Solomon Bozeman scored a career high 25 points to lead UALR. His three-pointer at the end of overtime missed. UALR came up with the offensive rebound in a scrum but could not get off a final shot attempt.
UALR got off to a good start and survived a first-half run by Denver as the Pioneers took a 29-25 halftime lead. Needing a quick start to the second half, UALR didn’t get it. Instead, Denver quickly pushed the lead to 12 points and looked like they might pull away.
But UALR fought back, cutting the lead to 44-43 on a layup by Derrick Bails with 6:24 left. But the Trojans couldn’t get over the hump. And Denver pushed the lead to 56-50 with 34 seconds left after Travis Hallam made 1 of 2 free throws. That set up a wild finish to regulation.
Bozeman dropped a pass back to D’Andre Williams for a three-pointer with 27 seconds left to cut the lead to 56-53. Chris Udofia made 1 of 2 free throws before Matt Mouzy banked in a long three-pointer with 12 seconds left to cut the lead to 57-56.
Denver’s Brian Stafford made two free throws with 8 seconds left, but the Pioneers fouled Bozeman as he tried to launch a 35-footer with 4 seconds left. Bozeman, an 82 percent free throw shooter, missed the first. He made the second and third to cut the lead to 59-58. Bozeman then fouled Travis Hallam, who made two free throws for a 61-58 lead with 2.6 seconds left.
UALR tried a long inbounds pass, but Travis Hallam knocked the ball out of bounds at midcourt with 1.1 seconds left. That did UALR a favor. Williams passed to Alex Garcia-Mendoza and he nailed the three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime tied 61-61.
UALR led 65-61 in overtime when Udofia hit a three-pointer. After a layup by Bozeman, Tyler Thalken hit a three-pointer to tie the score 67-67.
UALR couldn’t answer with Williams turning the ball over and Chase Hallam scored on a layup for a 69-67 Denver lead with 1:47 left.
Bozeman then drove inside but got in trouble. He flipped the ball to Eric Kibi, who scored as he was fouled to tie the score. His free throw gave UALR a 70-69 led.
After a Denver miss, UALR had a chance to put the game away but Bozeman traveled to give it back to Denver. This time Denver converted. Chase Hallam used his height advantage to score on a runner over Bozeman as he was fouled with 9 seconds left. Hallam then made the free throw for a 72-70 lead.
UALR went for the win but Bozeman’s shot was off the mark.
UALR and Denver shot nearly identically from the field. The Trojans were 24 of 50 while Denver was 24 of 49. UALR made 6 of 12 three-pointers to Denver’s 11 of 26. And UALR made 16 of 20 free throws to Denver’s 13 of 19.