UTA 68, Buffalo 74
Home-opener jitters? Just a so-so shooting night? Maybe a little of both?
The Mavs (1-1) started off slow and had a tough time getting the offense flowing. A few missed shots, some turnovers…not unusual for an early season game for any college team.
The Bulls (2-1), who led Kentucky by 5 at halftime Sunday afternoon, have a tall team and some good shooters. Getting hot from outside in the second half, the Bulls made 6-11 from outside in the final 20:00 after making only 2-12 in the first half. With the threes falling for Buffalo, the Mavs couldn’t quite make a sustained run to overcome a 31-35 halftime deficit.
A few stats from the box score that stand out:
Free throws: 31 attempts for Buffalo, only 15 attempts for UTA. Buffalo shot 77.4% from the line (including 13-14 in the first half), but UTA only made 7 of their 15 for 46.7%. If the Mavs make 10 more attempts (25 for the game–closer to what Buffalo had) and make even half of those, there’s 5 points right there and the game is a one possession contest and the game is within reach.
With the Mavs having trouble getting inside via drives or passing the ball into the paint for a layup or short jumper, UTA attempted 31 threes, making only 9. An extremely rare tough shooting night for guards Drew Charles (1-6 from outside) and Jamel Outler (0-6)…just one more three from each of them and it’s a one possession contest and the game is within reach.
UTA was outrebounded 44-38, so again…another offensive rebound or putback or two and it’s a one-possession contest and the game is within reach.
Overall, UTA came up short and lost, but the supportive crowd of 1544 was treated to a few highlight-worthy plays. Anthony Walker had a nice dunk, and Brandon Williams had two blocks and two major back-to-back dunks off rebounds with about 13:00 left in the second half to get UTA back within 5 after being down by 9 a few minutes earlier. Fans also got to see the home debut of Lincoln High School’s Erick Neal, who had a nice shooting night in his first game at College Park Center: 5-12 (5-11 from outside), 3 rebounds, 3 assists and only 1 turnover in 21 minutes on the court. His outside jumper looks quick and effortless, and his court vision/passing is going to create a LOT of good shot opportunities for the offense this year. The Mavs are definitely athletic, and should be ready to contend for a Sun Belt title by the time conference play starts.
Game story at UTAMavs.com:
Game story at UBBulls.com:
Up next: at Grand Canyon thursday.