ULM (7-11, 1-6 Sun Belt) 55, UT Arlington (13-8, 4-4 Sun Belt) 71
Saturday, January 20, 2018
College Park Center o Arlington, Texas
UTA Head Coach Scott Cross
Thoughts on today's win: "I was really pleased with the way we played. Previously we played three really good halves, two against Arkansas State and the first half vs Louisiana and then the second half was a disaster. So, we wanted to get back on the right track. I felt like what we're looking for is to play the right way. We played very good defense, we had some toughness and grit. We rebounded the basketball and the ball moved offensively and that's what we're looking for. We still didn't shoot the ball great, but we won the basketball game because we did those little things. Our bench gave us a huge lift, Davion "Sticks" Turner came in and knocked down the three pointers for us. Mairega Clarke came in and played well, big Link Kabadyundi came in with some toughness and rebounded and got some put backs. Those guys all did a good job and gave us a lift today. Very pleased with the performance and hopefully it's one we can build off of."
About Mairega Clarke, who's been dealing with an illness: "He's been struggling. He's been a guy I felt could help this basketball team. As you can see when we picked up the full-court press his intensity and length and athleticism was disruptive. He's also one of our better 3-point shooters, he can also drive and finish. With him it's just about getting him confidence and game reps. He did have a stomach virus when we were on the Arkansas trip and didn't get to play in the second game and we just didn't get him in vs Louisiana. So it was nice for him to get in and play some valuable minutes and he really made an impact on that basketball game."
On how this game was huge for his team to bounce back from Thursday's loss: "You never want to lose a game in a Thursday-Saturday week, but the Saturday games are the ones you definitely don't want to sit on for 5 days if you lose. So, it was nice to have a chance to redeem ourselves. Now we need to have the same focus, same concentration going into next week. We can't just sit around and feel good about ourselves. On Monday we'll get back to business and have to get better, that's the bottom line. The Sun Belt is too good. We're going on the road now, so we won't have to home crowd to support us. So, we're going to have to be locked in. To me it comes down to defense and moving the ball offensively. Trying to get good shots on one end and limit them on the other."
UTA Senior Forward Kevin Hervey
Thoughts on the team's performance: "We've been having an up and down season, but I liked our defensive efforts tonight. That's what we pride ourselves in, as a team we're still trying to find our identity. But in playing for Coach Cross it's toughness and defense. So as long as we do that, which we did tonight, we can get this thing rolling. Hopefully our next game we can be as consistent on defense as we were tonight and shots will fall."
On his consistent 20+ point performances: "I try to be as efficient as I can, but first and foremost I just try to win the game. If it's a night where I have to score 20 within the offense, then I score 20. If it's a night where Kaelon or Erick are scoring 20 within the flow of the offense then they will. I just try to get my points within the flow of the offense and play through my teammates and they help set me up."
On trying to get his teammates involved on offense: "The teams we're playing this year are kind of daring me and the team to get the ball out of my hands. But I trust in my teammates. So if opposing teams are doing that then I do my best to set my teammates up. And if they're wide open, I have as much faith in them as I do in myself. Nathan was open at times. Kaelon was open a few times tonight and I just tried to do my part and get them the ball."
ULM Head Coach Keith Richard
""Heading into this game, we placed a huge emphasis on taking care of the basketball and not turning it over because we know how fast and talented UTA is, especially at home. UTA scored 11 points off our nine turnovers and that was really the difference in the first half. They finished with 19 points off turnovers, so we needed to do a better job in that area to make it a more competitive game.
"We didn't play poorly in the half court offensively or defensively, but with UTA's spurt ability, it's tough to overcome a double-figure deficit like that. In this building, you don't have much of a chance if you don't play close to a perfect game.
"On a positive note, we bounced back and got off to a quick start in the second half, and that's encouraging, especially in light of some of the second-half lapses we've experienced this year.
"For a freshman, Michael Ertel has done just about all that we've asked him to do. He's shown the knack to work inside against the defense to go along with his 3-point shooting. It's really good to see Michael evolving as a player."
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