The potent UTPB offense, which came into the night averaging just a bit under 70 points per game, found the going tough against the War Hawks' defense. However, the first 10 minutes of the game gave the impression that the flow of the contest might go in a complete opposite direction.
McMurry failed to make a field goal until the 10:08 mark of the half when M.J. Vickers canned a short jumper that stemmed a 15-2 run by UTPB to open the game. The Falcons' lead remained between four to eight points before UTPB carried a 26-18 cushion into halftime.
In the second stanza, McM got off the deck and began to methodically chip away at UTPB's margin, riding the red-hot shooting of freshman Claire Bruffey in the period. Bruffey scored all 13 of her points in the second half of play and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc (finishing the night 5-6 shooting overall).
With just 3:35 left and down by eight (47-39), McMurry made one last assault on the Falcons. Rikeita Thomas' layup was followed by a jumper from Jaryn Koenig. With 2:32 left, Thomas knifed through the UTPB defense for another layup to make it 47-45. That was followed by another Thomas bucket at 2:10 that tied the game for the first - and only - time of the night, 47-47.
UTPB and Heartland Conference scoring leader Teisha King scored six of her game-leading 24 points down the stretch as McMurry's rally fell short.
Keshia Collins joined Bruffey in double figures with 12 points. Collins was 6-of-10 from the free throw line. She was also limited to just one rebound.
Vickers booked eight points and tied with teammate Jamie Wilson for the team's top rebounding total, with seven boards.
Thomas finished the game with six points and had three assists. Koenig added five points and Tory Salazar four.
After the dismal shooting display to open the game - hitting 27 percent (6-22) - McMurry netted 56 percent (14-25) in the second half, finishing at 46 percent for the afternoon.
UTPB held a 26-16 advantage on points in the paint and 16-5 in second-chance points. The War Hawks' bench out-scored UTPB, 22-17.
McMurry will next be in action on Saturday, February 2 (2 p.m.) at home versus St. Edward's University.