Nov. 21, 2016
ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington basketball team returned home from a grueling road trip to snap a three-game losing streak and defeat St. Francis (Ill.) 88-67 Monday night at College Park Center.
UTA (2-3) netted its first victory since the season opener on Homecoming Week. The NAIA's St. Francis dropped to 1-3 with all losses coming on the road.
Faith Pope turned in a career-high eight rebounds to pair with 10 points and a steal in 16 minutes. Nathan Hawkins dropped a season-high 15 points on 2-for-3 3-point shooting with four steals. Kevin Hervey led the team with 16 points in his first start of the 2016-17 season. Patrick Binzer and Scott Muirhead played their first minutes as Mavericks.
UTA shot 53.3 percent (32-60) to the Fighting Saints' 35.7 (20-56). UTA also out-rebounded 39-36 and picked up 38 points in the paint. St. Francis turned the ball over 18 times, leading to 21 Maverick points.
An early 10-0 run built with a pair of 3s from Kevin Hervey and Jalen Jones fueled UTA with momentum in the first half, but St. Francis pushed to close the gap, 13-11 on a deep shot from Jo Jo Ballestero. A 19-4 run was capped by three consecutive 3-pointers from Hervey to stretch the lead 32-15.
An 8-0 run opened the second half for St. Francis as the Mavericks went 0-for-7 until Pope hit a jumper from beyond the arc to gain some traction. A drive and reverse layup from Jalen Jones later gave UTA a 56-33 lead with less than 16 minutes to play. A foul on DJ Bryant sent Jorden Thornton to the charity stripe and a pair of good shots clipped UTA's lead to 13, but the Mavs would find instill their biggest lead of the night, 88-62 in the final two minutes.
First half: Ahead 13-11, the Mavericks would shut the door on St. Francis with a 19-4 run that included a monster dunk from Pope converted on a steal. Link Kabadyundi slammed one of his own seconds later, his first pair of Maverick points, to get the crowd roaring and energy at a peak.
Second half: With just over five to play, Drew Charles sunk a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers and Hervey threw down a dunk to give the Mavs a little life and restock the lead to 23. Wilson was able to drive inside and throw up a layup to give UTA its largest lead of the night, 26 points with 1:27 left on the clock.
The Mavericks shot 60 percent in the first frame, matching their season-high in a half. UTA was also 6-11 from beyond the arc, including a 4-6 performance from Hervey. St. Francis went 14-for-16 from the free throw line in the second half compared to UTA's 1-for-6.
The Mavericks host Mount St. Mary's 7 p.m. Wednesday at CPC. Tickets are available online at UTATickets.com or by calling the UTA Box Office at (817) 272-9595 during weekday business hours. A variety of ticket packages are available.
UTA takes to the road once again on Saturday for a 4 p.m. meeting with Fordham at the Rose Hill Gymnasium in New York, New York.
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