UT Arlington (3-3) 85, Arkansas Tech (3-2, 1-1 GAC) 68
After a hard-fought 6-point loss at #8 Gonzaga on Tuesday, the Mavs looked to have a little bit of an easier opponent today (Sunday) at College Park Center as the UT Arlington men’s basketball team hosted the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, an NCAA Division II school that plays in the Great American Conference.
Their roster lists 6 Division I transfers, and their quickness and ability to make a lot of threes made this a close game for the first 30 minutes or so. The Wonder Boys showed no signs of fatigue, even considering they played a game against Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Arkansas on Saturday that started 22 hours before today’s 1:00 PM tip-off in Arlington.
The first 20 minutes were fast paced, with both teams shooting well and UTA jumping out to a quick 15-9 lead, only to see Arkansas Tech take a 16-15 after an impressive 7-0 run. Arkansas Tech cooled off a little and UTA was able to take a 43-36 lead into halftime.
The Mavericks’ 6’9″, 240 lb. senior center Jabari Narcis continued his hot shooting, making his first 3 three-point attempts along with a nice dunk and a layup. The Wonder Boys used their speed to find open shots, making six threes and finishing at 39% shooting in the first half. UTA was 19-40 for 47%, making 4 of 12 threes.
Readers of this site know that UTA has a deep roster loaded with a lot of versatile shooters, entering the game with the 20th-most 3-pointers made in the nation this year (52), and having attempted the 9th-most 3-pointers (163). Threes have been key to the Mavs’ three wins and nearly pulling off two big upsets on the west coast. But the second half of today’s game saw UTA focus more on getting the ball inside on driving layup attempts and some nice interior passing on pick-and-rolls and backdoor cuts, shooting only 7 threes (making 3) in the final 20:00 and getting to the free throw line 10 times (making 9). 42 of UTA’s 85 points came in the paint today.
UTA came out hot in the opening minutes of the final 20:00, building a 14-point lead before seeing the Wonder Boys quickly get the game back to within 5 just a few minutes later. Another UTA run finally put the game out of reach and the final deficit was 17.
Jabari Narcis had another incredible game, scoring 23 points on 8-12 shooting, including 5-8 from outside and making 2-3 free throw attempts. He also had 11 rebounds and an assist. Brian Warren had a double-double, scoring 15 and making 12 assists while turning the ball over only once in 27 minutes. David Azore had another big game, scoring 16 points on a very efficient 4-5 shooting, making his only three point attempt and making 7 of 8 free throws.
Arkansas Tech’s Dillon Gooding (transfer from Texas State) scored 19 (including 2-4 from outside) and Devonte Foster (transfer from Troy) scored 17 (3-7 from outside).
Overall, a good game against a talented Division 2 school this afternoon at home. The team seems to get better each game defensively, and the offense seems to really be flowing right now. The Mavs can light up the scoreboard in a lot of different ways.
UTA has some tough but winnable games in a busy next 8 days or so, playing two Battle4Atlantis tournament games at Elon this week, and then the always much-awaited annual game against North Texas. The Mavs play the Furman Paladins on Wednesday at 7 PM, and then play a noon game against the Elon Phoenix on Thursday. The Paladins are 5-1 with wins over Gardner-Webb, Loyola-Chicago, Charleston Southern and Southern Wesleyan. Their only loss was a close 81-73 defeat at Alabama. The Phoenix have played an incredibly tough schedule, with losses to Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina and Manhattan. Their two wins against are Mars Hill and Milligan.
KenPom.com rankings for the three teams: Furman 76, UTA 129, Elon 322.
Metroplex rival North Texas (2-4) is ranked 184 by KenPom.com and will visit College Park Center a week from Monday on December 2. Playing a very tough schedule away from Denton, the Mean Green lost by 3 at #25 VCU, and have also lost to Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, Rhode Island and #15 Utah State. The Mean Green are victorious against Oklahoma Christian and North Carolina A&T, with both games being played at the Super Pit.
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