LUBBOCK, Texas. (UCA)The University of Central Arkansas Bears will end a 14-day break with a tough opponent on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-3) at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Game time is 1 p.m. on Fox Sports Midwest.
"It's definitely a tough opponent to come back with from a long break,' said UCA Coach Clarence Finley. "But our last two practices have been very good. They've really been focused. And we'll need to be because it's a big task ahead of us.
"(Texas Tech Coach) Tubby (Smith) has then playing well right now. They have two big games coming up after us, against LSU and Arizona State. So they'll really be focused right now. He won't let them overlook us. They have a seasoned team.'
The last outing for the Bears (2-4) was a loss at Kansas State on Dec 1. A home game against Nebraska-Omaha scheduled for Dec. 7 was postponed until Dec. 28 because of winter weather. The Bears finished up final exams Friday before heading on the road for a two-game swing. UCA also plays at North Texas in Denton, Texas, on Tuesday.
"The first week was pretty productive, but this week has been kind of hectic with semester tests,' Finley said. " We didn't practice at all Monday, because we wanted to make sure they were focused on their tests. Then we've had players in and out of practice all week. Some of them leaving practice early, or coming late.'
UCA continues to lead the Southland Conference in three-pointers made per game (8.8) and is third in three-point percentage (38.1). Ten different Bears have made at least one three, with freshman Jalen Jackson leading the league in percentage (51.9) and fourth in threes made per game.
The Bears are fifth in the SLC in scoring (71.5) but are 12th in defense, allowing 82.0 points per game. Jackson is 12th in scoring at 14.3 points per game, while fellow freshman Phabian Glasco is seventh in blocked shots (1.3).
"We really needed that game with Omaha,' said Finley, "because I thought we were really prepared and had a good game plan for them. We were focused and ready to go, so that hurt us some.'
The Red Raiders, under first-year coach Smith, are led by Jaye Crockett in both scoring (14.1, rebounding (6.8) and field-goal percentage (65.5). Tech is coming off a 79-58 loss at No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 3. Prior to that, the Red Raiders won consecutive games against UTSA and Houston. Tech is 5-0 at home this season.
Smith coached previously at Tulsa, Georgia, Minnesota and Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to the NCAA national championship in 1998.