Jan. 19, 2008
ARLINGTON, Texas - - Thanks to some hot shooting in the first 30 minutes of Saturday's game against Southeastern Louisiana, the UT Arlington men's basketball team jumped to a seemingly comfortable lead.
Thanks to their defense, the Mavericks held off the Lions, 73-67, when the lead wasn't so comfortable any more. UTA got two defensive stops in the final minute to secure the victory, extend its home win streak to 16 games and even its record to 2-2 in conference play. In what Mavericks coach Scott Cross called one of his team's most balanced victories, five players scored in double-figures.
"This is why we like to play in front of the home crowd," Cross said. "When they cut that lead all the way down to one point, the people got loud and our players dug in and got the job done. This time last year, we played in a game almost identical to this and lost it on the road. But this time, we were at home with our people behind us."
UTA (12-4, 2-2 in the SLC), which shot 59.6 percent from the field and nailed six 3-pointers in just seven attempts, jumped to a 39-30 halftime lead and extended it to 46-30 with a quick run to start the second. But the Lions (10-7, 2-2) weren't finished, and when three consecutive 3-pointers by Kevyn Green - all from the same spot on the left wing - swished through the hoop, UTA's lead was down to 64-61 with 4:02 left.
A layup by Patrick Sullivan made it 64-63 at the 3:28 mark, and SLU had made a 15-3 run.
A layup by Jermaine Griffin gave the Mavericks a little breathing room before another Green 3-pointer made it 68-68. Two free throws by Cardell Hunter, followed by another Griffin basket, helped the Mavericks push their lead back to 72-67 with one minute left.
"We knew they were going to make a run at us," UTA forward Larry Posey said. "We just had to get focused again on defense, which is what we did."
In the final minute, Tavaris Nance missed a 3-pointer. UTA got one of two foul shots by Epps to lead 73-67. SLU missed to more attempts, and UTA held the ball in the final five seconds for the victory.
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