Sun Belt Tournament Game 2: UT-Arlington 68 – ULM 65


Jabin Botsford – College Heights Herald

Sun Belt newcomers Texas-Arlington punched their ticket to the second round of their inaugural SBC tournament, and will face Louisiana-Lafayette tomorrow, after holding off the ULM Warhawks 68-65.

I said in the pregame this game wouldn’t be exciting, and boy, was. I. Wrong.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout – as soon as one team got on a run and looked like they’d pull away, the other stormed right back. Out of the gates, it was UTA who came out fast and furious, but minutes before halftime, the Warhakws went on a roll to take the halftime lead.

The ‘Hawks would lead from halftime until the 4:18 mark, until Jamel Outler hit a three to tie the game at 60, and would never look back, fighting off a fierce Warhawk offensive attack in the final moments, but a couple of missed three-pointers with time winding down by the Warhawks would seal their fate, and end the ULM season.

It’s easy to see how and why the Mavericks were the one to pull away in this close affair – field goal percentage. UTA shot 42% from the floor as opposed to ULM’s 39%, which might not be a huge discrepancy, but in a three point game, it’s more than enough. Also, something interesting to note, ULM came into the game as the Sun Belt’s best free throw shooting team, but only shot 63% from the line, compared to the 71% that UTA shot from the charity stripe.

The Mavericks were lead by 18 points from, who else, Reger Dowell, and 16 points off the bench from Outler. Brandon Edwards lead all players in rebounds with 12, and 11 of those came off the defensive glass. Lonnie McClanahan, who lead UTA in scoring during both match-ups between the Mavs and ULM, finished the evening with a quiet 12 points.

For the Warhawks, in what was the final time they’ll take the court this season, Tylor Ongwae lead the way on the score sheet with 18, and Marvin Williams (no, not THAT Marvin Williams) was close behind with 16. Williams also grabbed 10 boards – 6 on the offensive glass and 4 on the defensive glass.

ULM didn’t play a bad game by any stretch, they simply faltered down the stretch (which, again, is shown in their FG%), and was defeated by an opportunitstic Mavericks squad.

For the Mavs, it’s a bit of solace, as they lost in the WAC championship game a year ago, so it’s got to feel good for those guys to get this win.

Staring them in the face, however, is the Ragin Cajuns, and the winner of that game will play the Hilltoppers on Saturday.