The UT Arlington Mavericks (2-1) looked like they were going to put the game out of reach early against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-1) Friday night at College Park Center, driving to the paint, hitting outside shots and crashing the boards. They ran the fast break to perfection. UTA lead by 9 at halftime 39-30 in what appeared to be 10-15 point victory in the making. UTA’s junior point guard Brian Warren was hot from outside and had 19 in the first half (26 on the night).
However, the Mavs had a tough time stopping the Islanders in the paint, and were never able to put the game away. The Mavs had good energy for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, making shots and getting stops defensively but didn’t seem to finish the first half particularly strong and it sorta of carried through the second half.
6’5″ sophomore forward Patrick Mwamba, whose game has the same electricity that Erick Neal did in recent years, left the game with an injury about halfway through the first half and did not return.
The Islanders tied the game at 39 two minutes into the second half, with the Mavs having no answer for 6’10, 260 lb. center Tony Lewis who scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half. Guard Miles Smith lead the Islanders with 21 points.The Mavs shot 24% in the second half and the Islanders lead by 6 with about a minute left. Some fouls, some free throws, a couple of stops by A&M Corpus Christi and the game was over with the Islanders earning a 73-67 win.
The Mavs are not a tall team, and are going to have size matchup problems at times this season. I’m sure they’ll get better at defending big centers as the season goes on, but it didn’t happen tonight.
The Islanders’ next game is Saturday Nov. 17 vs. UC-Davis at College Park Center. The Mavs play UC-Davis Sunday at 12:00.
I wasn’t sure about the scheduling this weekend, I had just assumed it was a convenient way for the three schools to each play two games at one venue and maybe save on travel expenses for the two other schools coming to Arlington. I was wrong. The UTA Athletics website explains: the game was part of a multiple-team event (MTE) called the Hardwood Showcase, and features UTA, Indiana, Arkansas, Montana State, UC Davis and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Each team will play – or already has played – four others from the group of six this month. Next week, UTA will head to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers before traveling to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks.