Jan. 21, 2012
Arlington, Texas - The nerves got the best of the Mavericks early. Wanting to send Texas Hall out on a winning note, UT Arlington perhaps came into Saturday night's Southland Conference affair with Stephen F. Austin too ramped up.
The butterflies eventually subsided and the SLC-leading Mavericks settled into the pattern that's become all too common lately. LaMarcus Reed scored 17 and UTA's defense clamped down in a 63-54 victory in the last game on the historic stage.
"It was a big one for us. It was one I really wanted to win," UTA head coach Scott Crosssaid. "I didn't tell the guys, but you always want to win the last game. We've had a great run here at Texas Hall. We've been fortunate to win a lot of game here, and that part we're going to miss a little bit.
"We have to establish that at the College Park Center. This place has been good memories, but I couldn't be more ready to move on. I'm just itching to go into that Taj Mahal. It's going to be exciting."
The Mavericks extended their winning streak to nine, improving to 13-5 overall and 6-0 in the SLC. UTA hasn't won nine in row since the 2003-04 season and the last 6-0 conference start happened in 1990-91.
"We have to take it one at time," Cross said. "We have to take it possession by possession."
The Mavericks were scoreless for more than the first three minutes, falling into an early 4-0 deficit. Reed finally got UTA on the board with a 3-pointer.
Shaq White-Miller drilled a 3-pointer for a 17-12 lead, UTA's largest of the first half. The Mavericks went into the locker room at halftime up 27-24 behind seven points from Gay, and five each from Reed and White-Miller.
Unlike recent home blowouts for the Mavericks, this was no cakewalk. The Lumberjacks (9-9, 3-2) stayed within striking distance throughout the game. UTA had as much as a nine-point edge (33-24), only to have SFA tie the game at 38-all midway through the second half.
The Lumberjacks were up 50-48 with 3:30 left after Antonio Bostic's second 3-pointer of the second half. The Mavericks grabbed the lead right back, 51-50, with three free throws from Bo Ingram.
Jordan Reveshad a huge block for the Mavericks down the stretch, and Reed's driving layup gave UTA a 57-54 edge with 36.5 seconds left. SFA turned it over on the next possession and the Mavericks iced their last win ever at Texas Hall at the foul line.
"That's what it's about," Cross said. "It's about defense. As you saw that tonight, we weren't able to get a lot of points, but we got stops and did what we needed to do to win this game."
UTA leaves Texas Hall, its home since 1965, and moves into the College Park Center. The first game for the Mavericks in the state-of-the-art on-campus arena is Feb. 1 in a men's and women's basketball doubleheader against UTSA.
Two road games are next before the CPC debut. The Mavericks are at Houston Baptist on Tuesday before traveling to Texas State on Jan. 28.
MBB: Roadrunners Outlast Mavs in NIT Quarterfinals
MBB: Cross Named NABC District Coach of the Year
MBB: Hervey, Neal Earn NABC All-District Honors
MBB: Mavs return to CPC for NIT Quarterfinals
MBB: Mavs Charge Past Akron in NIT Second Round
MBB: UTA ready to host NIT second round