UTA 68, Oklahoma State 75
||32||43||75||45.8%||7-25 (28%)||14-27 (54%)|
|UT Arlington||27||41||68||38%||5-26 (46.7%)||9-18 (50%)|
College basketball is back!
UTA’s star junior college transfer guard Shahada Wells had spectacular 21-point, 5-steal game, taking much of the spotlight from Associated Press preseason All-American (and likely future NBA first round draft pick) Cade Cunningham’s college debut in a nationally televised contest at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
Cunningham, a 6-8, 220 lb. freshman from Arlington, was indeed impressive, with a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. It will be fun to watch his game develop at the collegiate level.
Equally as impressive though, was UT Arlington’s Shahada Wells. A prolific scorer at Tyler Junior College with numerous 30+ point scoring games last year, Wells set the tone for the 2020-2021 Mavs offense early, turning a couple of OSU turnovers into a highlight-reel dunk or two early in the game. He finished the game with 5 steals, 21 points and 6 rebounds. The Mavs ran a very uptempo offense and got the ball into the paint often, while Mavericks defense did a great job of keeping OSU out of the paint for much of the 30:00 or so of the game, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a lot of mid and long-range jumpers.
UTA lead for much of the first half, but went into halftime down by 5. A couple of Maverick scoring lulls allowed the Cowboys to gain momentum after intermission, but UTA went on an impressive run to erase an 11-point OSU lead by the middle of the second half and put the Mavs up by 2. Unfortunately, the Cowboys were eventually able to get it inside consistently to their post players for easier shots and free throws late. UTA found itself down by only 4 with a minute or two remaining, but missed a couple of threes on their final couple of possessions and was unable to pull off the upset.
I think a lot of Big 12 and non-conference opponents are going to have a very difficult time matching up with OSU’s size and athletic ability (Cunningham at 6-8, 220, Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe at 6-7, 215, Keylan Boone at 6-8, and Isaac Likekele at 6’5, 215). Is OSU a sweet sixteen team? It’s a definite possibility.
As mentioned earlier, Wells was the leading UTA scorer with 21, David Azore had a nice game, going 6-10 for 10 points including a huge 3 during a UTA run in the second half, Nicolas Elame was impressive with several nice mid-range buckets and drives into the paint (12 points, 8 rebounds) and Fredelin De La Cruz was a major presence in the paint, with 8 points on 4-8 shooting and 6 rebounds.
The Mavs’ swarming defense forced 18 OSU turnovers, which UTA was able to convert into 29 points (13 fast break points). The Mavs scored 26 points in the paint, an impressive feat against a team with OSU’s size. UTA’s outside shooting was lackluster at 5-26 in a game where another couple of threes and or couple of free throws (9-18 tonight) would have been huge.
Overall, this was a strong season opener against one of the better teams in the Big 12. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this team after 40:00 of play in 2020-2021. The Mavs have plenty of scoring potential, a lot of size and played some really good defense at times. This could be a really fun season.
- FG: OSU 45.8%, UTA 38%
- Rebounds: OSU 54, UTA 33
- UTA Forced 18 OSU turnovers while committing only 5
- UTA: 29 points off turnovers
- UTA: 26 points in the paint
- Both teams warmed up in the final 20:00 – OSU Shot 56% in the 2nd half. UTA 46%
- UTA 5-26 from outside, OSU 7-25
Friday and Saturday at Lousiana Tech, vs. Northwestern State at Louisiana Tech