UTA Drops to 1-4 in Conference

UT Arlington (5-11) 54, South Alabama (9-7) 66

Not the most fun basketball game to watch tonight.

The Mavericks’ offense scored a ton of points over the weekend, splitting a pair of games with a blowout win at Arkansas State and losing at Arkansas Little Rock. But tonight, the visiting Jaguars seemed focused on slowing the game down, taking the generally uptempo Mavericks offense out of their rhythm.

South Alabama pressured the UTA guards bringing the ball up the floor and then used a 2-3 zone that the Mavs simply couldn’t find a way to break through. The Mavs spent a lot of time and energy passing the ball around the perimeter, trying to find openings in the defense to drive to the paint but USA did a good job of rotating, closing up driving lanes all night long.

The classic approach to beating a good zone defense is to shoot over it, and with the Mavs missing most of their shots from outside tonight (2-16 first half, (12.5%), 4-17 in the second half (23.53%)), it would take a spectacular defensive effort to win.

That didn’t happen either, unfortunately.

The Jaguars overcame a tough outside shooting night (1-8 (12.5%) first half, 1-6 (16.67% in the second half)) by shooting an impressive 53.1% overall. The Jaguars were patient on offense, moving the ball around, using up most of the shot clock on many of their possessions and finding very high-percentage shots along the baseline. In a continuations of what the two Arkansas teams did, South Alabama didn’t seem to so much drive to the paint as much as they made textbook passes to within 3-6 feet along the baseline, and let the shooter either back the defender down or make short jumpers around 5 feet or less.

The Mavs were also outrebounded 38-29–giving the Jaguars nine more possessions to score. I’m not sure why the Mavs are giving up so many points in the paint (tonight USA had 34, compared to the Mavs’ 14) but hopefully they can find a way to improve the interior defense or it could be a long season.

1 2 Final FG 3PT FT
South Alabama 33 33 66 53.1% 2-14 (14.3%) 12-17 (70.6%)
UT Arlington 22 32 54 33.9% 6-33 (18.2%) 8-12 (66.7%)

A few tweets during the game describe it pretty well:

After being down 11 at halftime, the Mavs would get as close as 4 points at 43-39 and 5 points (54-49) in the second half.

Key stats:

  • USA 7 points off 8 UTA turnovers, UTA just 6 points off 14 USA turnovers
  • USA 34 points in the paint, UTA 14
  • UTA was outrebounded 38-29
  • Both teams combined for 8-47 3-point shooting (17%)

Texas State lost at home to Troy tonight 71-63, giving them a 1-4 record as well.

Up next:

The Mavs play at home Thursday (vs. Appalachian State) and Saturday (vs. Coastal Carolina).

Conference standings:

Little Rock 5-0
App State 3-2
Georgia State 3-2
Coastal Carolina 3-2
Georgia Southern 3-2
Arkansas State 3-2
South Alabama 2-3
LA-Lafayette 2-3
LA-Monroe 2-3
Texas State 1-4
UTA 1-4

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