COMMERCIAL PRESS SERVICES
COMMERCIAL PRESS SERVICES
TULSA, Okla. — Arkansas-Pine Bluff hadn’t experienced this kind of victory in almost three years until Monday night.
UAPB came from 11 points down to lead Florida International by as many as 14, only to let that slip, but made clutch plays in the final 87 seconds to pick up a 58-56 victory in a Preseason NIT consolation game at Oral Roberts University’s Mabee Center. That ended a 28-game nonconference losing streak, dating back to a Dec. 17, 2008, victory over SMU in coach George Ivory’s first season at the helm.
UAPB will play SMU at 5 p.m. today at the same site to close its tournament stay. The Conference USA Mustangs (2-2) played ORU later Monday.
“I’m very happy for the guys to get this win, for the effort and work they put in after two bad games,” Ivory said. The Golden Lions (1-2) lost to Oklahoma State 73-46 and Oral Roberts 80-44 last week in Stillwater, Okla.
Daniel Broughton’s layup with 1:27 to go gave the Golden Lions (1-2) the lead for good, snapping a 30-15 run by the Golden Panthers (1-2) for most of the second half. Jeremy Allen had made a layup 10 seconds earlier to give the Isiah Thomas-coached Panthers their first lead since 25-23 at the 4:07 mark of the first half.
Savalace Townsend, who recorded the go-ahead assist, made two steals after Broughton’s basket, and Kyle Jones hit two free throws with 19 seconds remaining to put the Lions up by three. FIU’s DeJuan Wright rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by Jeremy Allen and hit 1 of 2 free throws with 9 seconds left.
Broughton missed a bonus shot, and Phil Taylor could not get a 3-pointer to go as time expired.
UAPB held its largest lead at 39-25 with 17:55 remaining after scoring 16 unanswered points in more than 6 minutes. Mitchell Anderson sparked the rally with a dunk to tie the game at 25, and Townsend hit a jumper just before halftime to give the Lions a 33-25 lead.
“We rebounded the ball pretty good and got in transition pretty good,” Ivory said.
Townsend scored the first four points of the second half, and Broughton tipped in a basket for the Lions’ largest cushion. UAPB wouldn’t score from the floor again until Anderson hit a 3 with 8:45 left to break a 43-all tie.
“The pace of the game was up-and-down because of the turnovers,” Ivory said. “The turnovers were bad on both sides. Then when there weren’t turnovers, everybody played half-court defense. We did a good job playing half-court defense.”
The Lions were plagued with 25 miscues to the Panthers’ 18. Ivory said the Lions will be a pretty good team if they don’t turn over the ball.
Anderson and Townsend each scored 19 points, Broughton came close to a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, and Lazabian Jackson had seven points and six boards for UAPB.
Ivory started senior Clay Johnson in place of Lavoris Weathers to limit the foul trouble among his post players and to give the first string a faster lineup. Neither of them scored, and Jones fouled out while Broughton and Weathers finished with four fouls apiece.
The Lions shot 48.7 percent from the floor (19 of 39) and hit 46.2 percent from 3-point range (6 of 13), but shot 14 of 22 from the foul line for 63.6 percent.
The Panthers had a much colder shooting night, going 38.6 percent from the field (17 of 44) and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 17). They were 17 for 23 from the foul line for 73.9 percent.
Allen led all scorers with 21 points, and Taylor contributed 13.