FORT SMITH, Ark. – UAFS made 13 3-pointers and had four players score in double-figures against Southern Nazarene during Saturday’s finale of the UAFS Lions Thanksgiving Classic.
That offensive output, however, couldn’t quite match that of the nationally-ranked Crimson Storm, who pulled away in the second half to post an 84-78 win against the Lions at the Stubblefield Center.
UAFS (3-4) finished 0-2 in the classic with hard-fought losses to Ouachita Baptist and Southern Nazarene (6-0), which is ranked No. 5 in one national poll and No. 10 in another national poll.
The Lions shot only 34 percent from the field in the first half (12 of 35) but made 8 of 15 shots from 3-point range to stay within one point (37-36) of the Crimson Storm at halftime.
Southern Nazarene, which shot 40 percent from the field in the first half (14 of 35), nearly couldn’t miss in the second half, shooting 59 percent from the field (17 of 29) to build as much as a 15-point lead in the second half.
UAFS shot 36 percent from the field for the game (24 of 66) – it was 13-of-27 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 85 percent from the free-throw line. Junior guard Tyler Williams led the Lions with 18 points, while freshman forward David Ward, senior guard Chris Crawford and junior guard Seth Hawley had 15 points apiece.
Hawley accounted for four of the Lions’ 3-pointers, while Ward and Crawford had three apiece.
Crawford dished out a team-high six assists. Junior forward Matt Morgan had a team-high eight rebounds and four of the Lions’ five blocked shots.
Southern Nazarene, which beat Midwestern State 77-72 in Friday’s classic opener, shot 48 percent from the field for the game (31 of 64) – it was only 6-of-20 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line (16 of 20).
Junior guard Jhonathan Dunn led the Crimson Storm with 20 points, while junior guards Micah Speight and Logan Hicks had 13 points apiece and senior center Noah Starkey had 12 points. Speight had a team-high eight assists.
Starkey, who stands 6-foot-11, topped off his double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds and had seven of the Crimson Storm’s eight blocked shots.
UAFS will return to action on Tuesday night when the Lions play the Cameron Aggies at 7 p.m. at Aggie Gym in Lawton, Okla.
It will be the first of three games next week for the Lions, who will begin Heartland Conference play against the Rogers State Hillcats at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Expo Center in Claremore, Okla., and the Lubbock Christian Chaps at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Stubblefield Center.
UAFS LIONS THANKSGIVING CLASSIC
NO. 5/10 SOUTHERN NAZARENE 84, UAFS 78
Southern Nazarene 37 47 — 84
UAFS 36 42 — 78
Southern Nazarene (6-0): Dunn 20, Hicks 13, Speight 13, Starkey 12, Stephens 9, Palmer 8, Charles 5, Johnson 4
UAFS (3-4): Williams 18, Hawley 15, Crawford 15, Ward 15, Morgan 8, Sivins 5, Bowie 2