Jan. 26, 2008
ARLINGTON, Texas - - UT Arlington endured its longest road trip of the Southland Conference men's basketball season at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, then had to hold on for 5.3 second to leave the American Bank Center with a 57-55 victory on Saturday.
UTA led by that same margin at the 1:30 mark after Islanders 7-footer Chris Daniel nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, breaking a field goal droubt of seven minutes for the home team.
UTA missed on its next possession. The Islanders missed - running the exact play for the exact shot by Daniels. UTA then ran the shot clock down and settled for a Larry Posey shot from the right elbow. It fell short.
The Islanders rebounded, dribbled up court and set up for the last shot with 5.3 left.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tossed inbounds to Antonio Topps, who hadn't taken a shot the entire game. He dribbled left but couldn't get close enough thanks to defense by Mavericks sophomore Cardell Hunter. His desperation shot from 24 feet on the left wing wasn't even close, and UTA rebounded to secure the victory.
The Mavericks (14-4, 4-2 in the SLC) left South Texas with a four-game win streak and the knowledge that they would stay atop the SLC West Division standings.
"Winning on the road is tough anywhere in this league, but this situation was especially hard for us," UTA coach Scott Cross said. "We got in late, woke up and played a game not long after. We didn't shoot well, but to play this hard and with this much energy made our coaching staff especially proud of these guys."
The Islanders (5-13, 2-3), who had a two-game win streak snapped, held UTA to 41.9 percent shooting and 2-for-13 from the 3-point line. So the Mavericks had to look inside, getting 12 points from Jermaine Griffin and 20 from Anthony Vereen.
Finding themselves down late in the second half, UTA went to Vereen for a basket and the tie at 51-51.
A Vereen 3-point play followed the 4:20 mark to make it 54-51.
When the Islanders closed within two, another Vereen layup made it 56-52.
That's when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi got a 3-pointer from big man Daniels to set up the last minute.
As was the case with UT Arlington's first conference road game against Central Arkansas, the Mavericks silenced the crowd with a fast start. After two free throws by Jermaine Griffin, the Mavericks went into the first media timeout just under the 16-minute mark with an 8-2 lead.
A steal and layup by Kevin Perkins, followed by a 3-point play by Demond Watt tied the game at 10-10 with 13:21 left.
From there, neither team led by more than four in the first half.
UTA went up 24-20 after a Rog'er Guignard steal and fast-break layup by Cardell Hunter. The Islanders quickly closed the gap, thanks to Perkins 3-pointer. The Mavericks jumped ahead 26-22 on a Tommy Moffitt putback, but another Perkins 3-pointer made it 26-25. UTA closed the first half with three empty possessions, but so did Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and UTA held a 31-29 advantage.
Rog'er Guignard started the second half with a 3-pointer - his first of the game in five attempts - and it looked like the Mavericks could create some breathing room. But Texas A&M-Corpus Christi answered with a 12-4 run, capped by a Horace Bond 3-pointer from the left wing. That 3-pointer put the Islanderrs up 41-38.
It was then UTA's turn to play catchup.
Each time the Islanders moved ahead by three or four points, UTA would answer to set up the stretch run.
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