The University of Arkansas at Monticello men’s basketball team won an overtime thriller at home on Thursday over Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 98-96. It was UAM’s first overtime game since January 26.
UAM’s biggest lead was eight points. After a good layup from SWOSU, KJ Lesure hit a three-ball to make it 23-15 in favor of the Weevils. The Bulldogs answered with a basket, but Kwame McBean responded with a nice layup to put the lead back to eight.
With 9:07 remaining in the first period, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to one point, but UAM would go on a run. Denzel McDuffey hit a pair of free throws and then hit a nice layup in the paint shortly after. Justin Slocum got in on the action with a layup a few plays later and was fouled in the act. He would hit the free throw to push the lead back to eight, 34-26.
SWOSU and UAM would be back-and-forth for the remainder of the half. The Bulldogs did get the lead back to two points as we headed into halftime, 43-41.
The start of the second half was rather lethargic, but after the 11-minute mark, things definitely got exciting. UAM had a three-point advantage that was doubled following a triple from Austin Hardy. SWOSU answered with a bucket, but Hardy again drained a three-pointer to get the lead to seven points.
With 2:51 remaining in the contest, the game became tied at 74-74 after a big three pointer from SWOSU. To conclude a very long possession, Lesure pulled up from three to put the Weevils back in front, 77-74, but the Bulldogs answered right back with a triple of their own to tie it up again, 77-77.
The rest of the half would be decided by some impressive free throw shooting on both sides. Slocum put UAM up two with 26 seconds left, however Damion Thornton hit a layup in the paint with 14 seconds remaining to tie the matchup, 83-83, and send it into overtime.
UAM had some great possessions in overtime that led to its victory. To start the period, the Weevils won the tip and Lesure drained a three off an assist by Hardy. Then, following a steal by McDuffey, Slocum hit a layup to make it 88-83, UAM. Southwestern Oklahoma answered with a basket, but McDuffey hit a big-time layup shortly after to give UAM a 90-85 advantage.
McDuffey would hit a layup again after a free throw from SWOSU and after a missed shot, the Bulldogs would be forced to foul. UAM would rely on free-throw shooting by Lesure and Hardy to help them earn the overtime victory, 98-96.
Lesure had 30 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. McDuffey managed a double-double scoring 16 points and recording 17 rebounds. He also had four blocks and five steals on defense. Slocum added 19 points and six rebounds of his own, while also tallying a pair of blocks.
The Weevils are now 12-2 overall and 4-1 in Great American Conference play. UAM has won five straight games and is 7-0 at home. SWOSU falls to 5-6 overall and 1-4 in league contests.
UAM will continue GAC play Saturday when it hosts Northwestern Oklahoma State. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.