UTA 88, University of St. Francis 67
Nothing really unexpected Monday night. Every team plays one or two of those games a year…a smaller opponent comes to your arena, the home team wins by 20 and gets to workon some things offensively, the visitors get to play the biggest opponent they’ll likely face all year.
Like I said, nothing really unexpected but still fun basketball to watch.
It was a nice confidence builder for the Mavs,
who needed one after losing three halftime leads on the road to good opponents in as many games. The final score was 88-67 but felt much closer for most of the game.
St. Francis, an NAIA team playing in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, has some really good players that could play at the mid-major level. And they played a solid game and showed poise breaking through the
Mavs press most of the night and getting some open shots but overall the Mavs were just bigger, more athletic and basically traded baskets in the second half after leading 47-27 at halftime. St. Francis is coached by former UT-Pan American coach Ryan Marks, who is now in his fourth year at USF. His record the previous three years at USF: 66-29.
Kevin Hervey (6-12 FG, 4-8 3PT, 16 points and 3 steals in 22 minutes), Nate Hawkins (5-8 FG, 2-3 3PT, 4 steals, 15 points in 19 minutes) and Link Kabadyundi (2-2 FG, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 6 points in 11 minutes) all got lots of good looks at open shots and knocked most of them down. Hervey, recovering from last year’s knee surgery, is really starting to re-find his long range shot. Hawkins showed how lightning-quick he can be attacking the basket and what a good passer he is. And the point guards got some good experience getting the ball down into the post for Kabadyundi. One memorable sequence involved him scrambling after a loose ball headed out of bounds, and crashing hard into the courtside seats. He was ok, and then on next play, a took a nice pass and flushed it for aim-rattling dunk.
Next up: Mount St. Mary’s and their pressure defense and uptempo offense visits Arlington Wednesday. The Mavs like to play fast too, so this might be a very entertaining game similar to the Texas State matchups in the past.