Mavs played two of the top teams in Sun Belt in nationally televised games Thursday and Saturday. I’m sure we were probably the underdog in both games, but oh so close.
In the first game of the road trip, UTA had a 15 point lead over Western Kentucky (who beat Texas State by 4 in a game featuring 22 lead changes Saturday night) but wound up losing by 5, 77-72. Then last night UTA jumps out to another large lead, making 10 threes in the first half and winds up losing by 10 in overtime.
As a fan, it’s heartbreaking to see this team play that hard against two very good teams but lose in the final minutes. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a coach or a player.
As well as the offense played for UTA, the Mavs did commit 16 turnovers vs. WKU (offensive rebounds: 8 for UTA, 16 for WKU) and 22 vs. GSU. Rarely does turning the ball over more than about 10 or 15 times result in a win. Good teams in nearly all sports usually find ways to win games they haven’t played well in, and that’s what WKU and GSU did: found ways to win even when getting behind by huge deficits.
The games kinda reminded me of a baseball game where the pitcher takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning with two outs, striking out 10, but then walks a guy who manages to steal second and third, and then gets balked in to lose 1-0. The difference between winning and losing can come down to a single free throw, a single turnover, a single rebound, etc.
Two moral victories? Perhaps. But we’re 2/3 of the way this season. Moral victories at this point won’t help our seed in the Sun Belt tournament.
The Sun Belt schedule doesn’t get any easier: UL-L at home thursday.