Martaveous McKnight scored 16 points, and Quamauri Hardy scored 16 points to lead the Golden Lions. UAPB had two others in double figures as Trent Steen chipped in with 14 points, and Travon Harper scored 11.

For a spot in the 2018 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals, the No. 1 University of Arkansas of Pine Bluff Golden Lions (13-19, 13-6) hosted and beat the No. 8 Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils (4-28, 4-15) Tuesday night 77-73.

The two ball clubs met five days prior to their post-season match up, and the Golden Lions had no problems beating the Delta Devils 94-57, but this time around the stakes were raised.

With their season on the line, the Delta Devils looked like a totally different team, and they gave UAPB all they could handle. UAPB out-played MVSU in the final few minutes of the game to keep their season alive.

The Golden Lions came out of the gate playing with the level of energy that UAPB Head Coach George Ivory has been pushing for. Establishing All-SWAC second team member senior Trent Steen was what the Golden Lions looked to do in their first few possessions. That allowed the perimeter to open up, and the Golden Lions took advantage by knocking down seven first-half three-pointers.

On defense, UAPB decided to go zone, and MVSU junior guard Jordan Evans took advantage of a few open looks from three and knocked them down.

Coming out of the under 12 media timeout, UAPB junior guard Quamauri Hardy knocked down a wide-open three from the wing. Scoring was wide-spread for the Golden Lions in the first half as eight different players recorded points.

After Hardy connected on two more triples, UAPB senior Charles Jackson joined the party by knocking down a deep ball himself. Even though the Golden Lions were having success from behind the arc, MVSU didn't fold. For the most part, they were a two-man show as Evans and junior center E. Ejeh combined for 15 of their first 25 points.

Senior sharpshooter Joe'Randle Tolliver came off of the bench and hit two timely three's to help the Golden Lions build their biggest lead of the game up to that point. However, right before halftime, MVSU scored four unanswered points to keep things manageable on their end as UAPB led 39-33.

UAPB senior forward Travon Harper slammed one home in the first minute of second half to spark a small 5-0 run to extend their lead. That's when Evans knocked down his third triple of the game to slow the Golden Lions down.

Evans started to become a thorn in the side of UAPB with his ability to shoot from deep. Just as the Golden Lions seemed as if they had a chance to make an extended run, Evans connected on his fourth three to pull MVSU within three points of the lead.

With the season on the line, both teams were going toe-to-toe by taking their time and executing in the half court.

Evans hit his fifth triple of the game to tie the score, and it was obvious this one would come down to whoever could string together the most defensive stops.

At the under eight media timeout, the score was 63-63, and the Delta Devils had erased what was once an 11 point advantage for UAPB.

All-SWAC first team guard Dante Scott got going in the second half to match what Evans and Ejeh were providing. Scott connected on a deep three to knot the score at 67-67 at the final media timeout of regulation.

In such a close game, every bucket was huge, and Q. Hardy made one of the biggest shots of the game, drawing a foul to give UAPB the lead with a little over two minutes to play.

SWAC Player of the Year M. McKnight would have the ball in his hands in winning time as UAPB held on to their slim lead. With the Delta Devils trailing, they had no choice but to play aggressively on defense, and McKnight took advantage by probing and getting to the foul line.

With 19.7 left to play, Evans connected on a tough layup to bring MVSU within two, but the Golden Lions held possession. Coming out of a timeout called by Payne, the Delta Devils decided not to foul, which allowed UAPB to break their press and get it to Travon Harper, who was fouled at the rim.

Harper hit both foul shots to make it a two-possession game, and that would be enough to allow UAPB to survive a close one. Before heading to Houston for a Friday quarterfinals matchup, the Golden Lions got a taste of "March Madness.”

Jordan Evans led the Delta Devils with a game-high 20 points.

Martaveous McKnight scored 16 points, and Quamauri Hardy scored 16 points to lead the Golden Lions. UAPB had two others in double figures as Trent Steen chipped in with 14 points, and Travon Harper scored 11.