The UT Arlington Mavericks appeared to be unstoppable this season, but that only lasted until the Southland Conference tournament semifinal round where the McNeese State Cowboys pulled off the upset and beat UT Arlington by 20 points, 92-72.
McNeese led from the opening tip and lit the Mavericks up for 11-of-24 three-pointers. The Cowboys shot 32-of-59 from the field on the night. Southland Conference Player of the Year Patrick Richard had a strong performance with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds.
"At the end of the year we're playing our best basketball," Richard said in the post-game press conference. "I look at the big picture. We beat two big teams to get here. Tonight, we started from the jump shooting the ball."
UT Arlington head coach Scott Cross called moments of the game "demoralizing" but said he was proud of the season the Mavericks had, which was the best in school history.
McNeese will advance to the championship game to face the Lamar Cardinals, which defeated the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in their semifinal match-up earlier in the day.
Cowboys head coach Dave Simmons wants McNeese to draw the kind of crowd that he is sure Lamar will, saying it always help the momentum of the team to have fan support.
"I think it's going to bring some excitement," Simmons said. "So ya'll pump it up, write it up and we're going to do our part. I know Lamar is going to come to play."
The Southland Conference tournament championship game will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Merrell Center in Katy, TX. For updates on the championship game, visit SB Nation Houston.