Bad luck for Trojans on final play lifts Western Kentucky to victory at UALR

   It should have never come down to the end. But UALR’s lack of rebounding and free throw shooting put it behind Western Kentucky for most of the night. Still the Trojans rallied in the final seconds to tie the game 59-59.
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   With one final opportunity, Western Kentucky’s Jamal Crook scored on a layup with 0.7 seconds left to give the Hilltoppers the victory at the Jack Stephens Center.
The final play was in a lot of ways very similar to the final play of a one-point loss at Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks ago. UALR got the initial defensive stop it needed only to see a freak play go against them.
   Western Kentucky held for the game’s final shot. UALR’s Eric Kibi was guarding Juan Patillo. UALR’s Marlon Louzeiro was guarding Stefphon Pettigrew and UALR’s D’Andre Williams was guarding Crook.
Patillo dribbled and handed off to Pettigrew at the top of the circle and set a screen on Marlo. UALR switched on the screen and Kibi picked up Pettigrew and did a perfect job of cutting off his driving lane. Pettigrew tried to put up an off balance shot but the ball slipped out of his hands and went straight up in the air.
   Williams was still in good position in the middle of the lane. But when he saw Pettigrew lose the ball, he went for it and vacated the lane. Meanwhile, Crook slipped in behind Williams in the middle of the lane.
   Both Kibi and Pettigrew leaped for the ball. But Pettigrew got there first, tapping the ball to the now wide open Crook. He caught the ball and made the layup with 0.7 seconds left for the game-winner. It doesn't appear Pettigrew was even trying to pass to Crook. It looks like he just got lucky.
   The loss drops UALR to 6-6 in Sun Belt play and all but eliminates them from a bye in the Sun Belt Tournament. It is still mathematically possible, but UALR would need to win the remaining four games and get some serious help.
   Watch the final play here: