FORT SMITH, Ark. -- The Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions used their potent up-tempo offense and pressure defense to rout the No. 10 Northeastern State RiverHawks 83-49 on Saturday in a battle of unbeaten teams at the Stubblefield Center. It was the first game in the series between the interstate foes.
UAFS (5-0), which trailed only once in the game (1-0), shot 45 percent from the field (31-for-69) -- and it was 8-for-23 shooting from 3-point range – but shot just 59 percent from the free-throw line (13-for-22).
Junior guard Tramel White led five Lions scoring in double figures with 16 points. Senior guard Jake Toupal and freshman guard Seth Youngblood scored 12 points apiece and accounted for four of UAFS' eight 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Kenny Martin chipped in 11 points, while freshman guard Alex Cooper added 10.
UAFS dominated the rebounding battle by 18 rebounds, including 17 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points. Martin led UAFS with eight rebounds, including three offensive rebounds.
Northeastern State (4-1), which jumped from No. 17 into the top 10 in this week's national rankings, shot just 37 percent from the field (19-for-52) and 2-for-17 from 3-point range – and shot 64 percent from the free-throw line (9 for 14).
Senior guard Bryton Hobbs led the RiverHawks with 12 points, while junior guard Keon Littleton added 10 points. Junior forward Curtis Evans had a team-high seven rebounds.
No. 2 West Liberty 89, Charleston (W. Va.) 76
CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- Second-ranked West Liberty led wire-to-wire on Saturday afternoon in breezing to an 89-76 win at previously-unbeaten Charleston (W. Va.).
Coach Jim Crutchfield's Hilltoppers (4-0, 1-0) opened up a double-digit lead in the first 10 minutes and maintained that margin for most of the day, turning aside a pair of UC (3-1, 0-1) surges down the stretch.
West Liberty rolled up a 51-35 lead at intermission but the hosts tried to make a game of it when play resumed, shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor during the final 20 minutes.
The Golden Eagles whittled the lead down to six points on three occasions, the last coming on a pair of Austin Brewer free throws that cut the margin to 77-71 with 4:38 remaining.
West Liberty answered with a 12-2 run druing the next three minutes to put the game on ice at 89-73 with just 1:20 to go. All 12 points during the spurt came from WLU's veteran backcourt duo of Cedric Harris and Shawn Dyer.
Harris led all scorers with 26 points for West Liberty while Dyer knocked down 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
Keene Cockburn and C.J. Hester helped stake the Hilltoppers to a 40-26 edge off the boards as Cockburn posted his second career double-double with 13 points and 14 boards while Hester just missed with a dozen points and nine rebounds.
Aleksander Kesic had 23 points in a losing cause for Charleston.
No. 3 Bellarmine 74, Christian Brothers 57
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The third-ranked Bellarmine Knights used a solid defensive effort and a 58 percent shooting night to outpace visiting Christian Brothers 74-57 in a non-conference game in Knights Hall.
The Knights (2-0) got a 20-point, eight-rebound effort from senior guard Keisten Jones while bottling up Bucs' top scorer Trey Casey, limiting the preseason all-conference guard to just one point.
"That's a great win," Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport said. "[Christian Brothers] is a tough team to prepare for and we held a guy shooting 59 percent from the field and 65 percent from three to just one point…and that's [because of the defense of] Tanner Gibson. "
The defensive effort turned in by the Knights limited a good-shooting CBU team to just 43 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Bellarmine went for a 58 percent shooting percentage in spite of hitting just 3 of 13 from the 3-point line.
Nine different Knights scored in the game with Jake Thelen joining Jones in double figures with 18 points.
Christian Brothers placed four players in double figures, led by Sidy Sall with 16 points, who also led the Bucs with eight rebounds.
The Knights also turned in a good performance in the rebounding department, holding a 33-23 advantage and outscoring CBU 10-6 in second-chance points despite only missing 21 shots from the field.
No. 5 Florida Southern 93, Armstrong Atlantic 77
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Fifth-ranked Florida Southern concluded its two-game road trip on Saturday afternoon by using a strong second-half defensive effort en route to posting a 93-77 win against Armstrong Atlantic in non-conference action at Alumni Arena.
With the win, the Mocs have opened the season 5-0 for the 18th time in school history and first time since winning its first 13 games to open the 2009-10 season. Armstrong fell to 3-2 on the season.
The Mocs, who extended their regular-season non-conference win streak to 11 games, held the Pirates to eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second half as Armstrong hit just two of its first eight shots from the field during that stretch. For the game, FSC held Armstrong to 48 percent shooting from the field as it connected on 55 percent of its shots in the first half. The Pirates also shot 33 percent from the 3-point line.
"I thought we played well today and on this road trip overall," Mocs head coach Linc Darner said. "I've seen a lot of improvement the last two games, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Our defense was very good today as we were able to force turnovers and get back to playing the way we're used to playing."
Junior guard Kevin Capers was one of five Mocs to finish in double figures as he tallied 21 points off the bench, while Kelly added a career-high tying 15 points and senior guard Frank Adams added 12 points, including eight in the first half. The other two Mocs in double figures were Williams and junior forward Stephen Battle, who each added 11 points in the win.
The Pirates were paced by 15 points apiece from Eversley and Bellinger II, while Callanan added 12 points. Brown and Hichem Benayad-Cherif each had 10 points in the loss. Eversley also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds on the day.
No. 9 Seattle Pacific 73, Hawaii Pacific 57
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- David Downs tallied 21 of his game-high 25 points during the second half on Saturday when the ninth-ranked Seattle Pacific men broke open a tight game en route to a 73-57 win against Hawaii Pacific on the final day of the GNAC/PacWest Challenge.
The Falcons (6-1), who defeated BYU-Hawaii 86-73 on Friday at Nicholson Pavilion, were the only team to win both games in the tournament.
Downs made 7 of 13 shots, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and 7 of 8 free throws.
Senior forward Patrick Simon was the only other Falcon in double figures with 18 points.
SPU heated up in the second half, shooting 55 percent (12 of 22) after intermission with 6-for-10 accuracy on treys.
Justin Long netted 18 points to lead the Sea Warriors, who also got 12 from Malte Ziegenhagen and 10 from Darryl Jones.