Feb. 14, 2013
MOSCOW, Idaho - Kevin Butler led a downtown barrage as UT Arlington held on to defeat Idaho 71-68 Thursday night at Cowan Spectrum.
UT Arlington improved to 13-9 overall and 8-5 in Western Athletic Conference after its fifth win in the last six games. The Mavericks are 9-3 on the road this season, including 5-1 in the WAC. Idaho dropped to 9-15 and 5-9.
The Mavericks drilled nine 3-pointers, with seven coming from Butler, in avenging loss to the Vandals last month in Arlington. Butler finished with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-8 shooting to lead the team in scoring for the third consecutive game. The senior forward is averaging 20.3 points over that stretch on 61-percent shooting.
"I was feeling it tonight and just shooting with confidence," said Butler, whose 7-for-7 showing on 3-point attempts set a school record for the most made 3s in a game without a miss.
The Mavericks were also efficient inside, enjoying a 30-20 advantage in points in the paint. Junior forward Brandon Edwards scored 11 and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior forward Greg Gainey made several athletic plays inside on his way to eight points.
Butler had it going early, scoring the Mavericks' first nine points on 3-pointers. He knocked down all five of his shots from beyond the arc in the first half en route to 15 points. The Mavericks used a 10-0 run to take a 16-10, and were up as much as 13 (33-20) before taking a 39-30 edge into halftime.
Butler opened the second half with another 3-pointer for a 42-30 lead before the Vandals rallied. Idaho reeled off a 17-3 run to take a 47-45 lead, forcing a UTA timeout. The Mavericks responded to the stoppage with 12-1 spurt to go up 57-48.
The Mavericks held the lead for the rest of the game, but not without some anxious moments. UT Arlington was clinging to a 69-66 lead with a minute to play when Idaho center Kyle Barone missed a breakaway layup. The Vandals were down 69-68 with less than 10 seconds left when guard Mike McChristian came up short on a driving runner.
Idaho guard Stephen Madison led all scorers with 25 points. Barone added 21. The Vandals had a 31-13 advantage in free-throw attempts.
UT Arlington concludes is two-game trip Saturday at Seattle U at 9 p.m. CT. The Mavericks dropped the season's previous meeting, 61-44, Jan. 17 in Arlington.
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