FORT SMITH, Ark. – Nationally-ranked UAFS extended its winning streak to three games on Thursday night as the Lions held off a late-surge by the Rogers State Hillcats to win 84-79 in Heartland Conference play at the Claremore (Okla.) Expo Center.
It was an important conference road win for the Lions (17-3, 6-3), who are ranked No. 17 in the latest NABC Division II Top 25, and completed UAFS’ regular-season sweep of Rogers State (14-6, 5-3), which lost to UAFS 73-69 on Nov. 30 at the Stubblefield Center.
UAFS and Rogers State are two of four teams in second place in the conference. Each trails conference leader and No. 22-ranked Dallas Baptist (16-3, 6-2) by one game. The Lions will host the Lubbock Christian Chaps at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Stubblefield Center.
UAFS shot 46 percent from the field (25 of 55) – it was 9-of-21 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 89 percent from the free-throw line (25 of 28). Four Lions scored in double-figures – senior guard Marcus Wallace (18), junior guard Chris Crawford (15), senior guard DaVaunta Thomas (14) and senior guard Ladarius Coleman (13).
The Lions out-rebounded the Hillcats by 13 rebounds (42-29), including eight offensive rebounds that led to 17 second-chance points. Thomas led a balanced rebounding effort by the Lions with seven rebounds and was one of five Lions with five or more rebounds.
Rogers State shot 44 percent from the field (28 of 63) – the Hillcats were 15-of-36 shooting from 3-point range – and shot only 67 percent from the free-throw line (8 of 12). Four Hillcats scored in double-figures – junior guard Saint Hilaire (28), senior guard Baron Smith Jr. (23), sophomore guard Tavian Davis (11) and freshman guard/forward Brewster Peacock (10).
Senior forward Don Leak led the Hillcats, who trailed UAFS by six points at halftime (48-42), with 10 rebounds.