Dec. 13, 2012
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- UT Arlington opened with a 15-0 run and never looked back in routing Houston Baptist 81-47 in a nonconference game Thursday night at College Park Center.
The Mavericks improved to 5-2 on the season and claimed their second consecutive victory on the strength of a stingy defense. UTA took advantage of 15 turnovers by Houston Baptist (3-6) in the first half to build a commanding lead, capping the half with a Drew Charles buzzer-beating 3-pointer for a 47-21 edge at the break.
The 34-point spread was the biggest since UT Arlington's 48-point blowout (96-48) against Nicholls on March 7 in the first round of last season's Southland Conference Tournament.
“The best offense is a good defense,” UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. “I was more concerned with ours though. If you take out our 14 turnovers I thought every other aspect we were very, very good. Probably our best game by far. Our guys were very efficient and carried over what we have worked on in practice.”
Senior center Jordan Reves continues to lead the Mavericks on both ends of the floor. Reves notched his fourth double-double on the season. He's one of only 25 players in the nation averaging a double-double. Reves finished with a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with 10 points.
Three Mavericks joined Reves in double-digit points. Senior forward Karol Gruszecki had a game- and career-high 18 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, and 2-2 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Cameron Catlett made his first start of the season and scored 13, and Kevin Butler had 11.
“Cam is so good at getting to the basket and finishing plays,” Cross said. “Also Butler has really been working at it in practice to improve at the free throw line. We shot 78 percent as a team, so that’s a good thing.”
The Huskies were held to 30.9-percent shooting. Six of UTA's seven opponents this season have shot less than 40 percent.
UTA extened its winning streak to 13-straight over Houston Baptist and are now 18-6 overall. The Mavericks return to the road for its next game when it faces its third Big 12 opponent of the season in Stillwater, Okla. vs. Oklahoma State. The Mavs then open its WAC campaign at home on Dec. 29 vs. New Mexico State at 7 p.m.
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