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Bad Day at the Line: Poor FT shooting costs Boll Weevils


MONTICELLO — As Arkansas-Monticello coach Allen Sharpe looked at the final stats from his team’s game Saturday, he could only shake his head.

Sharpe was, of course, disappointed in plenty of numbers on the sheet, but one thing in particular caught his attention after UAM’s 66-59 home defeat to Southern Nazarene (Okla.) at Steelman Fieldhouse.

“I’m looking at this thing and our field-goal percentage is higher than our free-throw percentage,” Sharpe said. “… That isn’t supposed to happen.

“I mean that’s like a once-a-year kind of thing maybe, for some teams it might happen once every few years maybe, and some teams it never happens to because they have guys who knock down their foul shots.”

Saturday’s loss was the second time this season UAM has managed to shoot worse when left alone at the free-throw line, and just like the first instance — Jan. 16 at Arkansas Tech — it resulted in a loss.

UAM (15-9, 8-8 GAC) finished Saturday’s game 24 of 54 (44.4 percent) from the field and 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) from the foul line.

On the other side, SNU (12-10, 10-6) made 53.5 percent (23 for 43) from the field and connected on 57.1 percent (12 for 21) from the line. C.J. Smith led the Crimson Storm with a game-high 21 points, Dartanyon Meggs added 15 and Francisco Hukill chipped in with 10.

Boll Weevils senior Brandon Wilson finished with a team-high 15 points but shot just 5 of 11 from the charity stripe.

“Well it’s kind of a catch-22,” Sharpe said. “Brandon Wilson is arguably the best player in the conference, so you have to have him out there.

“But when he can’t make a free throw, can you really afford to have him out there?”

Wilson led four UAM players in double-figures — Jared Harrison (14), Brandom Sims (13) and Sharif Hudson (10) — but the Weevils finished with their second fewest points of the season. The lowest output was Jan. 30 against Northwestern Oklahoma State in a 55-51 win.

Saturday’s defeat was the Weevils’ third straight, and in its previous two games, UAM scored just 62 and 60 points, respectively.

“We’ve had trouble scoring recently,” Sharpe said. “We need to start getting more production from the three-point line.

“I thought before the season we’d be a little weak from outside, but early on we were doing pretty well from three.”

UAM went 3 for 14 (21.4 percent) from deep against SNU, including an 0-for-5 showing by Ryan Lensing.

“I could play on this team right now,” Sharpe said. “I can at least make a three.

“And I can make a free throw.”

WOMEN

UAM 71, Southern Nazarene 66

MONTICELLO — The Cotton Blossoms earned their first win of 2014 and ended a 12-game losing streak with the Great American Conference win on Saturday.

UAM, which hadn’t won since Dec. 21 against Crowley’s Ridge (101-44), trailed by seven with 5:09 remaining but scored 17 of the final 22 points to earn the victory.

Southern Nazarene (10-12, 7-9 GAC) led 66-65 with a minute remaining, but UAM (6-16, 2-14) went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final 39 seconds.

Jordan Goforth scored a game-high 23 points for the Cotton Blossoms, while Tamia Grady and Raija McWright added 14 and 11, respectively.

Aminata Fall had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead five Crimson Storm players in double-figures.