GEORGETOWN - The UT Tyler men’s basketball team owned the paint and made 32 free throws in a 94-90 non-conference win over Southwestern on Saturday at the Robertson Center.
The Patriots (1-1) earned their first victory of the season after overcoming a sluggish first half where they committed 11 turnovers and were down by as many as 13 points to the Pirates (2-1) before storming back in the second half and amassing a 40-20 scoring advantage in the paint. The Patriots were 32 for 50 from the free throw line, including going 21 for 33 in the second half to seal the road victory over the previously unbeaten Pirates. The 50 free throws are the most attempted in a game in program history and the 32 made are the third most.
“We did a good job in the second half of playing inside-out which was the key to victory for us,” UT Tyler head coach Jamon Copeland said. “That wasn’t happening in the first half because of all our turnovers. We were going after their best players inside and were making things happen. Winning on the road is especially hard so I’m really proud of our guys for making the adjustments and winning this game.”
Demarcus Metcalf led the Patriots with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Anthony Gonzales had 15 points and Melvin Anthony had 13 points and four rebounds. Anthony hit a buzzer beater at the end of the first half to take the game to 43-40 after the first 20 minutes.
Metcalf tied the game for the first time with a steal and dunk just 80 seconds into the second half and the Patriot took their first lead of the game with Gonzales hitting a 3-pointer just a minute later. The game was a back-and-forth competition with neither team gaining more than a six-point advantage that the Pirates had at the six-minute mark after a pair of free throws. The Patriots would quickly respond though with Metcalf hitting two free throws and Rodgers hitting a pair of inside shots to tie the game at 80 with 3:43 to play. UT Tyler regained the lead with Gonzales and Rodgers hitting four straight free throws and were up 86-80 when Darryn York hit a layup with 2:11 to play. Two free throws form the Pirates had the lead down to 91-90 with seven seconds to play, but Metcalf would calmly hit a pair of free throws and Gonzales another to give the Patriots the win.
UT Tyler would come away with the win after cutting its turnovers in half in the second 20 minutes.
“Our first half was terrible with 11 turnovers,” Copeland said. “We just were not taking care of the ball and were trying to force too much. We put them on the line by getting in foul trouble early and that dug us a hole.”
The Patriots had 12 players score on Saturday night with four in double-figures and York at eight points, three rebounds and two assists. Reid Walker went for seven points, while Levelt Francois and Ty Davis had six. Anthony finished the game with a team-best six free throws, while Metcalf and Gonzales hit five each.
UT Tyler will return to action against Rust College at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in its home opener at the Herrington Patriot Center.
“Rust is going to be the most athletic team we’ll play all year so we’re going to have a tough challenge ahead of,” Copeland said. “It’s nice being able to play at home and we’re looking forward to playing there the next couple of weeks. We need to start shooting better, but tonight was a good step for our team.”