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story.lead_photo.caption Central Arkansas guard Matthew Mondesir (left) looks to pass out of a double team set by UALR’s Rayjon Tucker (3) and Nikola Maric during the Bears’ 85-82 victory over the Trojans on Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

Inbounding the ball 70 feet from the rim with 2.2 seconds remaining, the University of Central Arkansas' only option to break an 82-82 tie against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was a heave and a prayer.

Bears point guard DeAndre Jones received the pass near half court, took two dribbles and hit a 25-foot running three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to lift UCA to an 85-82 victory Saturday in the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

"I knew he could take two dribbles," UCA Coach Russ Pennell said. "I've done this long enough. With 2.2 [seconds], I told him if you're on the run, you can get two dribbles in. That's exactly what he did."

With 17 seconds remaining and the ball, the Trojans burned 15 seconds before sophomore forward Kris Bankston opened the door for UCA's buzzer-beater by sailing a pass out of bounds. It was UALR's 19th and final turnover in a game plagued by mistakes.

"That's what we needed," said Jones, whose 26 points led all Bears. "We just needed that one stop. And I know I'd hit the shot."

"The kid made a tough shot," UALR Coach Darrell Walker said. "And it's just bad defense on our part."

The Bears (4-5) cashed in 29 points off UALR's 19 turnovers. The Trojans (4-6) also allowed 16 offensive rebounds that resulted in 23 second-chance points for the Bears.

"Nineteen turnovers that led to 29 points, I thought that was big," Walker said. "We kept turning the ball over. We kept turning the ball over. Like I told my team, when you hear me screaming on the sideline about turnovers, there's a reason. It's because they turn into points."

Yet, the Trojans had a chance to win.

UALR junior guard Rayjon Tucker, who led all scorers with 27 points, scored the Trojans' last seven points in the final 3:13.

The Trojans held an 82-77 lead with 1:55 to go, then committed three consecutive turnovers and allowed the Bears to put together an 8-0 run in the final 1:34.

"We have to find a way to start winning games," Walker said. "We have to find a way to start growing up a little bit. It's no more of this, 'We're young.' Yes, we're young. We don't know how to win. That's obvious. We just don't know how."

The Bears and Trojans flipped the lead 11 times and knotted Saturday's game in a tie 12 different occasions.

UCA, which defeated the Trojans 78-65 on Nov. 28 in Conway, held a 44-35 lead at halftime before the Trojans stormed back.

Two dunks fueled a second-half run. Under the rim, Bankston powered a dunk over two UCA defenders with 14:15 to go. On the next possession, Bankston slammed in an alley-oop.

Tucker and freshman point guard Markquis Nowell, who missed the previous three games with a high ankle sprain, rattled in three-pointers shortly after Bankston's dunks. Nowell's three put UALR up 59-56 with 11:48 remaining.

Neither team lead by more than five points the rest of the way.

"It was such a great win for us," Pennell said. "We got behind. Then we caught up. Then we got the lead. Then we lose the lead again. You get to a point where we've got to figure out how to win those games.

"To pull that out was huge."

Hayden Koval had 19 and 6 rebounds for the Bears, and Matthew Mondesir had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Bankston had 20 points for UALR. Freshman Horace Wyatt Jr. scored 16 points for the Trojans, matching his career total from his previous nine games.

MINNESOTA 72, ARKANSAS STATE 56

Minnesota opened the game on a 21-2 run, and Arkansas State University never recovered Saturday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers (8-2) hit 8 of 13 shots to start the game with their big lead. The Red Wolves (3-6) cut the lead to 12, but a 10-2 run extended the lead to 20. ASU's Grantham Gillard, a Minneapolis native, hit a three-pointer to end the run, but Minnesota held a 41-24 lead at halftime. Arkansas State cut the lead to 12 on four separate occasions in the second half.

Ty Cockfield had a game-high 20 points to lead the Red Wolves, his fifth consecutive game scoring 20 or more points and seventh of the season. Tristin Walley added 14 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Daniel Oturu led the Golden Gophers with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

SWAC MEN

UC-SANTA BARBARA 55, UAPB 45

A 12-0 run that took the final 1:46 of the first half and the first 2:35 of the second half allowed UC-Santa Barbara to pull away from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff on Saturday at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Shaun Doss hit one of two free throws with 1:46 left in the first half to give the Golden Lions a 21-17 lead, but the Guachos scored the final seven points of the half to lead 24-21 at halftime. The run continued in the second half as UCSB scored the first five points to take a 29-21 lead before Martaveous McKnight hit a jumper with 17:25 left to end the run and cut the lead to 29-23.

McKnight led UAPB (2-6) with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor, including 4 of 6 three-pointers, while Doss finished with 7. Amadou Sow led UCSB (6-2) with 12 points in 12 minutes, and Devearl Ramsey added 10 points.

Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
UALR forward Horace Wyatt Jr. goes up for a dunk during Saturday’s loss to Central Arkansas at the Jack Stephens Center. Wyatt finished with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.

Sports on 12/09/2018

Print Headline: 2 seconds, dribbles enough for Bears

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