FORT SMITH, Ark. – Oh, so close.
Junior guard Tavian Davis scored on a layup with just 10 seconds left to give Rogers State a one-point lead, and a last-second layup by UAFS freshman guard Kei’shon Parker was off the mark as the Hillcats held on to beat the Lions 70-69 to begin Heartland Conference play on Thursday night at the Expo Center in Claremore, Okla.
It was the conference opener for both teams, and the second-consecutive road game for the Lions, who will play their third game five days on Saturday when they host the Lubbock Christian Chaps in a conference game at 1 p.m. at the Stubblefield Center.
UAFS took a one-point lead (64-63) on a layup by junior guard Seth Hawley with 3:03 left to play and pushed its lead to four-points (67-63) on a 3-pointer by senior guard Chris Crawford with 2:10 left.
Rogers State answered with a 3-pointer by senior guard Chase Littlejohn with 1:58 to play that got the Hillcats within one point (67-66). Crawford hit a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left to extend the Lions’ lead to three points (69-66).
Again, the Hillcats answered. Senior guard Tate Turner scored on a layup with 32 seconds to cut the Lions’ lead to one point (69-68). After a pair of missed free throws by UAFS with 12 seconds left, Rogers State took advantage with Davis scoring the game-winning bucket with 10 seconds.
Parker gave the Lions one last shot, literally, with one second left but missed on a layup.
UAFS shot an impressive 50 percent from the field (22 of 44) – it was 8-of-21 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 71 percent from the free-throw line (17 of 24). Crawford led the Lions with 17 points, while Parker and junior forward Matt Morgan had 12 points apiece.
Morgan led the Lions with seven rebounds.
UAFS, however, committed 17 turnovers that led to 15 points for Rogers State.
Rogers State shot 40 percent from the field (26 of 65) – it was 6-of-23 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 60 percent from the free-throw line (12 of 20). Turner led the Hillcats (5-2, 1-0) with 14 points, while senior guard Saint Hilaire had 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
ROGERS STATE 70, UAFS 69
UAFS 35 34 — 69
Rogers State 35 35 — 70
UAFS (4-5, 0-1): Crawford 17, Morgan 12, Parker 12, Hawley 9, Sivins 6, Ward 5, Williams 5, Ekezie 3
Rogers State (5-2, 1-0): Turner 14, Hilaire 13, Davis 9, Joiner 9, Bass 7, Littlejohn 6, Johnson 4, Tidwell 3, Peacock 3, Battle 2