Defeat Snatched from the Jaws of Victory

Concerned PuppyLouisiana-Monroe 76,
UTA 73 (OT)
Going into tuesday night’s game, it looked like a classic basketball matchup: the super-quick guards of UTA vs. a tall and athletic ULM front line. Which would prevail: speed or size?

For the first half, UTA (8-6, 2-2) played nearly perfect defense and drove to the paint at will, finding open gaps around the basket for easy layups. UTA lead by 10 24-14 at one point, and by halftime, ULM (8-5, 2-1) was only shooting 26%, making only 18% of their threes (3-16). A cool Erick Neal underhand layup at the buzzer put the Mavs up 28-20 after 20:00, and it looked like the Mavs were on their way to a big win at home.

UTA came out hot in the second half and built the lead to 13 at 36-23 with 18:17 left.

But with no big lead being truly safe lately, ULM would get to within 1 about 5 minutes later at 44-43 with 13:05 left. Fortunately, UTA’s offense starts clicking again, ULM misses a couple of shots and 5 minutes later UTA’s ahead by 9 at 9:17 left. And the Mavs are still up by 9 with 7:52 left. Looking good, think we’re gonna win this.

Next thing you know, a couple of jumpers and free throws by ULM and it’s all tied at 67, gonna need overtime to decide this contest…

UTA makes 2 of 9 free throws in the overtime period, Mavs lose 76-73.

Video: Coach Cross’ postgame comments:

Every year, most teams have a game or two they don’t play well but find a way to win. And also a couple they lose but easily could have won…this might be one of those. The smothering defense we saw in the first half didn’t look quite as sharp in the second, ULM hit some shots, the Mavs missed some free throws and UTA is now 2-2 in conference play.

Up next: Arkansas State (6-7, 1-3 in conference) saturday at College Park Center. Arkansas State lost 73-61 to Georgia Southern (9-3, 2-1) last night. GSU had a 29-5 lead about 12 minutes into the game.

Game story at UTA Athletics
Game story at ULM Athletics
Arkansas State basketball


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