UT Arlington (13-15, 9-8) 70, Georgia State (18-10, 11-6) 62
Tonight’s game is why college basketball is so much fun…all the heartbreaking losses, the amazing comebacks, upset wins, the incredible individual scoring nights, seeing coaches and players reach various milestones, teams clinching titles or winning games to get a good playoff seed, etc.
This was easily one of the most impressive comeback wins I’ve seen in person in my 30+ years of watching Mavericks basketball at Texas Hall and College Park Center. What a defensive performance by the Mavs in the second half!
A strong second half defensive effort slowed down a good-shooting Georgia State team tonight at College Park Center. Unlike the last two teams that visited our gym, Georgia State did not feature an overly tall lineup. Their gameplan seemed to be looking for gaps in the UTA zone defense for mid-range jumpers, create off the dribble for mid-range jumpers, attack along the baseline if the opening was there, or swing it out to the corners for three point attempts. Their speed forced the Mavs to really work to cover the Panthers’ shooters, but as we’ve seen in the last couple of games, UTA is playing a very effective defense without a lot of fouls. On the other hand, if the Mavs’ outside shot isn’t falling (not a strength of this year’s team), the offense is finding ways to attack the basket and get to the free throw line (a big strength of the Mavs).
How the game went in 6 bullet points:
- Cold shooting night early, down by 16 with 6:35 (31-15) left in first half, GSU making 5 of first 8 threes
- Started ball inside to storm back to get lead down to 5 at halftime without making a three
- Allowed visiting team to go on a 9-0 run to open up a quick 14-point deficit with about 17 minutes left
- Played the best defensive 15 minutes of the season, continued to pound ball inside and get to the free throw line, and also made a couple of threes
- Enjoyed watching Nicolas Elame’s game develop the last few contest with his incredible athleticism and nice touch on jumpers from 10 feet out
- Win third game in a row and beat another top-2 team in the conference
Admittedly, this looked like a long night at the College Park Center early on with Georgia State building a big first-half lead and UTA shots just not falling at first, but the Mavs’ defense really got locked in over the final 15 minutes or so, getting stops and rebounds on many possessions to make the comback and win by 8. Sam Griffin came up huge again with a nice midrange jumper and a three as UTA was in the process of taking the lead after being down by as many as 16 tonight.
I didn’t realize this, but UTA’s game story noted that UTA won for the first time this year when trailing at halftime.
Tonight’s win has to be a huge confidence booster, beating a team we’ve lost to twice in the Sun Belt championship game and once earlier this season. Loud weeknight crowd of 1600+ was definitely into it–another playoff/tournament-like atmosphere. Hopefully there will be a big crowd on Saturday.
||35||27||62||35.3%||6-25 (24%)||8-17 (47.1%)|
|UT Arlington||30||40||70||40.3%||4-20 (20%)||16-22 (72.7%)|
A few tweets during the game describe it pretty well:
This was a key stat:
Four Mavericks finished in double-figures: Sam Griffin scored 13 points, Nicolas Elame scored 12 points on on 6-9 shooting and also had 8 rebounds, David Azore scored 11, Jabari Narcis scored 10 (including a HUGE 3 to put the Mavs up 66-62 with 1:19 left).
- Georgia State, after making 5 of 8 threes early in the game and finishing 5-13 (38.46%) in the first half, made just 1-12 threes in the second half
- Freshman Nicolas Elame scored 12 points on 6-9 shooting and also had 8 rebounds
- UTA missed all 11 threes in the first half, but went 4-9 in the second half
- UTA was outrebounded 49-41
- UTA forced 16 Georgia State turnovers and converted those into 12 points
- UTA committed only 10 turnovers, leading to 4 points for the Panthers
- UTA free throw shooting: 16-22 (72.7%), Georgia State 8-17 (47.1%)
The Mavs play at home Saturday vs. Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers lost by 15 at Texas State tonight and then a nationally televised game against Texas State on ESPN 2 next Friday night.
Little Rock 12-4
Georgia State 11-6
Texas State 11-6
Georgia Southern 10-7
South Alabama 10-7
App State 9-8
Arkansas State 7-10
Coastal Carolina 7-10
Would not make tournament as of today:
Tournament seeding watch:
With 9 wins, UTA has secured a spot in the conference tournament (Troy could finish 8-12, but UTA already has 9 wins this season).
The top 10 teams compete in the tournament. Saturday, March 7 (at campus sites) Game 1 – No. 9 Seed at No. 8 Seed Game 2 – No. 10 Seed at No. 7 Seed
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