (39.1 percent) from three-point range.
"We did have a great start,' said UCA associate head coach Anthony Boone. "We were playing pretty good defense and we turned them over quite a bit early in the game. And then we hit a dry stretch, and then as things started to go bad, our defense started to wane and it kind of got out of hand.
"It wasn't bad at halftime, we felt like we were still in the game. Then starting out the second half we made a little push and cut it to 12. But then we hit another dry stretch. I think the first half we went 15 possessions straight without scoring, and the second half it was 17. We had a good game plan, and it looked good for awhile, but as it kind of started to snowball on us, we let up... our defense really let up.'
When the shots were falling early in the game, UCA was every bit as good as the taller and deeper Hoosiers. The Bears led 19-14 with 14:35 left in the first half but after the Hoosiers tied it at 19-19 with 13:15 to play, they never led again. From there, Indiana (10-2) scored the next 19 points to push its lead to 33-19 with 5:30 to play in the half. UCA sophomore center Hayden Koval, who had a team-high 18 points, broke the drougth with an inside basket at the 5:20 mark, then followed with a three-pointer to get the Bears within 35-24.
After UCA senior Thatch Unruh made a three, the Hoosiers scored the final five points of the half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by Devonte Green, to take a 43-27 lead to the locker room.
"Hayden has a lot of confidence the last couple of games,' said Boone. "He shot the ball well, and played well. He played pretty good defense on their guys. We're excited about that, and we need to get a couple of other guys going.'
The lead reached as much as 38 points late in the second half as four players finished in double figures for the Hoosiers, who have won five consecutive games over the past two weeks and improved to 11-0 all-time against Southland Conference teams. Green led Indiana with 19 points, hitting 6 of 10 from three-point range, while leading scorer Romeo Langford had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.The Hoosiers scored more than half of their points (48) in the paint.
Koval, a 7-foot sophomore from Prosper, Texas, led the Bears with 16 points, connecting on four three pointers and pulling down three rebounds. Unruh and freshman Eddy Kayouloud had eight points each, with Kayouloud grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
"I think we got a little gun shy because those guys were long and athletic,' Boone said. "A couple of times we had some easy shots we thought we'd make and they would jump up and block it. The guys got a little bit timid and played a little too conservative.'
UCA continues its five-game road trip at Oklahoma State at noon Friday before the holiday break.