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Jerrells uses frequent trips to line to stymie Texas Arlington

Dec 21, 2008 - 8:06 AM WACO, Texas (Ticker) -- Curtis Jerrells' ability to get to the free-throw line saved Baylor from a dubious first.

Jerrells converted five of six free throws in the closing 67 seconds as No. 24 Baylor squeaked out a 79-76 victory over Texas Arlington on Saturday.

The senior guard finished 16-of-17 from the stripe en route to 29 points as the Bears (9-1) avoided becoming the first ranked team to lose to the Mavericks in 16 games.

"When (Jerrells) is going like that, you have to give him the ball," Baylor guard Tweety Carter said. "(He went) 16-for-17 from the free throw line. ... He made shots and attacked the rim."

Texas Arlington (4-5) held a 41-32 lead at the intermission after closing out the first half with a 12-2 run. Brandon Long had five of his nine points during the burst.

"We have to be more prepared, especially in the first half," Jerrells said. "All of the teams that come in here are going to give us their best effort. It was good that they got on us, and it showed us that we could comeback and play in the second half."

The Mavericks also had a 61-52 advantage with 10:39 remaining after Anthony Vereen sank a 3-pointer. However, the Bears responded with an 18-4 run behind nine points from Jerrells, pulling ahead 70-65 with 5:01 left.

Yet, Texas Arlington regained the lead, going ahead 76-74 on a jumper by Tommy Moffitt with 1:11 left.

Jerrells then got the stripe on Baylor's next possession, sinking both. He then grabbed a steal from Roge'r Guignard and was fouled again, converting two more foul shots to break a 76-76 tie.

Long missed a 3-pointer for the Mavericks, and Jerrells was fouled yet again, making one free throw for the three-point edge.

"In the second half, our leadership really paid off," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "I thought (our team) did a great job responding."

Texas Arlington had one final look, but Vereen, who finished with 28 points, was off the mark.

"It was a hard-fought game and the guys played really, really hard," Texas-Arlington coach Scott Cross said. "It was one of our better played games as a team. We executed very well offensively and played very solid defense.

"We have had one too many moral victories this year."