Azore’s 25 Leads Mavs to Win

UT Arlington (6-11, 2-4) 66, Appalachian State (9-8, 3-3) 56

What a difference 72 hours makes.

After a lackluster game Monday night–a 66-54 loss to South Alabama–the Mavericks played well enough tonight to beat a good Appalachian State team. It was no masterpiece by any stretch, but it was an energetic, much-needed win on the College Park Center floor and hopefully a strong effort the team can build on.

UTA, who has struggled to make threes at times this year and had to shoot a lot of them against South Alabama’s zone defense Monday, was much better in the first half tonight. UTA made 3 of their first 4 threes, and 6 of 15 in the first half. The Mavericks defended the perimeter well, holding Appalachian State to just 1-8 from outside for the first 20:00 to take a 12-point lead at 33-21 with 2:29 left in the first half, and lead by 8 (33-25) at halftime.

Neither team would shoot well from outside in the second half with UTA going 1-8 and Appalachian State going 1-8 from three point range in the final 20:00.

Appalachian State made a late run with a couple of minutes left in the second half, getting to within 3 at 55-52 with 3:49 left. David Azore and Brian Warren would score the final 11 points for the Mavericks as UTA earned its second conference win.UTA-App-State-2

David Azore was spectacular again tonight, scoring 25 points on 9-14 shooting, including 4-7 threes and 3-5 free throws. He also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. It’s still early in conference play, but he has to be a leading early candidate for Sun Belt Player of the Year. The best part is that for as many points as he scores, it’s all in the natural flow of the offense and many are tough, tightly contested baskets. Whether it’s short range, long range, driving to the paint…he simply doesn’t take many bad shots. It’s been a lot of fun watching his offensive game develop.

Radshad Davis was also huge, playing 26 minutes and scoring 13 points on 5-8 shooting with 8 rebounds and 2 steals. He made a big impact on tonight’s game on both ends of the floor.

Coleman Sparling, who has battled some injuries and then the flu this season, played 11 minutes tonight after missing the last couple of games. It was good to see him back. His size, defensive skill and rebounding really helps the Mavs defend around paint, especially when Jabari Narcis is out of the game.

The Mavs did a good job on the boards, getting as many rebounds as the Mountaineers, who have a very tall team. Both teams finished with 34.

1 2 Final FG 3PT FT
Appalachian State
25 31 56 44% 2-16 (12.50%) 10-17 (58.8%)
UT Arlington 33 33 66 40% 7-23 (30.4%) 15-21 (71.4%)

Key stats:

  • UTA scored 20 points off 13 Appalachian State turnovers. Turnovers, especially in the second half, really seemed to hurt Appalachian State tonight
  • UTA took good care of the ball, committing only 10 turnovers
  • Despite shooting 44% for the game, Appalachian State was just 2-16 from outside and made 10 of 17 free throws. If the Mountaineers make 2 or 3 more threes and another free throw or two, and it’s a much closer game.
  • UTA defended the paint much better tonight, allowing only 26 points. With the threes not falling for the Mountaineers, it seemed like many of Appalachian State’s baskets were short-to-mid range jumpers. They didn’t consistently try to attack the paint much. UTA scored 22 of its 66 points in the paint.

Read more:

Up next:

The Mavs play at home Saturday vs. Coastal Carolina, who is 3-3 in conference play.

Conference standings:

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

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