On Feb. 11 of last year Texas State visited a brand-new College Park Center, shot 29%FG and lost 73-53. A year later (ok…almost, it’s the 7th of February) the Bobcats visit Arlington again, shoot 22% and lose 75-50. So my prediction of UTA 71, Texas State 58 wasn’t that far off.
The UTA defense was strong tonight, not giving TSU many open looks and forcing a lot of turnovers. The Mavs contested everything the Bobcats hoisted up and for a team that likes to play fast, TSU was deep into the shot clock (:05-:10 left) before getting anything to hit the rim on a lot of their possessions.
UTA didn’t handle the ball great (TO: 23TSU, 22UTA) but many of those were later in the game for UTA. I think TSU had like 12TO with about 7:00 left in the first half. But what really helped the home team was that the 3s were falling for UTA tonight, 9-18 from outside. TSU was held to only 3-25 (12%).
The fast-paced game that usually occurs between these two teams didn’t really take shape until the second half. UTA got hot on a 14-5 run early in the second half with several nice possessions in a row and then the fouls starting piling up for both teams (49 free throw attempts in the second half (26TSU, 23UTA) compared to 11 combined for both teams in the first half). UTA gradually pulled away and won by 25.
Dr. Spaniolo was honored before the game, which was really nice since he’s probably the most responsible for the fine arena we get to enjoy hoops in. Also making an appearance tonight was the mid-range jumpshot, which came very naturally and often in the flow of the offense for UTA. Shaq, Drew and a few others knocking down several quick contested jumpers 10-18 feet out, a shot that’s had trouble falling this year at times.
Seems like this team is starting to gel and finding its offense again, and if we can get hot the final month of the season, could be interesting to see how the WAC tournament goes…
Overall, a good night for the Mavs. Next up: UTSA saturday.