Dec. 22, 2016
LOS ANGELES -- Four players scored in double figures, including junior forward Kevin Hervey charting his fifth double-double of the season, leading UTA to an 80-77 win at Loyola Marymount, the ninth consecutive win for the Mavs, on Thursday night at the Gersten Pavilion.
UTA (10-3) won its ninth consecutive game in snapping a four-game winning streak for LMU (6-4). The Mavs have now won all nine games that Hervey - who suffered a season-ending injury midway through 2015-16 - has started. Hervey, the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the win, his fifth double-double of the season and the 15th of his career.
The nine-game winning streak is tied with the 2003-04 team for the second-longest in the history of the program. Over the course of its streak, UTA owns six road wins, including double-digit victories over Texas and No. 12 Saint Mary's. Six of UTA's last seven games have been played on the road.
The Mavs owned a lead early in the first half before LMU rallied for a six-point advantage at the midway point in the period. UTA never looked back after a 12-2 run to conclude the half and used a late three-pointer from senior guard Drew Charles to take an 80-75 lead with a minute left. LMU got a bucket with 50 seconds remaining and had a pair of game-tying three-point attempts miss as time expired on the 80-77 UTA win.
The Mavs shot 48 percent (29-for-60) from the field, sinking seven three-point attempts and going 15-for-20 from the charity stripe. UTA won the battle of the boards, 40-31 and had nine steals on the defensive end.
Hervey's double-double highlighted the four Mavericks in double figures, including guard Jalen Jones contributing a team-leading 15 points. Charles sank four three-point attempts and had 14 points with senior Jorge Bilbao totaling 12 points and five rebounds. Guard Erick Neal had 11 assists, five rebounds, four points and two steals in 34 minutes, committing just three turnovers. Hervey added four assists and two steals in the win.
The Mavs took a 5-2 lead to open the game and a stretched their lead to 12-11 at the under 16-minute media timeout, with Jones owning a game-best seven points. A trio of three pointers from the Lions lifted LMU to a 20-14 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the period. Pope provided a lift off the bench with five points to rally the Mavs to a 26-24 hole at the under eight-minute media timeout. The Mavs then went on a 12-2 run to take the lead to halftime, 40-32, for the 13th consecutive game to open the year. UTA shot 47 percent (16-for-34) in the first half and owned a 22-18 lead in the boards.
The Mavs stretched their lead to double digits for the first time with a 49-39 advantage after a pair of free throws from Bilbao with just over 16 minutes remaining. A tough offensive rebound for Bilbao gave the Mavs a 62-51 lead with 11 minutes left in regulation. LMU converted an old-fashioned 3-point play and a transition dunk to cut the UTA lead to 72-67 with just over five minutes remaining. The 12th three pointer of the game for LMU cut the UTA lead to 77-75 and set up several tight possessions to conclude the game. After UTA missed a jump shot on its end, LMU got a deep three-point attempt that was blocked by Wilson and led to a UTA timeout with 1:15 to play. UTA found Charles for a three on the wing to give the Mavs an 80-75 game with a minute remaining. After the Lions got a bucket and a defensive stop, LMU missed on a pair of game-tying efforts from behind the arc as time expired.
UTA will open Sun Belt Conference play vs. Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 4:30 p.m. at the College Park Center. The game will be broadcast live on UTAMavs.com and KEXB 620-AM, by the Voice of The Mavs, Josh Sours.
The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships are scheduled for a week of March Madness in the Big Easy. New Orleans will once again be home to the two championships that will take place at Lakefront Arena from March 7-12 and ticket books can be purchased from the UTA Box Office. For more information, visit the Sun Belt Conference's championship central websites - Men's Championship - Women's Championship - and be sure to follow the #FunBelt on social media - @SunBelt.
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