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Arkansas State men fall in heartbreaker at UT Arlington



A three-pointer and foul in the final second helped UT Arlington deal the Arkansas State men’s basketball team a heartbreaking 73-71 defeat Friday at the College Park Center.

After Marquis Eaton completed a three-point play with seven seconds remaining, UT Arlington inbounded the ball and Shahada Wells found David Azore on the left wing for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 showing on the clock. A foul was whistled against A-State on the play and Azore drained the free throw giving the Mavericks the 2-point advantage. A-State attempted a potential game-tying or go-ahead play, but the inbounds play was unsuccessful resulting in the final score.

With the defeat, A-State (10-11, 7-7 Sun Belt) is assured the No. 3 or No. 4 seed from the West Division in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Saturday’s contest will determine the seeding with the winner getting the No. 3 seed. The win improved UT Arlington to 12-12 overall and 8-8 in league play.

Behind a perfect 8-for-8 shooting night, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range, Eaton paced the Red Wolves with 20 points while adding six rebounds and seven assists. The 20-point performance was his third this season and 14th in his career as he is now nine points shy of Bennie Wilhelm (1946-49) for 11th on the program’s all-time scoring list. Norchad Omier collected his 13th double-double of the season, most among Division I freshmen, with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Azore led the Mavericks with a game-high 22 points while Wells had 20 points and seven assists.

A-State led by as many as nine in the first half, but the Mavericks forced a 31-31 tie by halftime despite the Red Wolves holding the hosts to 34.5 percent (10-29) from the floor. The second half was tightly contested with 14 lead changes in the last 20 minutes. The Red Wolves led by as many as eight in the second, holding a 54-46 lead with 10:58 to play. UT Arlington used a 9-0 run to take the lead, but did not lead by more than one point until the final seconds.

The Red Wolves out-shot the Mavericks, hitting 52 percent (30-58) from the field while holding UT Arlington to 40 percent (25-62). UTA was 7-of-23 (30 percent) beyond the arc while the Red Wolves hit 5-of-12 (42 percent). The Mavericks shot 10 more free throws than the Red Wolves, finishing 16-of-20 (80 percent) at the line against 6-of-10 (60 percent for A-State. The Red Wolves held a commanding 41-26 edge on the glass, but UTA forced 18 turnovers while committing just five miscues.

A-State and UT Arlington play for the No. 3 seed from the West Division Saturday at 4:00 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard across the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network and flagship station 107.9 KFIN. For the latest on A-State men’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@AStateMB), Facebook (/AStateMB) and Instagram (@astatemb).

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