Tied for First! UTA 74, Coastal Carolina 54

Award_ribbon_blue_1stHuge win tonight over a very good Coastal Carolina basketball team. A few weeks ago, the Mavericks went to Myrtle Beach and won a game with a three with one second remaining.

Tonight, the Mavericks got up by 12 at halftime and never looked back. UTA used a variety of defenses and dominated the glass to hold CCU to 22.6 percent (14-62) shooting. The Mavs shot 42% for the game. The victory puts UTA in a tie for first place with Texas State and Georgia State.

I was tweeting during the game and will let that tell the story…

CCU has a ton of size, but UTA dominated the glass all night, with a 34-22 edge on the boards. Andres Ibarguen had a big night with 15 rebounds and 12 points, Edric Dennis scored 15, TiAndre Jackson-Young added 12. Brian Warren, who scored 30 Saturday in San Marcos, scored 9 and Ayoub Nouhi scored 9 points on very efficient 4-5 shooting effort.

This team seems to get better with each game, and they are winning with a very smothering defense. They gave CCU a variety of looks and were quick to fill passing lanes and prevent drives to the basket. Open looks for CCU were rare. On the offensive end, UTA continues to get to the paint–and the free throw line. UTA scored 36 in the paint, and made 16-20 free throws.

I have to wonder how many teams in our conference have as much speed off the dribble as this year’s Mavs do. Not many, if any. Seems like nearly every player has the ability to get past defenders and drive to the basket, or take a quick step or two to back the defender off and create space for an open jumper. As the team gels, the passing is creating more and more open looks too. The Mavs are not a great outside shooting team, but is having great success making layups, making great passes inside on cuts to the basket and making a high percentage of open mid-range jumpers.

Tonight’s atmosphere was incredible. The students section had a huge turnout, and it made the crowd of 1900 seem much louder.

Is Coach Ogden a strong candidate for Sun Belt coach of the year? I say yes. There are some great coaches in our conference for sure…but he’s taken a team of players that hasn’t played together much before this season and has them at 7-3 in conference with eight games remaining. Tonight was a solid effort for 40:00 on both ends of the floor. The last few weeks of Sun Belt play are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

The schedule seems to be favorable to some more wins. A lot of games against teams below us in the standings:

Standings 2-7-19.png

Next game: at home vs. Appalachian State, who lost by 3 in San Marcos tonight.

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