Feb. 7, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas – Kevin Butler scored a season-high 21 and UT Arlington picked up a much-needed home victory Thursday night, running past rival Texas State 75-50 before 2,053 fans at College Park Center.
The Mavericks improved to 11-9 overall and 6-5 in the Western Athletic Conference by snapping a five-game home losing skid. The Bobcats dropped to 7-17 and 3-9. UT Arlington swept the season series Texas State, also winning 91-74 last month in San Marcos.
"It's so nice to finally come in here after a victory," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. "The guys played so hard. I was really proud of them. I told them before the game to focus on playing great defense and rebounding. Obviously they listened to me very well because we did a great job defensively."
The Mavericks led wire-to-wire, but it was a 14-5 run to open the second half that allowed UT Arlington to separate. The Bobcats were also held scoreless for the first five minutes of the game, as the Mavericks opened up a 9-0 lead.
UTA’s stingy defense, ranked ninth nationally in field-goal defense coming in, stifled Texas State from the start. The Bobcats shot 31 percent in the first half and just 23 percent for the game, the 14th time in 20 games that UTA's opponent failed to shoot at least 40 percent.
"This is probably the first game that we have guarded for a solid 40 minutes," Cross said. "In terms of just getting down and guarding this was probably the best. It's just a credit to the leaders out there."
The Mavericks were deadly from deep, knocking down 9 of 18 3-pointers. Butler drilled four 3-pointers, while Karol Gruszecki (12 points) and Jamel Outler each knocked down a pair. Brandon Edwards grabbed 11 rebounds and Jordan Reves pulled down 10.
The Mavericks would lead by as many as 12 points during the opening half before the Bobcats made a charge. Texas State scored nine of the half's final 11 points to trail 31-26 at the break.
The Mavericks continue their two-game homestand Saturday against another in-state rival, as UTSA visits College Park Center. Tipoff is 7 p.m.
MBB: Solid non-conference home schedule awaits UTA
MBB: Moore joins UTA basketball staff
Patience is key for UTA's Clarke
Enjoy an Evening With The Mavericks
Single game basketball tickets on sale Friday
MBB: Mavericks conduct first official practice