Feb. 1, 2012
Arlington, Texas - The College Park Center is destined to host its fair share of high-quality basketball games over the years, but it will be hard to top Wednesday night's inaugural contest. UT Arlington (16-5, 8-0 SLC) and UTSA (14-8, 6-2 SLC) locked horns in an intense seesaw affair that ended with the Mavericks remaining undefeated in conference play following a 67-66 victory.
A school-record crowd of 6,228 was on hand to witness the historic night that culminated in a hard-fought win.
"It's definitely a dream come true," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said of the first game. "You almost have to pinch yourself. The crowd made a huge difference tonight."
UTA's Karol Gruszecki and LaMarcus Reed knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to turn a 1-point deficit into a 65-60 lead for the Mavericks with just four minutes left. The Mavericks didn't score again until Kevin Butler sank a pair of free throws with 13.7 seconds left, but managed to stay on top.
Down 67-64, UTSA missed on a game-tying 3-point attempt on its ensuing possession and the putback at the buzzer was not enough.
On the evening, UTA held the Roadrunners to just 37 percent shooting and out-rebounded UTSA 46-33.
Things did not start out well for the Mavs, however. UTSA scored the first eight points of the game, as the Mavericks had four turnovers in the first three minutes.
The jitters subsided for the Mavericks after Ingram drained a 3-pointer at the 15:24 mark for the team's first field goal of the game. UTA then forced back-to-back turnovers that led to layups and Ingram drained another deep trey to erase a 9-1 deficit and turn it into an 11-9 lead in a span of just 54 seconds.
The Roadrunners regained control over the next 10 minutes, taking a 31-24 lead before another furious UTA rally ensued. The Mavericks outscored the visitors 16-6 over the final five minutes of the half to take a 40-33 advantage into intermission.
"It's just a different feeling," Reed said of the crowd fueling the runs. "That noise just goes through you. It was a big deal for us and helped us throughout the game. When the crowd got into it we got that extra boost."
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