After watching his team give up 80 or more points three games in a row, Bradley coach Brian Wardle came to a realization nine days ago.His young group wasn’t quite ready for the pressuring, gambling defense that Wardle has tried to instill this season.It’s how Wardle built a winner at Green Bay, and it’s how he wants this program to be defined. But not yet.“Our personnel isn’t fitted quite for that (style),” he said. “It takes a lot of mental
UTA 56, Bradley 51
In Peoria, Illinois last night it was cold outside (in the 20s with a chance for wintry mix), and the shooting was similarly cold inside. I’m sure noone has used that cliche to describe a basketball game, ever.
But the UT Arlington Mavs, coming off the big win at then-#12 St. Mary’s after defeating Texas and North Texas, were victorious in a game in which both defenses played well, and a result both teams shot 33%FG with neither team seeming to find much offensive rhythm. It was their 8th win in a row and their NCAA-leading 5th road win.
UTA started out well, opening the game with a couple of Erick Neal threes to help build a 15-2 lead just seven minutes into the game and looking like this was going to be a relatively Continue reading
PEORIA — The upcoming run-up to the Missouri Valley Conference season will certainly be challenging for Bradley.Beginning Friday at home (7:05 p.m.), the Braves take on 8-3 Texas-Arlington, which is fresh from a 14-point road win at then 12th-ranked Saint Mary’s. The Mavericks, ranked No. 29 in the RPI, also won at big-brother Texas by 12. UTA was picked to win the Sun Belt Conference this season.Following for the Braves is a tough road swing to Mississippi on Monday and TCU on
Perhaps building on momentum from convincing wins over Texas and North Texas last week, the Mavs used a solid 40:00 of swarming, collapsing defense and precise execution of Coach Scott Cross’ unguardable pinball-style offensive attack to defeat #12 St. Mary’s 65-51.
It was their seventh win in a row, and their first win over a ranked team in the school’s history and adds to the argument that even if UTA doesn’t win the conference tournament, at least so far this season they’ve proven themselves worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Mavs (8-3) used a 18-3 run in first half to establish a big lead that was 13 at halftime (36-23). UTA got off to another great start for the second half (similar to UT and North Texas games) to add to the lead, up as much as 20 at 11:30 in the second half but the Gaels (7-1 with wins over Stanford and Nevada) would make a run of their own to get as close as 11 but the game never really seemed in doubt in the final 5:00 or so.
This might have been UTA’s best defensive performance in recent memory. The Mavs forced 15 turnovers, leading to 23 points. Despite good ball movement by St. Mary’s, every pass was contested. Most drives to the paint quickly defended by 2 or 3 Mavs. Threes were contested. The Mavs had more rebounds (36-30) and steals (10-4). And this effort was continuous for a full 40 minutes. And any time the Gaels made a couple of baskets and the momentum was about to change, the Mavs had an answer with a three or a quick basket or two of their own and never really let the crowd become a factor. The Gaels were held to just 31% shooting, and 8-27 from outside (30%).
On the other end of the floor, the offense was executed to near perfection, seeming to be a step ahead of the Gael defense most of the night. The Gaels have a tall, athletic team but as we’ve seen many times, UTA used crisp passing to find those better-than-good scoring opportunities for higher-percentage shots. And the 10 steals/15 turnovers lead to easy baskets as well. The Mavs had a great shooting night, going 25-51 for 49%. They also outrebounded 36-30. Kevin Hervey had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting with a three pointer and four free throws and got 7 rebounds; Erick Neal had 13 points and 8 assists; Kaelon Wilson had 10 points on 4-5 shooting.
Up next: at Bradley (4-5) next friday
UTA (7-3) 99, UT-Dallas (1-5) 49
Tonight’s game went about as one would expect: this was a nice chance to keep the offense flowing under game conditions without a lot of pressure; get everyone minutes but not too many; play a very winnable game at home before the biggest test of the season, St. Mary’s on Thursday.
St. Mary’s is ranked #12 in the country and a victory there would be another quality win to go along with the signature win at Texas along with Saturday’s demolishing of our rival North Texas.
UTA 76, UNT 61
It was my first time seeing a game in the Super Pit. We fought chilly, dreadful misty, rainy driving conditions up I-35 but once we got there, seeing a game there for the first time was a pretty enjoyable experience…a huge parking lot right across from the facility adjacent to Fouts Field, ticket booths located at the entrances inside the building, a good game-day presentation, great seat pitch where you could easily see over the row in front of you, a bright 4-sided video board over center court and no lines at the plentiful concession stands and restrooms. At $5, a general admission ticket is a bargain. The big bowl-style arena seats about 10,000, with a concourse dividing the upper and lower halves of the arena. For an arena almost 50 years old, it has aged well.
The two questions going into today:
UTA (5-3, 1-0 vs. Big 12 in 2016) 72, Texas (3-3) 610
Much will be written about this game. First time beating Texas after several close losses the last few years. Another huge win for Coach Cross. Adding to the momentum and national following the team has gained the last few years. Overcoming a cold-shooting first 8-10 minutes, chipping away at nearly double-digit lead by Texas and building off a 3-point halftime lead. A legendary show of skill by junior forward Kevin Hervey—nearly unstoppable and showing off his immense skills as he backed down Texas defenders with NBA-like post moves and seemingly scoring at will with his springy, fluid jumper and nearly automatic free throws. The no-look pass from Neal in the corner in the second half to set up an open three.