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Lions: UAFS survives Jets’ upset bid in OT

Taking care of business required a little overtime for the UAFS Lions on Thursday night against the Newman Jets.

Freshman guard Seth Youngblood scored four of his team-high 19 points in the final two minutes of overtime to lift the Lions to a 95-91 win against the Jets in Heartland Conference play at the Stubblefield Center.

UAFS (19-5, 12-4) swept the regular-season series against Newman (9-15, 6-10) and, most importantly, kept pace with Texas A&M International in its quest for a second consecutive regular-season title. Texas A&M International (19-7, 12-4) won a huge road game on Thursday night, beating St. Edward’s 67-64.

The Lions will host Oklahoma Panhandle State at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Stubblefield Center — the second of three final home games to finish the regular season.

Tied at 82 points at the end of regulation, Newman took as much as a three-point lead in the five-minute overtime period when junior forward Jeremy Espinoza drained a 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining to give the Jets an 85-82 lead.

UAFS rallied to take a one-point lead (86-85) on a layup by junior forward Miha Glavas with 2:42 left before Newman regained the lead (87-86) on a pair of free throws by Espinoza with 2:27 to play.

Freshman guard Alex Cooper hit the front-end of a two-shot foul with 2:18 left to play to tie the game at 87 points, but he missed the second attempt. Glavas grabbed the missed rebound, and Youngblood followed with a jumper to give UAFS the lead (89-87) with 2:15 left.

Newman answered with a pair of free throws by Ryan McCarthy to tie the game at 89 with 1:39 to play, but Youngblood drained a jumper with 1:12 remaining to put UAFS ahead for good (91-89).

Junior guard Blake Branham, who scored five points in overtime, scored on a layup with 13 seconds left to give UAFS a four-point lead (93-89) and, following a layup by Jets guard Landers Riddle, hit a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to make it a four-point game (95-91).

UAFS shot 51 percent from the field (35 for 69) – it was 5-for-14 shooting from 3-point range – and shot just 59 percent from the free-throw line (20 for 34). Youngblood was one of six Lions to score in double-figures. Glavas scored 15, senior guard Jake Toupal 12, Branham and freshman forward LJ Ross 11 points apiece and senior forward Bo Franklin 10.

Glavas topped off his double-double with 14 rebounds to help the Lions out-rebound the Jets by 11 rebounds (47-36).

Newman shot 48 percent from the field (31 for 65) – it was 8-for-24 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 78 percent from the free-throw line (21 for 27). Senior guard Marquis Cuyler led Newman with 24 points, while Riddle had 22, Espinoza 11 and McCarthy and senior forward Elhad Emerllahu had 10 apiece.

Cuyler had nine rebounds to lead the Jets.