Every team has a couple of those nights a season when the ball just won’t go in, silly fouls start to add up, the other team makes some threes and most of the game you’re trying come back from a big deficit. We saw several of those games last year and the first half against Cleveland State tonight was very reminiscent of 2012-2013.
Hard to imagine the Mavs shooting 32%FG, 21% 3pt very often this year, but that’s happened tonight in front of the fifth largest basketball crowd in school history (4,824). As much as the crowd was into it, Cleveland State still shot 50% FG, 45% 3pt and it seemed like any time UTA started a little run, CSU would make another three and keep the lead at 12-18 most of the game.
Late in the second half UTA closed the lead from 18 to 6 to get CPC totally rocking but that was followed by an easy dunk by CSU and more or less that was pretty much the last chance for UTA to make a comeback.
Overall, it seemed like CSU had some big, strong forwards that passed the ball extremely well, and most of their players made open shots. Some shots were contested, some not so much. CSU seemed to easily pass around our press and worked the ball inside or outside almost at will. CSU found open shots along the baseline with ease most of the night…several times Lagerson had to come out of the paint to cover an open shooter in the corner, leaving only Brandon Edwards or a smaller guard alone to rebound or defend an easy shot in the paint for CSU. 3 out of 4 teams so far that have shot the ball well beyond the arc (>.400): (.500, .435, .361, .438) against us (CSU was 7-14 from outside in the first half).
The homecoming atmosphere was festive and the crowd noise was really impressive tonight, once again CPC proving to be an amazing venue for basketball. It seemed like at the end we were just one or two possessions away from really turning the momentum around and taking a lead, but CSU withstood our rally. One bright spot seemed to be the play of our freshman forward Jorge Bilbao. He seemed to be pretty tough on the boards, getting 4 rebounds, two points and a block in ten minutes on the floor. Lonnie McClanahan and Dowell had several nice drives to the basket, but overall just one of those nights where a big deficit early is just too much to overcome.
Next up: Kentucky tuesday