Nov. 21, 2009
By Josh Bowe for utamavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - Before the season even started, coach Scott Cross said he could live with losses if his team plays hard and shows effort the entire game. It was the games where his team showed no effort that he said he would lose sleep over.
After UT Arlington's 72-68 loss to Eastern Washington Saturday night at Texas Hall, it'll be safe to say that Cross's sleeping habits will be in flux.
"We didn't come out ready to play and had our guard down," Cross said. "That's very disappointing on your home floor when you do that."
The Eagles started the game off running circles past the Mavericks who looked a step slow. They broke out to a 21-8 lead as Cross mixed and matched lineups to try and get something going.
Senior guard Marquez Haynes seemed to be the only Maverick with a pulse early on, scoring 15 points in the first half. His second three pointer in the first half brought the Mavericks back to life, down 33-26 in what could have been a much worse first half.
But all the battling back took its toll on UTA.
"Anytime you dig a hole that deep you have to expend a lot of energy to get back in the game," Haynes said. "We paid the price."
Throughout the second half every time UTA closed the gap to within five to six points, EWU had an answer. Mainly that answer was Jeffrey Forbes, the freshman guard for the Eagles who scored a career high 24 points.
The guard collected five rebounds on his own, a telling sign about how the Mavs were just a step slow to every lose ball, every rebound.
"It was the little things, coming up with the lose balls, rebounds," Haynes said. "It was the little things. When you lose by four it usually comes down to those things."
In the second half, the closest the Mavs would get would be three, after Haynes' fifth three pointer got the score to 69-66. But UTA didn't have an answer on offense after that, scoring late after EWU had packed its lead to a two-possession game.
Even though Haynes finished with 32 points on 12-for-17 shooting, his second 30 point game of the season, he didn't even credit himself with a good game offensively.
"A lot of it falls on me, I scored, but I didn't have a great offensive game," Haynes, who also had nine turnovers, said. "I know I did a poor job taking care of the basketball and putting my guys in a position to score."
Haynes only had one other teammate score in double figures, with sophomore forward LaMarcus Reed scoring 13. Reed acknowledged that his main job on the team is to play defense. He did a decent job helping contain Eagles do it all junior guard Bobby Valentine to six points. But Reed also was able to get into the lane for some easy attempts, but not all of them went in.
"I saw opportunities to get to the hole, and I took them," Reed said. "I missed a few lay-ups I shouldn't of missed."
But it was the theme all night for the Mavericks: any positive came with an equally disappointing negative. Whether it was containing Valentine and letting Forbes score, or getting to the basket but not finishing.
Hopefully Cross can get some sleep after this one.
"Definitely not going away from this game with any warm and fuzzy feelings at all," Cross said.
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