MBB: Arkansas State bests UTA in SBC opener
Jan. 2, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas – Arkansas State's 24-2 run in the second half proved too much for UT Arlington to overcome in the Thursday night's 82-66 setback in the Sun Belt Conference opener at College Park Center.
The Mavericks (5-8, 0-1 SBC) had won three of their previous four games to complete the nonconference schedule. UT Arlington dropped to 3-5 in conference openers under coach Scott Cross.
"Our guys lost our intensity," Cross said. "We weren't hitting shots. We can't let when we're not hitting shots dictate our intensity on the defensive end of the floor. Arkansas State was hitting everything, we weren't playing as quick and the game got out of hand."
The Mavericks and Red Wolves (8-4, 1-0) were locked in a tight battle before the game-deciding run broke it open. Cross called timeout after Arkansas State reeled off a 19-2 run to lead 54-38 with less than 12 minutes left.
The stoppage didn't work as planned. The Red Wolves would extend their advantage to 21, as UTA went scoreless for more than five minutes. A-State has won 12 straight in the series, with Thursday being the first matchup as Sun Belt foes.
A-State guard Ed Townsel scored 20 off the bench to lead the visitors. The Red Wolves outscored UT Arlington 50-34 in the second half.
Arkansas State called timeout early in the contest after the second alley-oop slam by junior Anthony Walker from senior Shaquille White-Miller gave the Mavericks an 8-3 lead. UT Arlington held as much as a seven-point advantage before A-State closed the gap.
McClanahan's reverse layup at the end of the first half rimmed out, leaving the teams tied 32-32 going into the locker room. Neither side shot well over the first 20 minutes – A-State was at 42.9 percent, while the Mavericks checked in at 32.3 percent.
Dowell and McClanahan each had eight points at the break. Senior forward Brandon Edwards had six rebounds. Townsel scored 11 for the Red Wolves.
The Mavericks continue their homestand Saturday against new Sun Belt opponent UALR. Tip is 5 p.m. and tickets are available at UTATickets.com.