Jan. 10, 2008
CONWAY, Ark. - - UT Arlington struggled from the free-throw line in overtime. The Mavericks struggled from the 3-point line in regulation.
The results was a 70-68 loss in overtime on the road Thursday night against Central Arkansas in a Southland Conference men's game at the Farris Center. After starting the year with one of the most impressive non-conference seasons in school history, the Mavericks (10-4, 0-2 in the SLC) have now dug themselves into a hole after two league games.
With a chance to go ahead with the game tied, 67-67 in overtime, Mavericks senior Jermaine Griffin missed two foul shots at the 1:33 mark. With a chance to tie it at the 18.7 second mark, Rod Epps missed one of two free throws and the Bears held a 69-68 lead. On the Bears final possession, UTA got a steal, but then turned it back over.
The Mavericks had to foul, and one free throw with .3 seconds left sealed the victory for UCA (11-4, 1-0) in its conference opener.
UTA got 20 points from Rog'er Guignard and eight rebounds by Griffin. But the Mavericks shot just 27.8 percent (5-for-18) from the 3-point line and finished 15-for-26 from the free-throw line. Central Arkansas was led by Marcus Pillow, one of three players in double-figures.
UTA looked for late heroics that never came because of a Central Arkansas run early in the second half.
Leading 42-37, the Mavericks suffered its biggest lapse of the game. Four empty possessions and five consecutive points by Sims - including a driving dunk from the right baseline - capped a 9-0 run to put Central Arkansas ahead, 44-42.
From there, neither team led by more than three points until the Mavericks started to feed Anthony Vereen inside and finally found their touch outside. Epps got the run started with a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound. One possession later, Vereen was fouled and hit one free throw. Vereen followed with a layup, and Guignard followed with another 3-pointer to put UTA up, 55-51.
Another 3-pointer by Guignard made it 58-53 with 6:45 left, and UTA appeared to be back in control. But once again, the Bears would claw back. This time, two UTA turnovers and consecutive Central Arkansas field goals made it 59-57 at the 3:57 mark. Three possessions later, UCA tied it at 59-59. Team teams would battle basket-for-basket from there.
UTA had possession down 64-63 with 30 seconds left when Vereen found Posey on the left baseline. Posey was fouled, made one of two free throws to tie it, 64-64.
Central Arkansas set up for the final shot of regulation at half court after calling a timeout. But a 3-pointer from the left wing by York Sims fell plenty short.
The second half battle made it clear that UTA was fortunate to get off to such a good start.
UTA (11-3, 1-1 in the SLC) got points from five different players in the first five minutes of the game to take an 11-2 lead. Guignard had two baskets in that early spurt, included a nifty runner from the left baseline over a Central Arkansas defender.
The Mavericks would need its defense several times in the late minutes of the first half to slow the Bears, who refused to let a 28-17 deficit with 4:43 left get any larger. Two UCA baskets in transition and a free throw capped a 10-2 UCA run to make it 30-26 just under the three-minute mark.
UTA answered by going inside to Larry Posey, who was fouled going to the rim. Posey hit two free throws to make it 32-27.
After a Nate Bowie jumper in the lane, Mavericks freshman Jeremy Smith was fouled and hit two free throws to send UTA into the locker room with a 34-29 lead.
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