LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Ouachita Baptist men's basketball team (1-0) defeated NCAA Division I Little Rock (0-1) 81-79 Saturday afternoon to kick off regular season play.
Ouachita led by as many as 11 points before surviving a late surge from Little Rock. Jontavis Willis gave the Tigers their largest lead with 11:14 remaining off his fourth made 3-point shot of the game. Matt Stanley's layup equaled the Tigers' largest advantage with 7:51 remaining before the Trojans began to cut into Ouachita's lead.
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The Tigers watched their lead dwindle down to as low as three points during the final minute. Mahlon Martin iced the game for Ouachita as a made free throw, with just seconds remaining, pushed the Tigers out to a four-point lead. Little Rock hit a layup as time expired to bring the final score to 81-79.
Ouachita pulled off the upset hitting 55-percent of its shots from the field and 14-28 from behind the 3-point line. Little Rock equaled the Tigers' shooting percentage, but was held to hitting just 6-20 of its shots from behind the arc.
Willis and Stanley led the charge for Ouachita, as the two combined for 35 points. Willis led all players with 18 points on the afternoon while also collecting five rebounds and three assists. Stanley finished with 17 points in the upset win.
Martin and Wesley Franklin gave the Tigers four players with double-digit points scored. Martin, a Little Rock native, finished with 11 points, seven assists and two steals while Franklin grabbed 11 points and four rebounds.
The Tigers will now prepare for next Thursday's conference opener at Southwestern Oklahoma State. The road contest is scheduled to tipoff at 7:30 p.m. in Weatherford, Oklahoma.