ULM used a furious last-minute rally to snatch a 60-58 victory over Stephen F. Austin at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on Tuesday night. Junior Malcolm Thomas led the Warhawks with a career-high 18 points including the game-winner with 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock.
SFA's Jarrod McDaniel missed a pair of free throws with nine seconds on the clock and ULM trailing by three. Seven seconds later, freshman Brandon Williams nailed an off-balanced 26-foot 3-pointer to knot the score at 58-58 with 1.8 seconds to play.
The Lumberjacks (1-2) turned the ball over on the following in-bounds play with no time coming off the clock and the ball remaining at the Warhawks goal. Thomas nailed the game-winning jumper from the left side as time expired to give the Warhawks the come-from-behind victory.
ULM (2-2) trailed by as many as 13 points with 3:17 remaining in the game and seven points with 54 seconds left on the clock, but continued to chip away. The Warhawks outscored the Lumberjacks 17-2 in over the final three minutes. Thomas scored nine points in the stretch.
"We've been waiting for Malcolm to come on and get in his comfort zone," head coach Orlando Early said. "Tonight he was feeling it and when he got open he stepped up and made some shots. At the end of the game every guy on the team felt confident with him taking that last shot."
Junior Kenneth Averette scored in double digits for the first time in his ULM career and posted a career-high 14 points including a 6-for-7 effort from the charity stripe. He also added three assists on the night.
The Lumberjacks seemed to be in control of the game in the first half, taking a 33-26 lead into halftime. They were led by Josh Alexander's 11 first half points on 2-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc. SFA also held an 18-12 rebounding advantage in the first half.
ULM came out of the locker room and quickly cut the deficit to four at 33-28 on a lay-up by sophomore Rudy Turner, but Alexander nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner to push the Lumberjacks' lead back up to seven. He followed that with another triple on the ensuing possession to help SFA take a double-digit lead.
The Warhawks struggled to make shots early in the second half, but Thomas hit what proved to be a big 3-pointer with 3:09 remaining to jumpstart the Warhawk comeback and get ULM back to within 10. He would continue to come up big for ULM the rest of the way in the victory.
The Warhawks will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Cookeville, Tenn., to start a five-game road trip against Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m.