ARLINGTON, Texas — Jalen Jones hit a 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds remaining in overtime and Texas-Arlington rallied to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette 84-83 in a Sun Belt Conference game on Thursday at College Park Center.
Jones, who went 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point line, scored a team-high 23 points as UTA (18-7, 9-5 Sun Belt) rallied from a 42-29 halftime deficit and forced overtime on a Jones bucket with 37 seconds remaining in regulation.
Louisiana-Lafayette, which will face Texas State on Saturday in San Marcos, fell to 14-10 overall and 10-5 in Sun Belt play.
Louisiana-Lafayette led 80-76 in overtime after Jay Wright sank a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining before Drew Charles answered for the Mavs after draining a 3-pointer from the right wing.
After Shawn Long made one of two free throws that gave the Cajuns an 81-79 lead, UTA tied the game as Kaelon Wilson tipped in a Jones miss with 45 seconds remaining in the extra period.
The Cajuns regained the lead on a Bryce Washington bucket with 25 seconds left, and after Jones’ go-ahead bucket, Long’s 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out.
Long tied a season-high with 28 points and 18 rebounds for Louisiana-Lafayette while Kasey Shepherd added 16 points, including 4-for-5 aim from behind the 3-point line. Jay Wright finished with 13 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Johnathan Stove adding 12.
Louisiana-Lafayette built a 15-point lead in the first half as Shepherd and Hayward Register fueled a 12-2 run with a combined four 3-pointers in 3:18-span. Shepherd, who moved into sole possession of 10th place on the school’s all-time list in 3-pointers made, sank back-to-back 3-pointers after UTA closed the gap to 19-16 on a free throw by Faith Pope.
The senior drained his third 3-pointer of the half that gave Louisiana-Lafayette a 31-18 lead with 8:01 remaining in the first half.
Long converted a three-point play for the Cajuns after a 3-pointer by Jones and added a slam on a baseline drive that put Louisiana-Lafayette ahead, 39-27, with 1:06 remaining in the first half.
Louisiana-Lafayette led 68-57 when Register connected on a 3-pointer with 5:32 left in regulation before UTA chipped away at the lead to force overtime. Backup post player Nick Pallas, a 48-percent free throw shooter, opened a 7-1 run for the Mavs with a pair of free throws before Erick Neal added a jumper and 3-pointer that cut the Cajuns lead to 69-64 with 3:57 left.
The Ragin’ Cajuns led 72-66 with 2:25 remaining on a basket by Long, but UTA forced three turnovers down the stretch and rallied with buckets by Charles, Wilson and Jones to force overtime.
Louisiana-Lafayette finished 28-for-66 (42.4 percent) from the floor, 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from behind the 3-point line and 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) from the free throw line.
Wilson recorded a double-double for UTA with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Neal added 19 points and Charles 10. The Mavs finished 26-for-70 (37.1 percent) from the floor, 8-for-23 (34.8 percent) from long range and 24-for-30 (80.0 percent) from the line.