Jan. 21, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas - Senior Jorge Bilbaro charted his second consecutive double-double and senior Jalen Jones equaled his season best with 23 points, leading the UTA men's basketball team to a 71-55 win over ULM, on Saturday afternoon at College Park Center.
UTA (14-5, 4-2 SBC) and ULM (6-13, 0-6 SBC) battled in a close affair through the first 30 minutes, before the Mavs mounted a late rally to put the game away. The game saw four times and 12 lead changes before UTA stepped up the defensive pressure, holding ULM without a field goal for a six-minute stretch late in the game. In that time of a stout defense, UTA's offense rolled to a 17-2 run, over nine minutes, taking its first double-digit lead in the game with five minutes remaining.
Jones equaled his season high with 23 points, grabbing five rebounds. Bilbao, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds in his last game, finished with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in his third double-double of the year and the 11th of his career.
The Mavs have now won two consecutive games and have claimed 13 of their last 15 contests.
UTA finished the game shooting 43 percent (39-of-68), while holding ULM to 33 percent (19-for-57). UTA connected on seven shots from behind the arc, owning a 43-38 advantage on the boards and a 32-14 lead in points in the paint,
The game was the second conference doubleheader of the season for UTA, as the Lady Mavs (12-4, 5-1 SBC) posted a 93-59 win over ULM in the first game of the day.
UTA got off to a strong start with the first five points of the game, before ULM evened up the game at 7-7 and took its first lead on a three-pointer and a bucket from Jordon Harris with 14 minutes remaining. UTA freshman guard DJ Bryant evened up the game with his first bucket, with Faith Pope giving the Mavs the lead with a putback dunk with just over 12 minutes left in the half.
ULM stretched its lead to six twice in the following minutes, taking a 17-11 lead with 10 minutes left and a 22-6 advantage with 8:52 remaining. UTA answered with buckets at the rim from Jalen Jones and Kevin Hervey to force a timeout, trailing 22-20. That sparked a 12-0 run that saw key triples from Jones and Hervey as the Mavs built a 28-22 lead. As time began to wind down in the first half, Jones drilled another three-pointer to give UTA a 33-28 lead but ULM took advantage of an old-fashioned three-point play for a 33-31 margin at the break. Jones led the way with a game-high 14 points at halftime.
Jones stayed hot to open the second stanza, drilling a three to help push the Mas up to a 38-31 lead out of the break. After the teams traded buckets en route to a 40-40 tie, Jorge Bilbao banked a runner off the glass for a 42-40 lead, only to see ULM answer on a 3-pointer to regain a 43-42 lead.
A ULM run and a 48-44 lead forced a timeout from the Mavs, with Erick Neal answering on the first possession with a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game. Kaelon Wilson then finished home a dunk to give the Mavs a 49-48 lead and force a ULM timeout with 11:39 left. UTA then used a 6-0 run to take a 58-53 lead with 7:57 left, getting key buckets from Bilbao and Jones. Senior Drew Charles canned a jumper with just over six minutes left to give UTA a 60-53 lead. The Mavs stretched their lead to double figures for the first time in the game after a triple from Charles, giving UTA a 65-55 lead. Jones and Hervey connected
While Bilbao and Jones headlined the win for the Mavs, UTA also got 14 points and seven rebounds from Hervey, with Neal adding six points and five assists and Charles charting five points and three assists.
UTA will continue a two-game homestand on Monday, hosting Louisiana at 8 p.m. CT at College Park Center. The game will be televised live on the American Sports Network.
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are scheduled for a week of March Madness in the Big Easy. New Orleans will once again be home to the two championships that will take place at Lakefront Arena from March 7-12 and ticket books can now be purchased from your school's ticket office. For more information, visit the Sun Belt Conference's championship central websites and be sure to follow the Sun Belt on social media - @SunBelt.
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