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Rodrick Epps had a career-high 15 points in his first collegiate start Saturday.
Rodrick Epps had a career-high 15 points in his first collegiate start Saturday.

Jan. 15, 2005

Box Score

LAKE CHARLES, La. - It is hard to paint a pretty picture with the filling from a season-high 29 turnovers left on your fingers, but the UTA Mavericks will frame this one nevertheless.

UTA made just enough plays in the second half to overcome the miscues for an 84-75 win over McNeese State at Burton Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

UTA (7-7, 2-2) was led by junior forward Steven Thomas' 26 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman guard Rodrick Epps scored a career-high 15 points in his first collegiate start. Jarrett Howell chipped in 12 points and Stephen Floyd added 11.

McNeese State (7-8, 2-2) was led in scoring by Edward Garriet with 17 points, 13 from J.T. Williams and 10 from Aldrynn Wardell, all in the second half.

"We started making the extra pass in the second half and I thought our offense had more motion than the past few games," said head coach Eddie McCarter. "Turnovers are a sign of immaturity. A year from now we won't be making those turnovers with these guys.

"I thought Epps did a good job in his first start. He made some good decisions and I thought he settled down in the second half."

UTA used a 25-12 run in the second half to pull away for the win. During the decisive run the Mavs used six three-pointers - three by Epps, two from Brady Dawkins and another from Stephen Floyd to take a 75-60 lead after a lay up by Floyd with 2:06 to play.

UTA used a 6-0 run to end the first half for a 31-29 lead at intermission despite 21 turnovers in the opening half.

The Mavs fell behind early, 12-6, but scored five straight to make it 12-11 after an Epps free throw to complete a three-point play with 12:05 left in the first half. Neither team led by more than six points in the first half.



NOTES: UTA started a different lineup for the third straight game as freshman guard Rodrick Epps made his first college start against McNeese State... UTA improves to 3-5 away from Texas Hall... Head coach Eddie McCarter needs one win to move into second place on the Southland Conference wins list.... Thomas recorded his sixth double-double of the season and inched closer to the top 25 in career scoring with 811 career points. He needs just 73 points to break into the top 25 all-time at UTA... The 83 points is the most since a 95-81 win over Texas-Tyler on Dec. 22.


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