MONTICELLO — It wasn’t pretty but the Arkansas-Monticello men’s basketball team escaped Saturday’s game with a win over Southeastern Oklahoma State.
The 65-57 triumph gave UAM its eighth straight win and landed it alone atop the Great American Conference standings.
UAM (10-2, 4-1 in GAC) sits a half game ahead of Southwestern Oklahoma State (3-1 in GAC), which handed the Boll Weevils their only conference loss.
Success brings its own set of new challenges for head coach Allen Sharpe.
“I don’t want them to get tired of winning,” Sharpe said. “I don’t want them to think they’re good or think we’ve arrived.”
Saturday’s win showed the Weevils they still have a long way to go.
UAM finished just 16 for 42 (38.1 percent) from the field and 28 of 45 (62.2) from the free-throw line.
“Thank goodness we get to the line a ton,” Sharpe said. “… I told the guys you don’t want that to be something that costs you a game.
“One out of two will get you beat.”
Despite struggling against SEOSU’s (4-5, 3-2) 2-3 zone, Sharpe was glad his team got to face a tough defense for an entire game.
“It is so good to win and still see things we can improve,” Sharpe said. “I don’t know if we’re that good of a shooting team, so 40 minutes of 2-3 zone is great practice.
“I had a coach that used to say, ‘Treat the games like practice and treat the practices like games.’
“And that was a good practice for us.”
Coming off his 29-point effort in Thursday’s 76-71 win over East Central (Okla.), UAM’s Brandon Wilson had a tough time getting going and only played 17 minutes because of foul trouble.
Wilson finished with just 10 points on 2 of 8 shooting to go with a 6 for 12 performance from the charity stripe.
“He never really got in a flow,” Sharpe said.
A trio of Weevils scored above their season average to help keep UAM afloat.
Jared Harrison finished with 16 points to tie SEOSU’s Urald King, who went 8 for 10 from the field, for the game-high. Harrison knocked down two three-pointers and 8 of 9 free throws.
He finished the first half with an and-1 lay-up as time expired. Harrison drilled the free throw and UAM took a 37-30 lead into the break.
Sharif Hudson added 15 points, while D’Audrio Patton scored 10 points for a second consecutive game.
With Saturday’s back-and-forth contest coming on the heels of Thursday’s fatigue-inducing win, Sharpe said he and his players will take a few days off to work back from an exhausting pair of games.
UAM will play again Thursday at Southern Nazarene in Bethany, Okla. The game will follow the women’s game and tip off around 7:30 p.m.
“These last two games have been physically and mentally just draining for me,” he said. “… We’ll take a couple of days off (before Thursday’s game at Southern Nazarene).”
Women’s: Southeastern Oklahoma 75, UAM 61
MONTICELLO — The Cotton Blossoms couldn’t overcome a dominant inside performance by a balanced Savage Storm team.
SEOSU outscored UAM 42-18 in the paint and 34-6 in bench points in Saturday’s Great American Conference win.
Thirteen different Savage Storm (7-3, 4-0 in GAC) players scored in the contest compared to just seven players for UAM.
Tamia Grady led the Blossoms (5-6, 1-4) with a game-high 22 points. Nikki Mullen added 13 and Jordan Goforth had 12 points on just 4 of 14 shooting, including 0 of 5 from three-point territory.
SEOSU, which led 39-25 at halftime, was led by Madison Thames’ 12 points. Breanna Small-Peppers and Haley Schaefer each added 11 points for the Savage Storm.
UAM’s next game will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Southern Nazarene in Bethany, Okla.