MBB: Second Half Fuels Furious Comeback Win

Nov. 11, 2017

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Erick Neal sank three crucial 3-pointers in the second half and Kevin Hervey charted 28 points and eight boards, leading UTA men's basketball to a season-opening 85-80 win over LMU, in front of a raucous Homecoming crowd on Saturday night at the College Park Center.

UTA (1-0) found itself trailing by as many as 13 to a stout Loyola Marymount (0-1) but the Mavs used a furious second-half comeback to post the season-opening win. Neal's three 3-pointers, Hervey's nine points and a big second half from senior center Johnny Hamilton, who added 11 points and three boards in the final period, helped the Mavs storm back for the win.

Hervey, a product of Arlington's Bowie High School and the 2016-17 Sun Belt Conference Male Athlete of the Year, had a game-high 26 points, adding eight rebounds and four assists.

Neal finished with 14 points and 11 assists to direct the offense, with Hamilton owning 13 points and four rebounds - adding seven free throws. UTA also got 13 points from senior Kaelon Wilson, with the Mavs getting eight points from Davion Turner and some key minutes from senior Mairega Clarke, who charted five points.

The Mavs will return to action on Saturday, traveling to face BYU in a rematch of the meeting in the 2016-17 National Invitational Tournament. Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. CT.

LMU notched the first two buckets on the game before Hervey got the Mavs on the board, with Neal draining a 3-pointer to get the Mavs within 7-5. LMU stretched its lead to 11-5 at the first media timeout and Hawkins cut the lead with a driving layup out of the break. Turner then drilled a three from the corner - his first points as a Mav - to make it a 12-10 game. Neal then found Link Kabadyundi in transition for a lay-in to cut the lead to 18-14 with 11 minutes left.

The Mavs kept the lead for the Lions at five before Hervey sank a jumper, his second from the field, but LMU stretched its lead to seven before a transition lay-in from Hervey, on a nice leave from Neal, to go into a LMU timeout down 35-30 with just over two minutes left in the period. Out of the break, Hervey and Neal executed a give-and-go at the top of the key, with Hervey sinking a 3 pointer to get to 35-33. After a defensive stop, Hervey sank a trey on the wing to give UTA its first lead 36-35. LMU then scored the next six points to take a five-point lead into halftime.

Hervey led the way offensively with 17 of UTA's 36 points in the first half. The Mavs were held to 45 percent from the field but LMU owned a 22-16 advantage in points in the paint.

LMU opened the scoring in the second half to take a seven-point lead but Wilson sank his first 3 pointer of the year to get within four but LMU answered with a three from Jeffry McClendon. LMU built on its largest lead of the game, stretching it to 48-39.

The Mavs defense then went to work, holding LMU scoreless for nearly four minutes. A steal from Clarke led to a free throw from Hamilton as UTA cut it to 53-47. An LMU technical foul saw Neal drain a pair of free throws as UTA cut it to 55-52. 

Clarke evened up the game at 55-55, with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation, following the technical free throws with a trey from the corner, his first of the game, helping UTA build a 6-0 run. LMU immediately regained the lead at 59-55 but Wilson answered with a triple to get within one. After LMU took a 62-58 lead, Neal drilled a trey from the wing to get within one with seven minutes left. An offensive rebound and put back from Hervey gave the Mavs their first lead in the second stanza at 63-62. Trailing 67-63, Hervey sank a pair of free throws and then the UTA defense forced a turnover in the backcourt, leading to Hamilton getting fouled on a putback attempt, with the senior sinking two free throws to even the game at 67. After LMU sank a pair from the charity stripe, Neal found Hervey in the lane for a 69-69 tie and Hamilton tied it back up at 71 after two free throws.

Neal completed the comeback with a three, his third of the night, to give the Mavs a 74-741 lead with 3:40 remaining, forcing an LMU timeout.

James Batemon answered for LMU out of the timeout with a jumper but Neal followed with a triple to give UTA its largest lead at 77-73 with just under three minutes left. An errant UTA pass led to a turnover and an old-fashioned 3-point play for Batemon as LMU cut the UTA lead to 77-76 and evened it at 77 after a free throw. With 1:19 left in regulation, Neal knifed into the paint, kicking it to Hervey for a go-ahead triple from the corner. The Mavs then immediately forced a turnover with LMU calling timeout with 56 seconds remaining. Hawkins found Hamilton for a monster dunk as UTA took an 82-77 lead with 48.1 seconds left in regulation. Hervey's rebound on the defensive end and subsequent free throws saw the Mavs take an 85-80 lead with 13 seconds left.

Full season and single game tickets 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.  Season tickets are available for as low as $99 for all 30 men and women's games, which comes out to $3.30 per game.  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 for a single game or at a reduced rate for season tickets.  Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available.  Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.

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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