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Texas State tops UT Arlington in triple overtime, 87-85

Texas State Men's Basketball
Saturday, February 29, 2020

ARLINGTON — Eric Terry already missed one game-winner. He was not about to miss a second.

Texas State trailed UT Arlington 85-84 with less than 30 seconds left in triple overtime of Friday night’s road game at College Park Center. Junior guard Marlin Davis brought the ball up the floor with the shot clock turned off. He dished the ball to sophomore point guard Mason Harrell in the left corner, who drove back to the top of the key, received a screen from senior guard Nijal Pearson and darted to the rim.

As Harrell approached the hoop, Terry’s defender, senior forward Jabari Narcis, slid over to help protect the paint. Harrell glided past Narics to deliver a dime to Terry on the left side of the net. 

Terry converted on an and-one layup and free throw to put the team up 87-85 with 12.5 seconds remaining. The Bobcats hung on to claim their 20th win of the season and their first victory in Arlington since Jan. 9, 2010.

“It's long overdue,” Terry said. “I just feel like it was long overdue and I'm just I'm just glad we came out on top.”

The senior forward heated up early in the first half, finding explosive chemistry with Davis in the pick and roll. As Davis rounded the corners of Terry’s screens, Narcis would hard hedge him, keeping Davis corralled to the perimeter but opening the key up for Terry to thunder through.

By the end of the first half, Terry led both teams with nine points, as did Davis with five assists, leading to a 27-25 edge for the visitors.

“I was just reading the defense. You know, me and ET have been playing for a long time — four years. So me and him have a good understanding. I kind of got a good understanding of a lot of people on the team, just where they're gonna be,” Davis said. “(The Mavericks) were just giving us looks and so I was just feeding my big man. I love feeding ET.”

UTA adjusted in the second half. Narcis stuck to Terry on his rolls, lowering the number of easy looks at the rim. Texas State’s field goal percentage dropped from 43 percent in the first half to 35 percent in the second.

Still, the visitors held a 59-55 lead with less than a minute remaining. Mavericks senior guard Brian Warren drew a foul with 57 seconds remaining in regulation and sank two free throws to make it a two-point game. Pearson pulled up for a midrange jumpshot from the right side of the court, but was blocked by junior guard David Azore, who collected the miss and cashed in on a fastbreak layup to tie the game up.

Bobcats head coach Danny Kaspar called timeout with 14.1 seconds on the clock. Harrell dumped the ball inside to Terry on the right block on the inbounds play. Terry got off a quick turnaround jumper but the ball rimmed out, sending the game into overtime.

“This game had so many ups and downs. I'm just so glad we won because we had chances to put this thing away early,” Kaspar said. “We let it get away from us, from missed free throws to silly fouls to getting tied up there at the end. You know, we had a chance to win it early and we let them back in.”

Terry made up for the miss in the next period. Trailing by two in the first overtime with 25 seconds to go, the senior dropped in a hook shot to knot the game back up at 65-65. Warren missed a go-ahead basket at the buzzer, resulting in double OT.

The maroon and gold led late again, up 76-73 with 15 seconds left in the second overtime. But freshman guard Nicolas Elame was fouled on consecutive possessions and went 3-4 at the line to send the game into the third and final overtime.

“You can't give up. You know, it's kill or get killed,” Davis said. “They weren't gonna give up so we can't give up. It's five more minutes. We prepared for that back in the summer. You know, a lot of long days in the summer, a lot of conditioning. So we were in shape for it. So we just knew we had to be the tougher team and gut it out.”

Pearson drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to begin the period, but UTA worked its way back to go in front, 83-82. With 42 seconds remaining, Pearson missed a jumpshot, followed the ball and put it back in to retake the lead. Elame countered with a contested jumper on the other end at the 30-second mark.

Terry sank his game-winner on the next possession.

“I saw Mason driving the ball. My coaches always tell me to get in the dunker spot,” Terry said. “And so when Mason drove it, I know he's like (5-foot-9). No offense to him, but the odds of him getting his shot blocked are pretty high. So the fact that he made a smart decision and dropped it off to me was really special on his part.”

Terry finished the evening with a career-high 30 points and nine rebounds. Pearson posted his second double-double of the season with 24 points and a personal-best 15 boards. Davis nearly eclipsed a triple-double with 14 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

The victory marks the program’s third 20-win season in the past four years and clinches top-two seed for the team in the Sun Belt tournament.

“Easily the craziest game I have ever been a part of,” Texas State Director of Basketball Operations Alex Hausladen said.

The Bobcats will play in their regular season finale on Tuesday in Mobile, Alabama, taking on the South Alabama Jaguars at 7 p.m. Kaspar said he wants the momentum of the win against the Mavericks to carry over into the team’s final game.

“I just hope that we can go to South Alabama and get this win because it's going to be a big game,” Kaspar said. “I mean, depending on what happens tomorrow night with Louisiana and Little Rock, it could mean a conference title, it could mean second place and a bye to the (semifinals). So I know our guys know it's gonna be important.”

San Marcos Record

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