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Texas-Arlington 82, Northwestern State 79

1 2 T
Mavericks (21-11) 42 40 82
Demons (15-18) 41 38 79


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Replay on ESPN360
1:00 PM ET, March 16, 2008
Leonard E. Merrell Center
Katy, TX

Mavericks overcome Northwestern St., grab Southland Conference crown

Mavericks Make History Heading Into 1st NCAA Tourney
Photo Wire

Texas-Arlington head coach Scott Cross cuts down the net after defeating Northwestern State during the men's final of the Southland Conference Tournament, Sunday, March 16, 2008, at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.(AP Photo/Bob Levey)

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Team Stat Comparison
Points 82 79
FG Made-Attempted 27-59 (.458) 25-63 (.397)
3P Made-Attempted 6-18 (.333) 10-25 (.400)
FT Made-Attempted 22-29 (.759) 19-27 (.704)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 10 6
Game Leaders
PointsA. Vereen 25T. Gilder 20
ReboundsA. Vereen 9C. Bargeman 11
AssistsR. Epps 3D. Knight 4
StealsR. Guignard 2K. Hancock 2
 · Team Stats: Texas-Arlington | Northwestern State
Game Flow
2007-08 Season
Jan 5, 2008 @NWST 86, TEXARL 82Recap | Box Score
· Mar 16, 2008 TEXARL 82, @NWST 79Recap | Box Score
Next 5 Games
03/21 @MEM 9:55pm
 · Complete Schedule: Texas-Arlington | Northwestern State

KATY, Texas (AP) -- Anthony Vereen and his Texas-Arlington teammates knew the school had never been to the NCAA tournament.

On Sunday, they changed that.

Vereen had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead the Mavericks to an 82-79 victory over Northwestern State in the Southland Conference title game, earning an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

"This feels like a weight off our shoulders," Vereen said.

"You come to some places and they have all these championships and NCAA tournament appearances," he said. "Then you come here and look in the record books and it says under championships, 'None, none, none.' So it feels pretty good to win this one."

Vereen's two free throws with 11 seconds left sealed the win for seventh-seeded Mavericks (21-11), who set a school record for victories. Rog'er Guignard added 17 points and Larry Posey had 11 for the Mavericks.

"I feel like Posey and Vereen are the best two post players in the league," coach Scott Cross said. "Vereen is not only the best in the conference at playing with his back to the basket, he's the best I've ever seen."

Cross said he couldn't describe what he was feeling after the win.

"It's unbelievable to win this, and these three guys (Vereen, Guignard and Posey) are the reason we're here," he said.

Posey, a senior, had been to the conference tournament three times and always came up short.

"We just said `It's our last year so let's go out with a bang," Posey said. "We wanted to shock the world, by winning this thing and I think we did."

The Mavericks could really shock the world this week. They are the 16th seed in the South Region and will play top-seeded Memphis on Friday in Little Rock, Ark.

Trey Gilder had 20 points and Gerrell Thomas added 14 for Northwestern State (15-18), the tournament's fifth seed which was looking for its third NCAA berth and first since 2006.

Texas-Arlington used an 11-5 run to take a 62-54 lead with 12:21 to play. The Mavericks led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but Northwestern closed within 78-77 with 2:22 left on three free throws by Colby Bargeman. The Demons were still down one when they turned the ball over with 12 seconds to go.

"We had the ball and just couldn't keep a handle on it," Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said. "We had a chance to go ahead then, but that's the way it goes. We kept fighting and never gave up. That's a pretty good game we had out there."

Gilder missed a 3-point attempt as the clock ran out.

"I thought it was going to go in and we were going to overtime," Gilder said. "But it just wouldn't fall."

Added Bargeman, "We played our hearts out. It just didn't go our way at the end. It was just a couple of plays we didn't make."

Men's Basketball Scores

Other Scores:

Sunday, March 16th
Texas-Arlington 82 Final
Northwestern State 79