Career highs by newcomer forwards Malek Green and Londell King were not quite enough for the Morehead State men's hoops team Monday night in dropping an 82-78 decision at Central Arkansas' Farris Center.
The Eagles (1-5) got 16 points and six rebounds off the bench from Green, while King recorded his second career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 12 rebounds to go along with a career standard three steals.
Morehead State also received a team-high 16 points from sophomore guard Jordan Walker and 14 markers from junior point guard A.J. Hicks. But, MSU also turned the ball over 17 times. The Eagles erased an early 10-point deficit (15-5) and later led by as many as eight (64-56) midway through the second half.
"We had some guys we've been waiting on step up tonight," said head coach Preston Spradlin. "But again it came down to turnovers tonight, and 17 is just way too many. I am really proud of our guys, and they were hurting in the locker room after the game, but I keep telling them that we are going to find ways to win."
The Eagles took a second-half lead (50-48) with 15:25 left on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Djimon Henson, who had 10 points for his fourth straight double-figure effort. MSU proceeded to outscore the host Bears (4-3) 17-8 and built the 64-56 cushion with 9:14 remaining. But four turnovers and three minutes later, UCA regained a lead (69-68) it never relinquished. MSU got back to within two twice in the final two minutes.
The Eagles shot a season-best 53 percent (31-of-59) overall, including 9-of-21 from three-point range. However the free throws did not fall as usual with just a 7-for-15 night at the stripe. Morehead State also out-rebounded UCA 37-35.
The Bears were paced by Mathieu Kamba's 20 points. Jordan Howard, the nation's second-leading scorer, was held 10 below his average at 16 but did dish out a game-best 11 assists.
MSU and UCA will complete the home-and-home series this year with a Dec. 17 clash in Morehead. The Eagles will now head home to host Alice Lloyd (Ky.) (6-1) on Thursday as part of a men's-women's doubleheader. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. ET.