On a night when it felt like the University of Arkansas-Little Rock simply didn't have the juice to get back into the game, the Trojans had both a chance to send things to overtime and possibly win Thursday.
But another opportunity went begging for UALR as Tennessee Tech held on for a 77-75 win at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. The Golden Eagles shot 56.0% from the field, including 10-of-19 on three-pointers, ending the night with nearly 1.3 points per possession.
"It was a good game. I thought both teams played well," Trojans Coach Darrell Walker said. "We'll get ready for Tennessee State."
UALR (5-15, 1-6 Ohio Valley Conference) trailed by as many as a dozen points and was staring at a 61-50 deficit with 8:36 to play before slowly chipping away.
Isaiah Palermo, who finished with 15 points, pulled the Trojans to within four at 70-66 on a putback layup with 2:46 remaining, then delivered with a three-point play two minutes later for a 74-69 Tennessee Tech lead.
All but needing to salt away the final 42 seconds, the Golden Eagles missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, giving UALR the chance to pull within a possession. C.J. White did just that, driving hard to the rim and drawing another three-point play opportunity
After White's ensuing free throw cut the Trojans' deficit to 74-72, Tennessee Tech (9-11, 5-2) failed to convert on the front end of yet another one-and-one, giving UALR a chance to pull level. Walker called for an isolation play for White, but his flailing drive came up empty.
The Trojans then fouled, and this time the Golden Eagles knocked down both at the line to make it 76-72 before UALR's D.J. Smith heaved a corner three-pointer up and in with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Down 76-75, UALR sent Tennessee Tech to the line with 1.5 seconds remaining. The Golden Eagles made the first but opted to miss the second after the Trojans had called their final timeout to draw up a potential game-winning attempt.
While UALR got fortunate on a clock error that ultimately enabled the hosts an opportunity to run an inbound play, Jordan Jefferson's 70-foot heave at the horn fell short.