Feb. 25, 2012
Arlington, Texas – Jordan Reves scored 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead UT Arlington to Saturday night's 79-70 victory over Northwestern State at the College Park Center.
The Mavericks (22-6) also wrapped up the Southland Conference regular season title by improving to 14-0 in league play. The 22 victories also set an all-time UTA record.
UTA's regular season title is the second in school history and the first outright. The Mavericks are the No. 1 seed in the SLC Tournament next month in Katy, Texas.
"That's the one thing that was the most important," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said of the SLC title. "More than anything, more than any number of wins, more than anything is just winning the conference championship outright."
The significance of the title wasn't lost on Cross, who's built a career at UTA going back to his days as a player.
"As an assistant we tied for the conference and that was great," Cross said. "When I became head coach we went to the NCAA Tournament, won the Southland Tournament and that was great.
"But the one thing people have said that I've taken personal is you haven't done that great in the regular conference season. I took it personal. Our guys took it personal. That's the one goal we've had all year long."
The Mavericks were down 15-7 in the early going and trailed throughout the first half. The Demons (15-14, 7-7) took a 42-36 lead into the halftime locker room.
UTA pulled ahead with a 23-3 run in the second half. LaMarcus Reed added 17 points for the Mavericks, with Bo Ingram and Kevin Butler adding 13 each. Northwestern State was outscored 43-28 in the second half.
The Mavericks have locked up a spot in the National Invitational Tournament as a regular-season conference champion. An automatic place in the NCAA Tournament is on the line in Katy starting March 7.
"Now we've got a series of short-term goals leading up to the Southland Conference," Cross said. "We've won the marathon. It's about to be a sprint."
MBB: Late-Game Defense Pushes Mavs to 81-71 Win
MBB: UTA ready for another tough road test
MBB: Neal 3-Pointer lifts UTA past Georgia State
MBB: Key weekend in Georgia for UTA hoops
MBB: Mavs Motor into First with 71-55 Win
MBB: Defending Sun Belt champs visit Mavericks