Mavs Play Solid Defense for 40:00 to Defeat #12 St. Mary’s by 14

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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

Game story at UTA Athletics

Game story at St. Mary’s Athletics

 

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Mavs Now 7-2, Beat UTEP (6-2) By 14

The Mavs added another big win with a 76-62 road victory vs. a 6-1 UTEP team, ending a 12-game home winning streak for the Miners dating back to last season. I guess the UTA legend is growing…even the game story headline on the UTEP website talks about the Mavs: “Texas Arlington Posts Another Road Victory AT UTEP”. The El Paso Times game story is a must-read for any Maverick fan.

I’m proud of what our guys did. They stuck together. They did so many things well. I thought UTEP came out and did a great job on the boards. Rebounding was our weakness. It seems like Coach Floyd really had them rebounding well. We had [three] offensive rebounds in the first half, but our guys kept battling and they hit some key shots.
UTA Coach Scott Cross

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So Many Ways to Score

UTAfireworks20131115_214857Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015, where the Mavs have won 5 in a row, are now 2-0 in conference and 8-4 overall. And with 5 of the first 7 conference games being played at College Park Center, the Mavs have a chance to add a few more wins to that total by the time we get about halfway through conference play.

A big key has been getting off to fast starts in front of the home crowd, then holding on in the second half. But the best part might be is than an offense really shooting the ball well from outside (the Mavs lead the conference in 3 pt. percentage at .374) is also scoring lots of points in the paint too.
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Mavs Win with Defense, Now 2-3 in Conference

Coach Cross, in a video interview at utamavs.com, seemed happy with the team’s defense. Holding a team under 40% FG usually leads to wins, and the Mavs (7-10, 2-3) went on the road to a familiar foe coached by a familiar coach (he was 216-141 at S. F. Austin) and got a desperately needed win.
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