March 20, 2023

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UTPB finds late separation in win over Texas A&M International

Separation was hard to come by when the UTPB men’s basketball hosted Texas A&M International in Lone Star Conference play Thursday at the Falcon Dome.

Neither team could create a considerable scoring run throughout regulation and needed one overtime period to settle things.

Although the Falcons didn’t play their best offensive game early, they found the necessary push to defeat the Dustdevils 89-86.

“We didn’t play as well tonight as we did the last two weeks,” UTPB coach Kyle Tolin said. “I thought the first half, we kind of played out of ourselves a little bit and didn’t guard very well.

“We just kind of stayed in there, hung in there and gave ourselves a chance to win.”

Both teams showed that they weren’t going to give up any easy baskets from the start.

By the end of the first half the Dustdevils were up by five points, one point off from their largest lead of the night.

Texas A&M International led the Falcons by six points in the second half’s first two minutes and couldn’t build up a larger advantage the rest of the period.

The intensity started increasing in the final five minutes of regulation with three lead changes.

After leading by four points with 19 seconds left in the second half, the Dustdevils saw a 3-pointer from UTPB’s Keyon Craddock cut the deficit to one.

Tiras Morton had a chance to give the visitors a more comfortable lead to close out the game, but converted one of two free throw attempts and gave the Falcons a chance to tie the game up.

DaJuan Jones came off the bench and weaved his way through multiple Texas A&M International defenders, finishing a contested layup to even that contest up at 77-77.

The Falcons found another gear in overtime, only allowing the Dustdevils to lead once.

“I think that’s what good teams do, they figure out ways to win,” Tolin said. “We looked dead in the water tonight, with 20 seconds left I don’t know if anybody in the gym thought we’d win.”

It was UTPB’s third consecutive victory, adding to victories against Angelo State and Western New Mexico the past two weeks.

The Falcons (14-9 overall, 6-5 conference) look to maintain their hot streak against Texas A&M-Kingsville at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Falcon Dome.

>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya

UTPB 89, Texas A&M International 86 (OT)

TEXAS A&M INTERNATIONAL (11-10, 3-7 Lone Star Conference)

Tre Thomas 4-7 0-0 10, La-Quiem Walker 6-10 3-4 17, Daniel Kiely 4-6 0-0 9, Greg Bowie II 2-10 13-14 18, Tiras Morton 1-5 3-4 5, Journee Phillips 5-7 0-1 10, Tyrese Davis 3-5 2-5 8, Anthony Scott 2-3 2-3 6, Michael Ozomah 1-1 0-0 2, Cameron Bowles 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 28-54 24-33 86.

UTPB (14-9, 6-5)

Lemmie Howard 2-7 0-0 4, Miles Daniels 8-15 0-0 21, Keyon Craddock 4-5 13-14 22, Jordan Horn 7-16 4-4 19, Kendal Frey 2-6 0-0 5, Max Warren 2-3 3-5 7, DaJuan Jones 2-2 5-6 9, Alvarez Powell 0-0 2-2 2, Zavon Godwin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-54 27-31 89.

Halftime — Texas A&M International 34, UTPB 29. 3-Point goals — Texas A&M International 6-18 (Thomas 2-5, Walker 2-3, Kiely 1-2, Bowie 1-4, Morton 0-3, Scott 0-1), UTPB 8-16 (Daniels 5-8, Craddock 1-1, Horn 1-5, Frey 1-2). Total fouls — Texas A&M International 20, UTPB 22. Fouled out — UTPB (Howard). Technical fouls — None. Rebounds — Texas A&M International 29 (Kiely, Morton 5), UTPB 29 (Horn 9). Assists — Texas A&M International 8 (Kiely, Bowie 3), UTPB 8 (Jones 3).