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Date Posted: Sun, January 23 2005, 8:42:54
Author: 91
Subject: Game story from Monroe paper


Controversial call hurts Indians in OT defeat

ARLINGTON, Texas Louisiana-Monroe played another great game on the road and again the Indians lost, again with a controversial referee's call playing a big role in an 80-76 Texas-Arlington overtime victory Saturday.

In a game that brought back memories of ULM's one-point loss to McNeese on a goal-tending call with seven seconds left, the Indians led for most of the game.

Four Indians scored in double figures with Cecil Hood leading the way with 19 points. Daryl Mason played his best game as an Indian with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds while DeAndre Alexander scored 13 points before fouling out and Aaron Branch had 12.

For the winners, all-conference forward Steven Thomas led with 31 points on nine field goals and 13 points on free throws in 22 chances.

ULM ended the game with two top players, Hood and Alexander, on the bench with five fouls. Hood's final foul was part of the most crucial play of the regulation game. With the game tied at 69 and 11 seconds to play, Hood drove inside from the 3-point line, pulled up and hit a two-point shot that would have given ULM the lead. Instead, official Brent Dugas whistled Hood for pushing off and wiped out the basket.

In the overtime, ULM took the first lead at 71-69 on a jumper by Adrian Harper. UTA came back to take the lead but ULM went ahead again with 57 seconds left when Jontae Turpin made one of two free throws for a 76-75 advantage. Thomas put UTA on top again, 77-76, 13 seconds later on a layup and the Indians never really had a chance to catch up because the Mavs took the ball away from Turpin twice at midcourt, first with 35 seconds left and again with seven seconds left. Turpin was whistled for a foul after the first takeaway and Rodrick Epps made one of two free throws for a 78-76 UTA advantage. After the second, Kenneth Henderson made a dunk with a second left for the final 80-76 margin.

"I thought we had won it," Coach Mike Vining, still looking for his 400th victory, said of the controversial play involving Hood. "We had called a play and it worked out just the way we wanted it to we got the ball to Cecil and he made a play."

Vining said Turpin was "probably tired on the two turnovers. We started him and he played a great game (he led all players with seven assists and also scored five points) and did some good things for us."

About the foul shots, Vining said, "They were really calling it close, especially on the way we were guarding Thomas. We needed to be more aggressive toward the basket. The boys played hard we just needed to take care of the ball better. We had the lead in overtime, we just weren't able to hold it. One reason why we didn't was that we had our two go-to players on the bench with five fouls by then."

ULM outshot the Mavs decisively, hitting 30-of-53 shots for 56.6 percent to 48.1 percent for UTA. But the home team shot 36 free throws, making 22, while ULM had only 16 chances and made only eight. UTA won the board battle by one, 31-30.

The Indians were whistled for 26 fouls to only 18 for UTA.

ULM was never behind in the first half, taking a 3-0 lead at 19:11 on a three-point shot by Hood and holding UTA without a field goal for almost six minutes.

The Indians led 10-1 at 16:48 after another three-point shot, this one by Aaron Branch, and a Hood jumper at 15:19 made it 12-2. The Indian lead reach 11 three times, the last time at 29-18 after another Branch 3-pointer.

The lead never got under seven points and at 2:27 a couple of foul shots by Jontae Turpin made it 10, 35-25, at 2:27. But some turnovers and an old-fashioned three-point play by Thomas at 0:50 and the new-fashioned kind by Rodrick Epps at the buzzer made the margin four, 35-31, at halftime.

Originally published January 23, 2005

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