In front of one of the biggest home crowds of the season, Reger Dowell carried UT Arlington to its third win in four games by draining two 3-pointers in the final 25 seconds to beat Troy 59-56 at College Park Center on Thursday night.
The senior stamped a memorable finish after he found his team locked in a back-and-forth battle to stay afloat in the crowded Sun Belt.
Dowell sank a 3-pointer from the corner with 24.1 seconds left to put the Mavericks ahead 56-53, but Troy (7-12, 2-5 Sun Belt) responded with a 3-pointer to tie it back at 56-56.
With no timeouts left, the Mavericks raced upcourt, found Dowell on the perimeter and let the senior play the hero. The win brings UTA (8-10, 3-3) to .500 in the Sun Belt and squarely in a tie for fourth place.
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“It was picture perfect,” Dowell said.
Over the final 10 minutes, neither team held a lead larger than three points. The teams, both fighting back from slow starts in conference play, exchanged leads five times down the stretch before Dowell got the last word.
It’s fitting that Dowell won the game on back-to-back 3-pointers, considering his first shot of the night sailed wide of the rim. He epitomized the Mavericks’ offense that was only 8-of-31 from 3-point range, but closed strong and was rewarded with the win.
As exciting as the finish was, the first 30 minutes were as sloppy as basketball gets. Both teams were under 20 percent shooting for most of the first half, and they turned the ball over a combined 25 times.
The Mavericks have a chance to get on an extended winning streak when they host last-place South Alabama at 7:30 pm. Saturday.