The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's first game of the season relied on one shot near the rim on a night where plenty of shots were taken far away from it.
Little Rock freshman point guard Markquis Nowell sent UALR's season-opening 101-92 victory against Southeastern Oklahoma State into overtime with a game-tying layup with one second remaining as regulation ended in a 79-79 tie at the Jack Stephens Center.
"My mind was just racing," Nowell said. "I'm thankful it went in."
Nowell's bucket sent the sharpshooting Savage Storm spiraling and the Trojans surging.
UALR outscored Southeastern Oklahoma State 22-13 in overtime. Nowell, who scored 34 points in his collegiate debut, the most ever by a Trojan inside the Jack Stephens Center, had plenty to do with making Coach Darrell Walker's UALR debut a success.
"He's not scared of the popcorn and the bright lights, obviously," Walker said. "There's no doubt about that ... It was a team effort, but he saved us tonight."Gallery: Basketball UALR vs SE OK State
"He told us he didn't want to lose this game," Nowell added. "And we didn't want to lose this game."
In Walker's introduction, the Trojans were forced to outscore an opponent that attempted 47 three-pointers -- the most ever by a visiting team against UALR.
The Savage Storm's offense was neither extravagant nor complex. They were going to shoot. And shoot. And shoot.
The 47 three-point attempts obliterated the previous record of 33. The teams combined for 76 three-point attempts, that too a Stephens Center record.
"That's probably the toughest team I've ever played," Nowell said. "Congrats to them."
The Great American Conference's Savage Storm made 18 of their 47 attempts (38.3 percent) and outrebounded UALR 42-40.
Southeastern Oklahoma State kept the Trojans on their heels for much of the game. It flipped 3 of UALR's 13 turnovers into a 12-0 run with 9:48 to go in the first half, forcing the Trojans into a run-defusing timeout trailing 29-19.
From there, the Savage Storm were content to shoot three-pointers. UALR did not hold a lead for 31:58 minutes mainly because of its opponent's long-distance shooting.
Southeastern Oklahoma State launched 25 three-pointers in the first half, making nine. Twenty-seven points of the Savage Storm's 39-34 halftime lead came off three-pointers.
Nowell, who sealed the victory with a corner three-pointer that stretched UALR's lead to 93-83 in overtime, stuck a deep-corner three with 14:03 left in the second half to give UALR a 53-52 lead. It was the Trojans only lead in the second half.
"I told you it was going to be a process," Walker said.
The Savage Storm's splurge of three-pointers were deflating to the Trojans before Nowell helped shut the curtains of Walker's first act as coach.
"It's been a long day," Walker said. "Phone ringing, a lot of texts, a lot of well wishes from a lot of friends and family members ... I'm just happy we got a win."
CENTRAL ARKANSAS 99, HENDRIX COLLEGE 73
Freshman guard Khaleem Bennett scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor to lead four University of Central Arkansas players with 10 or more points in a victory over Hendrix College on Thursday at the Farris Center in Conway.
UCA shot 48.5 percent (32 of 66) from the field while Hendrix shot 38.2 percent (21-55). The Bears outrebounded the Warriors 51-28, including a 20-10 advantage on the offensive glass, and outscored them 52-20 in the lane. UCA created 17 Hendrix turnovers that led to 26 points and held a 25-9 advantage in second-chance points. The Warriors shot better behind the three-point line (29.6 percent) than the Bears (28.6 percent) and outscored the Bears' bench 43-28.
Sophomore guard DeAndre Jones scored 17 points for UCA, while senior guard Thatch Unruh had 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds and sophomore center Hayden Koval added 12 points.
Hendrix was led by two freshman forwards. Seth Stanley had a team-high 16 points, including 3 three-pointers, and Alex Conrad had 12.
UALR Coach Darrell Walker shouts instructions during Thursday night’s game against Southeastern Oklahoma State at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. The Trojans won in overtime in Walker’s first game as coach. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/galleries
Sports on 11/09/2018
Print Headline: Storm survival: Freshman shines in Walker’s UALR debut