UTA (21-6, 11-3) 81 at Georgia Southern (17-11, 10-5) 71
Monday, February 20, 2017
Hanner Fieldhouse Statesboro, Ga.
UTA Head Coach Scott Cross
"I think that was about as good as we have played. I think Georgia Southern, especially in that first half, played one of their best games, too. I told our guys at halftime that we played pretty good defense. They hit contested shots and were making tough shots. It was a credit to our guys for doing the little things. I felt that if we could continue to play defense like we did in the first half, take a little better care of the basketball and continue to play together the second half would go our way. It was a credit to these guys. Like they did in the first half, we did that in the second half. Kevin Hervey, Drew Charles and Erick (Neal) hit some big, big shots. I think defense is where we won that game. Our guys did a good job in the zone and got a few stops. And, we did a tremendous job rebounding the basketball. Our guys were patient. We didn't take many bad shots. That is why we shot such a high percentage. Our guys stuck to the gameplan, played together and because of that we were able to come away with a win in an extremely tough environment.
"Both teams came out ready to play. It was a war. I was thinking that was about as good of defense as we could play and Ike Smith was just drilling shots. I thought Nate did a agood job defensively on him. That was huge for us. Erick did an outstanding job on Tookie Brown. All of our guys in the zone did a great job in the zone and on the boards. Kevin Hervey grabbed seven offensive boards. For the first time, you could really say that he is back. He was the player we knew he could be on both ends of the floor. He did a great job defensively, got some big rebounds and made some big shots.
"The Sun Belt is highly underrated. If Georgia Southern continues to play that way, for sure. Arkansas State, Texas State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern. These teams are legit. As well as others. We lost to Troy and Coastal. This is about as good as I have seen the Sun Belt. Looking at the conference tournament, there is not one team that you point to that you want to play. I think anybody on any given night can beat you."
UTA junior forward Kevin Hervey
"This was a straight dogfight. Credit to (Georgia Southern. They have a great young team. We have a team of veterans. We have played a tough places before. (Watching both teams hitting shots at a high rate) probably is a lot of fun for the fans, but it isn't so fun for us. Our coaches preach toughness and defense. When teams hits shots, regardless if your hands are up, it is tough. When the ball is going in, it is tough to stop them. I believe in my teammates. My teammates got me the ball in my spots. I was lucky enough to get them to fall tonight. One thing we preach is getting on the glass. They are a shorter, smaller team. I had seven offensive rebounds. Jorge did a great job. So did Faith, Jalen, Kaelon. We always try to get in there and get offensive rebounds."
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