Nov. 29, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - UT Arlington's bid for its first win against Texas in nine attempts fell short on Friday night. The Longhorns rallied to top the Mavericks 72-69 at the Frank Erwin Center.
"We came in here on their home court and played well, but you have to find a way to win and that is the bottom line," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. "There are no moral victories in this game. It is time that we have to figure out how to win ball games."
The Mavericks (2-6) closed out a four-game trip by coming up short in all four contests. UTA returns home Tuesday to face Dallas Baptist at 7:30 p.m. at College Park Center.
Shaquille White-Miller put UTA up 69-68 with two minutes to go when the senior hit a deep 3-pointer as the shock clock expired. However, two turnovers plagued the Mavericks late and Texas (6-1) posted back-to-back buckets to push ahead. Senior guard Reger Dowell had an attempt to tie the game, but his half-court attempt as time expired went wide.
"We looked nervous at the end," Cross said. "They really took control in transition and when they get out and run they are really good. I thought that was the biggest difference tonight."
Dowell led UTA's offense with 17 points, snapping his streak of 20-point games at seven. Senior forward Brandon Edwards totaled 16 points, while grabbing a team-high seven boards. Junior guard Jamel Outler ended with 14 points, shooting 3-6 from behind the arc.
The Mavericks had three double-digit scorers in a first half, taking a 41-33 lead into the break.
Texas clawed back to begin the second, starting by scoring the first six points before Dowell and Outler converted on back-to-back buckets.
Jumping out to its first lead since early in the first half, Texas outscored UTA 12-1 and built a 68-64 lead with less than four minutes left in the contest.
Dowell hit two free throws to bring the Mavs back to within one, and Shaquille White-Miller knocked down a 3-pointer to put UTA back into the lead.
Costly turnovers down the stretch sealed UTA's fate on the night. The Mavericks turned the ball over 16 times compared to UT's nine, and the Longhorns size advantage showed with 12 blocked shots.
HEAD COACH Scott Cross
Opening Statement: "Our guys played a really hard game, we fought. I thought we improved defensively. Texas hurt us down the stretch, they pounded the ball inside, but they especially took control in transition. They did a great job of blocking shoots, getting stops, and capitalizing on that on the opposite end of the floor. Demarcus Holland is so good in transition, he gets out and runs. They get out and find him which made the biggest difference in the game. I am proud of our guys. We have definitely made some strides in the last week defensively. We are coming along, we have to find a way to keep getting better."
On whether or not this is a moral victory for UTA: "No, at this point there is no moral victory. It was a good showing but there is nominal victory. It is time were we have to figure out how to win basketball games. Texas is a good basketball team. They just beat DePaul by 18 points. We came in here and played well but you have to find a way to win; that is the bottom line. We came up short. You have to give them credit, they made the plays, they looked like they had been in the position before to win close basketball games. We were nervous and unsure of ourselves; that is why we came up short."
On what UTA can build on: "I thought our defense was much better. We were a lot more active. We had hot hands with effectiveness in our zone. We have been getting picked apart for our defense -- that is all we have focused on for the last week, we have been practicing two and a half hours with two hours and 15 minutes on defense. I felt that on Wednesday that we were right there and ready to make a step, but during yesterday's early practice in the morning we took a hot step back, but this was definitely our best defensive performance of the year. The team is starting to understand that you have to do little things to win games. You have to keep your hands up when the pass is made. You have to say ball on the floor. Guards have to help block when their man is in transition. All those little things winning basketball teams do and losing teams don't do."
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