• by Travis Hendryx •
TYLER, Texas- The University of Texas at Tyler men’s basketball team fended off a resilient second-half effort by the Sul Ross Lobos to claim an 89-79 victory in Thursday night non-conference action.
Thursday’s game marked the final time the Lobos and Patriots would battle on the hardwood as U.T. Tyler will be joining the NCAA Division II ranks as a member of the Heartland Conference beginning in the 2019-20 season.
A sluggish start to the game by the visitors allowed the Patriots to post an eight-point lead but a three-point basket by Cole Avery narrowed the Lobo deficit to four with 10:46 left in the first half.
Two free throws by U.T. Tyler’s Chris Craig propelled the home team to a double digit lead at the 8:52 mark as the Patriots would go on an 8-0 spurt for a 34-16 lead at 5:28.
With ten seconds left in the half, Julian Paredes drained a triple to pull Sully within 16 but U.T. Tyler answered with a layup by Jared Jenkins for a 49-31 Patriot lead heading to the break.
A three-pointer by B.J. Hollis cut the Sul Ross deficit to under 10 with 12:33 left in the closing half.
Sul Ross then mounted a 9-0 run that was finished by Conner Dawson’s three-pointer and pulled the Lobos to within four, 62-58 at the 10:26 mark.
Two foul shots by Craig pushed U.T. Tyler back into a double digit lead at 1:19.
A fast break layup by Dawson at 35 seconds cut the Lobos deficit down to nine, but the Patriots finished off the Lobos with free throws to claim the 89-79 victory.
Dawson led the Sul Ross effort with 21 points while Hollis and Tristen Licon sported 14 and 12 points respectively. Avery finished with 11 points. Hollis led rebounders with eight boards.
Thursday’s setback drops Sul Ross to 6-8 on the season while U.T. Tyler improves to 6-6.
Sul Ross travels to Clarksville, Arkansas Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. ASC tip against University of the Ozarks.