UT Arlington (2-0) 73, Tulsa (1-1) 59
The Mavs have had some nice wins over the last few years. Victories at Texas, at Ohio State, Memphis, at St. Mary’s, a couple of big post-season victories in the NIT, some good Sun Belt Conference wins and the blowout wins two years in a row against a good BYU team come to mind. I’d argue that tonight’s convincing win over a tall, talented Tulsa team at College Park Center could be added to that list.
The Mavs played well on both ends of the floor and never trailed. After making 15 threes in their first game against UT Dallas, 9 made threes tonight combined with an active defense that challenged Tulsa shooters, forced turnovers, blocked shots and dominated the glass for much of the game to help UTA earn a blowout win in front a big Homecoming night crowd of 3,722 against an American Athletic Conference opponent that won 18 games last year. Tulsa defeated Houston Baptist 80-72 at Tulsa in their first game of the season earlier this week.
The Mavs hit a couple of threes to jump out to quick 10 point lead at 12-2 in the first 5 minutes. Tulsa quickly answered to tie it at 12 but a 9-0 Mav run made it 21-12 UTA and the Mavericks never looked back. UTA continued to shoot a lot of threes and get fast-break points off Tulsa turnovers to lead by 10 at halftime. The Mavs held Tulsa to just 25% shooting in the first half (including just 3-14 from outside), while the Mavs finished the half with 32% shooting.
Both teams came out of the locker room and shot better in the second half, TU 36% and UTA a sizzling 48% to build the 10 point lead to as much as 22 with about 7 minutes remaining. The second half was basically UTA scoring three points at time, with Tulsa mostly scoring two points at a time on layups and short jumpers around the paint. Tulsa has several talented tall forwards that can gain position inside and score around the paint, but it was about halfway through the second half before they were able to really get their inside game going with any consistency. Tulsa never led, and the Mavs spent most of the second half with a 16-22 point lead, and even though the deficit was 14…it never really seemed that close.
Longtime fans may remember how good Boise State looked in the second half at College Park Center and their 15+ point lead for the final part of the game (game never in doubt after halftime). UTA had a very similar performance tonight against Tulsa.
The Mavs finished 9-34 from outside. UTA did a great job on the boards and were able to drive to the paint and find openings for short jumpers in the second half, which also helped build the big lead.
Jabari Narcis was dominant for the second game in row with 16 points on 4-9 shooting (4-7 from 3) and 10 rebounds. He also had 3 blocks. It’ll be interesting to see how opposing coaches try to defend Narcis this season, a 6’9″, 240 lb. center that can score easily in the paint but also make threes with a high percentage. Brian Warren scored 15 on 4-10 shooting. David Azore scored 12 points on 4-11 shooting and lead the team with 6 assists. Patrick Mwamba had a spectacular blocked shot about halfway through the second half.
Some quick overall impressions from the game:
- The Mavs got to play a quality opponent at home, played well and earned a big win
- Big stat: UTA got to the free throw line 17 times, making 16 attempts (94%)
- Another big stat: UTA had 16 assists (Tulsa had 9)…ball movement was very good again tonight with great passes leading to open shots
- UTA: 4 steals, Tulsa 1
- The Mavs took good care of the ball, committing only 9 turnovers while scoring 11 points off 10 Tulsa turnovers
- Great homecoming atmosphere with a crowd of 3700+ including a packed student section
Tough road games vs. Nevada, Oregon and Gonzaga before a home game against Arkansas Tech November 24 at College Park Center.