Learning How to Win

After the Mavs lost a close one to OU and are essentially five points from being undefeated vs. the Big 12 this year, I was looking forward to seeing how the Mavs would respond to playing a good 6-6 (now 6-7) WAC team (who lost to USC by only 4 and beat UTSA by 26 in San Antonio a few days ago) in front of a relatively small between-semesters, last-shopping-weekend-for-Christmas-shopping crowd at College Park Center.

Here’s a tweet I wrote not long after the OU game:

So, as the normally high-scoring Mavs got off to slow start (having scored 17 points with about 7:00 left in the first half) but after consecutive threes by Dowell, Edwards and Dillard (plus a dunk by Edwards) the Mavs were up 26-17 with about 3:00 left in the first half and I really thought we were cruising to a 15 point win and posted this at halftime:

As we have seen this year…this year’s Maverick team is better when they run, and Cal St. Bakersfield runs a slower, almost Denver-like offense with lots of passes and looking for open threes. Mavs got bogged down a bit the first 10 min. or so but UTA is trapping their guards and starting to create some turnovers. Dowell and Edwards have hit some threes and the Mavs are starting to up the game’s tempo a bit. Dowell has 11 and UTA is shooting 42%fg and 40% 3pt at half.

Outler makes a three vs. CSUB

Outler makes a three vs. CSUB

The Mavs cooled off in the second half and the Roadrunners got back into the game, eventually sending it into overtime. The difference today I think was Lonnie McClanahan’s ability to get to the hoop, moving faster with the ball than all his defenders without the ball. Lonnie is definitely of the fastest players I’ve ever seen for UTA. He hit several clutch shots, including several FT, a layup and a nice dunk in the final 3:00 of regulation. Without those, the Mavs probably lose this game.

Cal State University-Bakersfield didn’t try to get into the paint much and seemed to often work the shot clock down to about 10-5 seconds before attempting a shot. The Roadrunners at times seemed a little tentative confronting a pretty effective full-court press we haven’t seen the Mavs use a whole lot this season but I guess if you shoot enough threes the points do pile up and that’s what kept them in this game.

CSUB was 12-33 from outside but it seemed like a lot of those threes were often answers to UTA making a little run and trying to put the game away. CSUB had a couple of nice performances today, with Erik Kinney going 7-12 FG and 20 total points, and Brandon Barnes was 5-6 from outside in an 18-point game.

Turnovers hurt both teams this game, with CSUB having 22 (a lot of traveling calls caused by UTA defensive pressure) and UTA 19. Edwards had another incredible game with 2-2 from outside, making 7-7 free throws for 23 points and getting 11 rebounds.

UTA (5-7) won this game despite going about 10 minutes or so in the second half without a field goal (a couple of FTs kept UTA in the game) and Dowell only scoring 3 of his 15 points in the second half.

Overall, with the Mavs losing an 11-point lead (41-30 with 15:15 remaining) and having to win it in overtime, it wasn’t the prettiest win but probably gave the Mavs some valuable experience learning how to win a close game like many we’ll likely see in conference play.

Game coverage:
Star-Telegram article
The Shorthorn
UTA Athletics
CSUB Athletics
Bakersfield Californian CSUB page

Up next: Arkansas State (6-4 with a road win over Marshall today) with wins  1/2/14 at College Park Center.

 

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