The Mavs (now 9-6 overall, 3-2 conference) came into the game having lost two in a row, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (now 6-8, 1-4) with a three game losing streak. After the UL-M heartbreaker that saw the Mavs get out to a big lead and lose in overtime thursday night, a win tonight was very much needed. And they got it in a dominating performance from start to finish on both ends of the floor.
As we’ve seen several times this season, the Mavs looked sharp early and prevented the opponent from establishing much of an offensive rhythm. Tonight the Mavs raced out a 21-point 30-9 lead, and 39-19 at halftime.
And unlike the game against UL-M where the Mavs scored most of their points in the paint, tonight the threes were falling early. Greg Gainey hit back-to-back threes to start the game, putting the Mavs up 6-0 and never looked back. The second half was just as crisp offensively with good ball distribution, finding open jump shots and attacking the paint for layups. The Mavs would extend their 20-point halftime lead to 33 (72-39) with 4:55 left, and the final margin was 27.
Johnny Hill led Mavs scorers with 14 points (12-14 from the free throw line), Greg Gainey had 13 and McClanahan scored 12. Kevin Hervey scored 11 (4-8 shooting, 3-7 from outside). The Mavs shot 79% from the free throw line (23-29).
The defense was solid all night, with every pass pressured and anything inside heavily contested. ASU shot 31% for the game, only 22% (6-27) from outside. UTA outrebounded ASU 41-32.
We know the Mavs have played some excellent basketball at times this season, especially early in games. So, based on a quick glance at this season’s box scores, here’s some quick numbers to enjoy:
Great Starts and Big Leads
|Opponent||Early Margin||Biggest Lead||Final Margin|
|at Bradley||Up 14 (32-18, 5:36 left in first half)||22||11 (W 86-75)|
|Houston Baptist||Up 23 (33-10, 8:49 left in first half)||24||18 (W 87-69)|
|Howard Payne||Up 18 (30-12, 7:52 left in the first half)||42||39 (W 89-50)|
|Georgia Southern||Up 13 (15-2, 15:22 left in the first half)||14||1 (W 62-61)|
|South Alabama||Up 14 (19-5, 13:22 left in the first half)||24||12 (W 99-87)|
|LA-Monroe||Up 11 (22-11, 6:52 left in the first half)||13||-3 (L 73-76 OT)|
|Arkansas State||Up 21 (30-9, 7:59 left in the first half)||33||27 (W 77-50)|