Feb. 22, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A furious second-half run and a first-half scoring flurry from Kaelon Wilson helped lead UTA men's basketball to an 83-63 win over Georgia Southern, on Thursday night at College Park Center.
UTA (17-12, 8-8 Sun Belt Conference) pulled to .500 in conference play with the win, its fifth consecutive at College Park Center. The Mavs broke open a four-point halftime lead with a 28-4 run in the second half to fly past Georgia Southern (17-11, 8-7 Sun Belt), taking a lead as large as 26 in the final stanza.
The Mavs finished the game shooting 52 percent as a team from the field, their highest shooting percentage since a win over Appalachian State. UTA has shot at least 50 percent from the field in eight games. Defensively, UTA held Georgia Southern to 33 percent, its best defensive effort since ULM shot .310 from the field on Jan. 20.
LEADING THE MAVS
Wilson, making his first start since missing two games due to injury starred in the first half with 18 of his career-high 23 points. It marked Wilson's highest career scoring output since he had 22 points in a win at Niagara in November. He added five rebounds and four assists.
In the second half, Kevin Hervey drilled five three pointers to total 21 points in the game, grabbing nine rebounds. Senior guard Erick Neal had 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Senior Julian Harris has 10 points and five rebounds. Center Johnny Hamilton has five points and five rebounds, with senior Nathan Hawkins owning five boards.
The Mavs will return to action with its senior day on Saturday at 4:15 p.m. CT at College Park Center. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and available on KEXB 620-AM with the Voice of the Mavs, Josh Sours, calling the action. Tickets are available at UTAtickets.com
The Mavs rolled out of the gate, getting on the board after a Neal and-one conversion after a find from Hawkins. Wilson's jumper stretched UTA's lead to 5-2 before a 5-0 run from the Eagles gave Georgia Southern its first lead after a triple and basket at the rim. Wilson answered to even it up on a find from Hawkins and then sank a triple to even it at 10-10. Neal's quickness was on display for a quick 4-0 run, including a coast-to-coast layup for a 14-10 lead with 12 minutes left. Hervey got on the board to take the lead to 16-12. GS snapped a scoreless stretch of nearly three minutes to even it at 16-16 before Hamilton completed a ferocious dunk for an 18-16 lead.
After the Eagles rallied to take a lead, Mairega Clarke's tip-in brought the Mavs back to a 20-19 lead. Hervey accounted for UTA's next two baskets and Wilson followed and sank a three to bring the Mavs even at 27-27 and a pair of Julian Harris free throws gave UTA a 31-29 lead. Wilson's jumper - UTA's fifth straight make from the field, saw the Mavs take a 33-31 lead in the closing minutes of the first half. After the Eagles tied it up, Wilson got the rim with 39.2 seconds left and hit both free throws for a 35-33 lead and then drilled a buzzer beater for a 37-33 halftime lead. Wilson led the way with 18 of UTA's 37 first-half points, connecting on two threes.
Wilson splashed a triple out of the break for a seven-point lead before Georgia State answered with five quick points. Hawkins got to the rim on an assist from Wilson for a 42-38 lead but the Eagles sank a three to cut the lead to 42-41. Neal immediately answered by creating space and drilling his first triple of the game. Out of the media timeout, Hervey splashed a three and Hamilton connected on a basket at the rim for an eight-point lead. Hervey gave the Mavs a double-figure advantage with a triple and Neal followed with one from behind the arc for a 55-41 lead with 13:20 left. After a strong defensive rebound from Hervey and a basket from Neal, the Eagles spent a timeout, trailing by 17. Hervey's third triple of the half saw the Mavs take a 61-43 lead with just 11 minutes left in regulation and he then found Julian Harris in transition for UTA's largest lead of the game, 63-43. After an Eagles basket in the paint, Hervey hit his fourth triple for a 66-45 lead and then drilled his fifth for a 69-45 advantage. Baskets from Wilson and Harris saw UTA take a lead to 26 points at the under four-minute media timeout.
PURCHASE UTA HOME GAME TICKETS
Single game, group and specially-priced multi-game ticket packages to attend UTA men and women's basketball events are on sale through the UTA Box Office in person or by calling (817) 272-8585 and online through UTATickets.com. Single game tickets are priced at $8, $12 and $25 per game, depending on seat location. UTA students and faculty staff tickets are available for just $5 per game. Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available. Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.
SPECIAL TICKET PACKAGES
Specially-priced Sun Belt game ticket packages are available for the remainder of the season through the UTA Box Office. The Sun Belt Fun Pack provides a ticket for every league men and women's game for just $45 per seat, while the Sun Belt Saturday Family Four Pack includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four small sodas for just $40 per game. The Sun Belt 3-Point Thursdays provides a ticket, small popcorn and small soda for just $10 per game.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.
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