UALR was playing even with the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite Texas-Arlington for almost 29 minutes Monday night.
But Faith Pope got a wild jumper to fall, leading to a three-point play, and the Mavericks took off toward a dominating final 11 minutes of a 71-55 victory over the Trojans at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
UALR (13-13, 4-9) took a 45-41 lead with 13:47 left on a jumper by Deondre Burns, but it was the Trojans' last field goal until Maurius Hill's layup with 6:46 left. Texas-Arlington's 16-1 run gave it a 57-46 lead following a layup by Jalen Jones. The game-changing spurt included Pope's jumper, a high-arching shot after being fouled by UALR's Oliver Black.
Pope then made the free throw to give Texas-Arlington (19-6, 9-3) a 47-45 lead, and it never trailed again in taking over sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt standings.
Marcus Johnson Jr. struggled through 3-of-15 shooting, but led UALR with 14 points. Burns had 12 on 4-of-9 shooting, while Hill had 10 points.
The Trojans committed 17 turnovers, which led to 28 points for the Mavericks, and made only 2 of their final 18 shots.
Kevin Hervey, the league's preseason player of the year, and Jones each had 20 points to lead the Mavericks. Texas-Arlington shot 55.6 percent (15 for 27) in the second half while taking control.
But UALR was in contention through part of the second half, especially after Hervey was called for a flagrant foul against Johnson that led to two free throws, and then a three-point play by Jalen Jackson that gave UALR a 40-37 lead.
Lis Shoshi was then called for a flagrant foul on Kaelon Wilson, that cut UALR's lead to 45-44, and Pope's three-point play came on the next possession.
The Trojans' loss was their sixth in their past seven games and ensured that they won't enter next month's Sun Belt Tournament with a winning conference record. UALR has to win its five remaining regular-season games, starting with Friday's game at Arkansas State, to avoid a losing record in conference play.
Sports on 02/14/2017