The final game of the regular season at H.O. Clemmons Arena resulted in a one-point loss for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions men’s basketball. UAPB senior guard Martaveous McKnight missed a go-ahead shot in the waning seconds of the game, and the Jackson State Tigers secured a 57-56 road win.
UAPB Head Coach George Ivory has preached more rebounds and less turnovers. Although UAPB won the turnover battle 13-11, Jackson State out-rebounded the Golden Lions 34-25. Also, the Golden Lions struggled from the foul line going 10-20 for the game.
“I thought Jackson did a great job of attacking the basket, and we didn’t block out,” Ivory said. “You have to control the boards to win ball games. We missed way too many free throws, and that’s concentration.”
McKnight went 6-15 from the floor to record a game-high 18 points. Behind McKnight, UAPB sophomore Shaun Doss was the only other Golden Lion in double figures with 12 points.
Four out of the five starters for Jackson State scored in double figures, led by a team-high 16 points by Venjie Wells.
“I thought they got the ball to the guys that can score for them,” Ivory said. “Our defense was there with hands up, and they made good shots. We have to do a better job of keeping the ball away from our opponents best players.”
With one game remaining before postseason play, the Golden Lions hoop squad can receive as high as a No. 3 seed and as low as a No. 6 seed in the Southwestern Athletic Conference standings.
As of now, three teams sit ahead of UAPB, and two teams sit a half-game back. On Saturday, the Golden Lions conclude their regular season slate with a road game against the Mississippi State Valley Delta Devils.
UAPB is the lone team in the SWAC that has one game remaining. Gaining a win over MVSU this weekend, and having a couple other outcomes go in their favor, could allow the Golden Lions to host a SWAC Tournament First Round Game at H.O. Clemmons Arena.
“We have to take care of our business against Valley,” Ivory said. “Alabama State and Grambling play each other, and Jackson plays Alabama State on Saturday. We’re just praying we can finish in the top four spots to host a home game.”
On Jan. 5 the Golden Lions beat Mississippi Valley 64-52 in their first of a home-and-home. On Saturday, UAPB will look to end the regular season and head into postseason play with their fifth road win of the season.