Clarksville, Ark.-UA-Fort Smith hit 12 three-pointers and used a 43-30 rebound advantage to outlast the Eagles 87-65 in non-conference play Tuesday night in Fort Smith.
The Lions (1-0) held a 39-26 halftime lead behind six three-pointers. Ozarks (1-1) could have made it closer, but the Eagles converted just 5-of-14 from the free throw line. Ozarks didn’t fair well from they field either as they hit just 9-of-25. Jerard McGinty hit a three-pointer with 4:47 remaining to put the Eagles within 30-24, but the Lions reeled off a 9-2 run to end the half.
The Lions built a 50-36 lead at the 16:15 mark of the second half, but the Eagles made a run to close it to 50-43 with 13:58 left. Blake Mitchem’s layup with 12:47 remaining made it 57-48. UA-Fort Smith, however, stormed back to build a double-digit lead over the next five minutes. Ozarks had trouble closing the gap, getting outscored 18-8 in the final 5:55 minutes. The Lions shot an impressive 69 percent in the final half to withstand any Ozarks’ rally.
Mitchem posted his second straight double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Odom and Andre Williams each had 12 points. McGinty added 10 points.
Ozarks will travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to face Birmingham-Southern College November 20.