MBB: Season ends for Mavs in CIT first round
March 20, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington's second consecutive postseason berth ended in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament with a 84-76 loss to Oral Roberts before 1,627 fans at College Park Center.
The Mavericks finished the season at 19-14, good for the fifth-most wins in program history. UT Arlington competed in back-to-back postseasons for the first time and the fourth time overall.
"I hate the way that thing thing ended," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. "I was expecting us to come out with more energy and intensity in the first half. I am proud of the guys for fighting back in the second half and laying it all on the line. I'm proud of what the four seniors have done for the program."
The Mavericks trailed for most of the first postseason game ever played on campus. The Golden Eagles (19-14) jumped out to a 17-7 lead, forcing a timeout from UT Arlington coach Scott Cross. The Mavericks had to play catch-up for the rest of the night.
ORU, up as many 20, had to hang on down the stretch. The Mavs pulled with 69-60 on Karol Gruszecki's 3-pointer with less than five minutes left. After a stop, UTA had a chance to cut into the lead even more, but Shaquille White-Miller's 3-pointer bounced off the front iron.
Gruszecki wasn't done, drilling another 3-pointer to make it 70-63 with three minutes left. The Golden Eagles would get the lead back up to 11 (74-63) and were able to hold on to advance to the CIT second round.
Oral Roberts forward Steven Roundtree and guard Warren Niles were too much to handle. The duo combined to outscore the Mavericks in the first half and totaled 41 points on 15-of-26 shooting.
The Golden Eagles won a pair of statistical categories that not many team won against UTA this season. Oral Roberts outshot (49 percent to 42) and outrebounded (45-36) the Mavericks, who fell just short of the fifth 20-win season in school history.
Gruszecki paced the Mavericks with 21 points, as he finished his career with eight consecutive double-digit scoring efforts. Kevin Butler fouled out with 11 points in his last collegiate game. Jordan Reves (11 points) and Brandon Edwards (11) also scored in double figures.
Oral Roberts shot 59 percent over the first 10 minutes to open up a 19 point-lead, using a 15-2 run to pull away. Niles notched four 3-pointers, including two during the run.
Where the Golden Eagles were hot, the Mavericks struggled from the field in the first half. The Mavs hit just six of its first 21 shots, until a brief flurry at the end of the half had UTA trailing 43-27 at the break.
The Mavericks graduate four seniors – Reves, Butler, Gruszecki and Cameron Catlett – off a squad that reached the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship game. UT Arlington moves into the Sun Belt Conference next season.