LUBBOCK, Texas (December 2, 2017) – Lubbock Christian University fell to 3-6 on the season Saturday afternoon, inside Rip Griffin Center, following a 75-69 loss to an undefeated No. 7/22 University of Arkansas Fort Smith program. The Chaparrals marked a season-low 37.1% from the field but came one rebound shy of a season-high performance on the boards. Isaac Asrat (26 points) and Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath (15 points) marked double-scoring figures for LCU in the loss.
LCU’s afternoon started out on the right foot as the Chaps jumped out to an early 9-3 lead over the Lions within the opening four minutes of play. Arkansas Fort Smith snapped out of their slumber and came back with eleven unanswered points to take their first lead of the afternoon at 14-9 with 13:06 on the clock. Two minutes later, Brennen Fowler came up with a huge block that created a fast break for Asrat who converted on a layup bringing the Chaps within one-point, 16-15, of the Lions. Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath checked into the game for Lubbock Christian and immediately scored four points to return the lead to the Chaparrals at 20-16. Gilbreath struck again at the 4:14 mark with a three-pointer to put the Chaps up by seven, 35-28. Arkansas Fort Smith began chipping away at LCU’s lead for the remainder of the period. The Chaps were charged a technical foul with seven seconds remaining in the half. Darrion Strong-Moore knocked down a pair free throw for UAFS to tie the ballgame up 39-39 at halftime.
Asrat knocked down a trio of three-pointers in the opening period on his way to 6-of-11 from the field for 15 points. Gilbreath accounted for three triples of his own on the way to 11 first half points. Lubbock Christian shot 16-for-35 (45.7%) from the floor while limiting the Arkansas Fort Smith offense to four three-pointers and 13 field goals for a 41.9% shooting average. Stephen Lennox could not be matched on the boards and scooped up six defensive rebounds while adding three points and a block for the Chaparrals.
Ladarius Coleman opened up the second half for Arkansas Fort Smith with a quick jumper to put the Lions ahead of the Chaps. UAFS then scored eight more unanswered points before a layup by LCU’s Asrat put an end to the Fort Smith scoring run. Lubbock Christian attempted to mount a comeback after Gilbreath sped out and converted a fast break layup to bring the Lion’s lead to 53-45 with 12:40 to play. UAFS continued their pressure and extended their lead to 14 points, 61-47, for their largest lead of the game. Lennox kicked off a late-game offensive surge for the Chaparrals after netting two free throws. Asrat continued to pump life back into the Lubbock Christian offense with a clutch three-pointer that cut Arkansas Fort Smith’s lead to 71-68 with 21 seconds remaining. But UAFS kept their foot on the gas and ultimately outlasted the Chaps on the way to a 75-69 victory over LCU.
Asrat added in 11 more points for Lubbock Christian within the second period. Brennen Fowler scooped up six boards leading the Chaparrals to 24 rebounds in the final period. Lennox accounted for six points and five rebounds of his own.
Darrion Strong-Moore led the way for Arkansas Fort Smith with 14 points. Three other UAFS players joined Strong-Moore in double-scoring figures. Coleman grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the Lions, while Marcus Wallace dished out four assists on the afternoon.
Despite holding Arkansas Fort Smith to a season low 38.3% shooting performance, LCU could not find a rhythm of their own. The Chaps posted a season-low 37.1% field goal percentage by going 26-of-70 from the floor. While Asrat (26 points) and Gilbreath (15 points) led the scoring efforts for Lubbock Christian, Lennox grabbed a season-high nine points and 11 rebounds to lead the Chaparrals on the glass. The LCU squad accounted for 13 points off of the bench and 32 points from inside the paint.
Lubbock Christian falls to 3-6 on the year and 0-2 in Heartland Conference play. The Chaps will take a full week off before returning to action against West Texas A&M Saturday, Dec. 9. Tipoff against the Buffs is set for 7 p.m. inside WTAMU’s First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas.