Each year, every mid-major basketball team plays tough road games against elite schools. Last year’s UTA schedule saw the Mavs go to Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Gonzaga and Texas.
This toughest part of this year’s schedule is now complete, with the Mavs playing 3 games over 8 days against Nevada, #14 Oregon and #8 Gonzaga…a daunting challenge for almost any school.
Nevada 80, UTA 73
The Nevada game was a very back-and-forth game, with the Mavs holding small leads and staying within a possession or two of the lead until the end. If another shot or two falls, or another call or two goes the Mavs’ way…UTA pulls off a big upset. The Mavs shot 34% from the field (30% from 3) while allowing Nevada to get off to a quick 10-point lead early, and allowing Nevada to shoot 46% and 47% from 3 (10-21) for the game. Four Mavs in double-figures: Radshad Davis 14, Sam Griffin 13, David Azore 12, Jabari Narcis 11.
The good news: played Nevada tough and this is a home-and-home series with the return game in Arlington next season.
Oregon 67, UTA 47
Tough shooting night for the Mavs. The game looked to be a fast-paced game early, reminiscent of recent UTA-Texas State or 1990’s UTA-Sam Houston matchups. The Mavs shot the ball very well early with David Azore and Coleman Sparling hitting a couple of threes and UTA was up 14-11 but then a couple of scoring droughts set in, and Oregon stayed hot. The Mavs shot a program-worst 23.4 percent from the floor (15-64), which made for a long night. The Mavs were outrebounded 46-36 and allowed Oregon to shoot 45% from the floor.
The good news: Arkansas transfer Jordan Phillips scored 14 and the Mavs protected the ball well, committing only 6 turnovers.
Gonzaga 72, UTA 66
The final game of the west coast part of the schedule was the best of the three. Gonzaga, one of the NCAA’s best programs year-in and year-out, beat a good Texas A&M team by 30 (79-49) Saturday night in College Station.
The Mavs fought hard for 40:00, played physical and composed and came within a couple of possessions of pulling off a huge upset. Gonzaga hit a buzzer-beater to take a 28-27 lead at halftime, and the Bulldogs outscored the Mavs 44-39 in the second half for the 72-66 victory.
Coach Ogden and staff did a great job changing up the defenses to hold one of the nation’s best offenses to just 72 points (just 28 in the first half)). On offense, the Mavs shot 39.6%. Jabari Narcis had another great shooting night, going 5-5 from three point range for 16 points, Brian Warren scored 15, and David Azore had 15 on 4-6 shooting, including 2-3 from outside and making 5 of 7 free throws. For Gonzaga, former North Texas player Ryan Woolridge scored 19, and Admon Gilder and Killian Tillie scored 15 each. Ultimately, the Bulldogs’ size, inside play (especially in the second half), and rebounding (Gonzaga outrebounded UTA 45-33) were just too much for UTA to overcome but I think the Mavs showed tonight that opposing offenses are really going have to work to score their points this year. And, this season the Mavs not only shoot the 3 well (11-26 for 42% tonight), but also have enough speed, size and strength to take the ball inside against the best teams in the country.
After this game, I think all Mav fans should be VERY optimistic about what this team is capable of the rest of the way…and cannot for the game against North Texas in two weeks at home.
Josh Sours, voice of the Mavs, sums it up nicely:
One of the best tweets of the night…wow.
The upcoming schedule offers good opportunities for wins:
Did you watch the game tonight? Have an opinion about the season so far? Discuss it on the UTA Mavericks Fan Forum!