Jan. 23, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas - Kevin Hervey and Jalen Jones each had 21 points, and Erick Neal dished out a career-high tying 13 assists, to lead UTA men's basketball to a 108-71 win over Louisiana, on Monday night at College Park Center.
UTA (15-5, 5-2 Sun Belt Conference) led from wire-to-wire in its third consecutive win and its 14th win in the last 16 games. The 37-point win marked the largest margin of victory in series history vs. LA.
Hervey and Jones led the scoring as each had a game-high 21 points. Hervey added eight rebounds and five assists, making his first start in the last four games as he continues to recover from season-ending injury in 2015-16. Jones set a new career high with five 3-pointers, connecting on 8-of-13 attempts from the field, while adding four rebounds.
The Mavs rode a strong defensive effort in first seven minutes of half while claiming to a 17-6 lead. UTA took a 40-31 lead into halftime, behind the strong effort from Hervey, who had 16 points at the break. Louisiana's 31 points marked the fewest in the first half for a UTA league opponent on the year. The Mavs took control of the game with a 13-0 run out of halftime, featuring three 3-pointers from Jones.
The Mavs held Louisiana (13-7, 3-4 SBC) - the league's top-scoring unit - to 33-percent shooting from the field, while connecting on 57-percent of their attempts, including 13-of-31 three-point attempts. UTA won the battle of rebounding (52-36), second-chance points (20-6), points in the paint (52-22) and assists (27-15).
UTA surpassed 100 points in a single game for the first time since a 111-64 win over Howard Payne on Nov. 13, 2013. It marked the first time the Mavs scored more than 100 points over a Division I team since a double-overtime 100-97 win over the Roadrunners on Jan. 17, 2009.
Jones got the Mavs on the board 40 seconds into the game with a triple and a minute later drilled a 3-pointer in the corner to open the scoring and give UTA a 6-0 lead. After a LA timeout, UTA stretched its lead to double figures with 14 minutes remaining in the first half after Neal found Hervey for a triple on the wing. Junior guard Kaelon Wilson added to the lead with a jump shot, stretching it to 17-6 with 13 minutes left in the period.
Behind a 7-0 run, the Cajuns cut the UTA lead to 17-13 with11:27 left at the media timeout. A pair of buckets at the rim, from Wilson and Nathan Hawkins, answered the run out of the timeout, giving UTA an eight-point margin. After a pair of offensive turnovers led to an offensive run by the Cajuns, Johnathan Stove drilled a three-pointer at the top of the arc to make it 26-25 with five minutes left in the half. Hervey sent the game to the under four-minute timeout at 30-25 after a one-handed slam following a post move. As the half wound down, Hervey added the exclamation point, drilling a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 40-31 lead. Hervey led the way in the first frame with 16 points and six rebounds.
The Mavs came out of the locker room on fire, riding a 13-0 run to a 53-33 lead to open the frame, highlighted by three 3-pointers from Jones. Jorge Bilbao gave UTA a 21-point margin with a bucket at the rim with 14 minutes remaining and Hawkins stretched the lead to 62-38 with a triple from the wing a minute later. Hervey took the game to the under 12-minute timeout with an old-fashioned 3-point play, forcing a foul on a take to the rim. With 10 minutes left, Neal recorded his fifth steal of the game and found Jones for a bucket in transition and a 72-50 lead. A possession later, Neal found Charles in the corner for the second triple of the night for the senior shooting guard. Link Kabadyundi connected on a free throw with 97 seconds remaining to get UTA to 100 points and Scott Muirhead drilled a pair of threes in the final seconds for the final margin, 108-71.
Wilson was the third UTA player in double figures, charting 14 points and three rebounds off the bench. Bilbao saw his streak of two consecutive double-doubles fall, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds. UTA also got nine points from Hawkins and six points from Charles. Muirhead's six points were a career high.
UTA will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 28 at Appalachian State. Tipoff in Boone, N.C., is slated for 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast live on the UTAMavs.com and is available locally on KEXB 620-AM, with the Voice of the Mavs, Josh Sours, calling the action.
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are scheduled for a week of March Madness in the Big Easy. New Orleans will once again be home to the two championships that will take place at Lakefront Arena from March 7-12 and ticket books can now be purchased from UTA's ticket office (UTAtickets.com). For more information, visit the Sun Belt Conference's championship central websites and be sure to follow the Sun Belt on social media - @SunBelt.
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