ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT-Arlington Mavericks closed the game on a 10-2 run in the game's final two minutes to remain undefeated in conference play with a 63-54 win over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday at Texas Hall.
The Mavericks (13-5, 6-0 SLC) tied a school record with its ninth consecutive victory, but had to work to get there as the 'Jacks (9-9, 3-2 SLC), who committed a season-high 24 turnovers, were able to take their first lead since early in the half on consecutive three-point buckets from Antonio Bostic who finished with a team-high 14 points with just 3:28 minutes to play.
But UTA - who was saying farewell to Texas Hall before opening up its brand-new arena, College Park Center, on Feb. 1 against UTSA – hit each of its last 10 from the foul line late in the game and finished 21-of-27 from the charity stripe to remain perfect in league play.
LaMarcus Reed, who was averaging over 20 points in conference play and was just 2-of-9 from the field until late in the game, converted consecutive buckets and hit all six of his foul shots down the stretch to help push the Mavs to the win. Meanwhile, SFA had its chances and trailed by just three points at the half, but was just 4-for-9 from the foul line and 4-for-15 from beyond the arc on the night.
Taylor Smith was the only other 'Jack to reach double figures with 10 points and five rebounds, while Hal Bateman finished with seven points and five assists on the night as the 'Jacks held the Mavs to a season-low point total defensively.
SFA shot a solid 46.0 percent from the floor and hit all four of its triples in the second half, but never could surge past the Mavs on the scoreboard until hitting long balls on three consecutive possessions, one from Desmond Haymon and two from Bostic, the second of which gave the 'Jacks a 50-48 lead.
But the Mavs got each of their next five points from the foul line, and after the teams traded points on consecutive possessions it was Reed giving UTA a three-point lead with a driving basket with just 36 seconds to play. SFA turned it over on its next possession and the Mavs rode out the rest of the game at the foul line to finish the game with its largest lead of the night.
The 'Jacks out rebounded the Mavs and made more shots from the field, but were outscored by 17 at the line, marking just the third time this season that SFA has lost the battle at the foul line. In addition, the Mavs were able to convert the 24 SFA turnovers into 27 points, spelling the edge in the ballgame.
SFA will get another shot at the Mavs on February 15 in Nacogdoches, but next will take on Sam Houston State on Wednesday at home. That game is slated for a 7:00 p.m. tip and will be aired live on the Southland Conference TV Network.