MBB: Hot Shooting Leads Eagles Past Mavs

Dec. 9, 2017

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Florida Gulf Coast University men's basketball team used a blistering shooting night to post an 85-78 win over UTA, on Saturday afternoon at College Park Center.

UTA (7-3) suffered its first home loss in five games as FGCU (7-4) used a 55-percent shooting day from the field to breakaway from the Mavs in the second half. The loss marked just the third for UTA in their first 10 games and came during a festive 'blackout' atmosphere in front of 2,635.

The game was tight for the first 15 minutes before FGCU used a run to take a five-point lead at the half. UTA was handcuffed out of the break and the Eagles shined offensively as FGCU built a lead up to 19 in the second stanza. The Mavs were able to cut the lead to just six in the finale minutes but the Eagles were able to outlast the UTA charge for the win.

FGCU is just the second team to shoot over 50 percent from the field vs. the Mavs in 2017-18, as No. 25 Alabama used a 50-percent mark to edge UTA in Tuscaloosa. UTA was outrebounded 31-28 and saw the Eagles bench outscore the Mavs 27-8. UTA finished the game shooting 47 percent.

The tilt marked a matchup of two of the top veteran point guards in college basketball, UTA's Erick Neal and FGCU's Brandon Goodwin, with Neal - the nation's assist leader - held to just 15 points - all in the second half - and five assists in 25 minutes of action after picking up a pair of early fouls. Neal's second half saw the Dallas native sink four triples in the final minutes to narrow the FGCU lead. Goodwin finished with 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Eagles.

Hervey, a product of Arlington's Bowie High School and the 2016-17 Sun Belt Conference Male Athlete of the Year, led the offensive attack vs. FGCU. Hervey, a 6-foot-9, 230-pounder who earned conference player of the week accolades on Tuesday, had 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Hervey recorded his third double-double of the year and the 28th of his career. He's scored 20 or more points in seven of nine games on the year and has 26 career 20+ point games.

UTA also got double-figure scoring efforts from seniors Neal (15), Johnny Hamilton (10), Nathan Hawkins (10) and Kaelon Wilson (10).

The loss was UTA's first regular season setback in College Park Center since Feb. 20, 2016 against ULM. The Mavericks had won 21-straight regular-season contests since that time.

UTA will return to action next Saturday, traveling to UT Rio Grande Valley, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. (CST).

The teams traded baskets to open, with Hervey splashing a pair of threes sandwiched around jumpers from FGCU. The Eagles took their second lead of the game with a triple from the top of the key late in the shot clock to take a 7-6 lead into the first media timeout. Neal found Wilson for a triple in the corner to give the Mavs a 9-7 lead and the Mavs used a pair of baskets from Hamilton around a dunk and triple from FGCU to take a 14-12 lead. Hawkins went on a 5-0 run to give the Mavs a 19-12 lead with a layup and 3-pointer, with Davion Turner and Wilson's baskets at the rim leading to a 23-18 lead. FGCU used a pair of triples to take a 26-23 lead and extended the lead to 28-23. UTA got to within a point after baskets from Hawkins and Hamilton but the Eagles answered with a triple to take a 33-27 lead with two minutes left. Wilson cut the lead to 37-32 with a three pointer late in the half.

The Eagles stretched their lead out of the break with a triple and the Mavs were able to answer with a jumper from Wilson. The teams traded jumpers and Hervey cut the lead to five with a three pointer with 16:34 left in regulation. After a pair of free throws from the Eagles, Hervey's lay-up took the FGCU lead to 46-41 at the under 16-minute media timeout. A 6-0 run, including four points from the charity stripe, and after a triple, took a 57-44 lead with 12 minutes left in regulation, its largest of the game. After the third trip to the charity stripe for a technical and an offensive rebound and a pair at the free-throw line, FGCU took a 61-46 lead. The Eagles used a nice pass in the paint to take a 63-46 lead with 10:48 left in regulation. Hervey helped the Mavs claw back with a dunk to take a 16-point hole into the under eight-minute timeout. Neal brought the crowd to life with a triple to curt the led to 12 with under six minutes left and after swiping the defensive rebound, shook free on the wing to cut the Eagles lead to 74-65 with 5:18 left. Neal continued to dazzle late in the half, dropping four 3-pointers and totaling 15 points in the frame.

For the entire month of December (through Jan. 6), all youth ages 18 and under will be admitted free to UTA home men and women's basketball games. Tickets are available at the College Park Center box office prior to each game.

Single game, group and specially-priced multi-game ticket packages 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.  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 per game.  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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