Dec. 31, 2012
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington dropped its first home conference game since the end of the 2010-11 season with a 50-35 loss to Denver University Monday afternoon before 1,066 fans at College Park Center.
UTA had previously won nine consecutive conference home games – eight while in the Southland Conference and one in the Western Athletic Conference – before losing its first WAC game on New Year's Eve.
The Mavericks move to 1-1 in the WAC with the loss and 6-4, overall while Denver is 1-1 in the WAC and 5-7 overall. The Pioneers, led by Nate Engesser's 14 points, improved to 4-1 against the Mavericks all-time.
“You got to see the good Mavericks on Saturday and a team that doesn’t finish and show as much toughness tonight,” UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. “You got to give Denver credit. They did a great job defensively. Our guys did not finish around the basket. It is frustrating and hard to do anything when the guys aren’t finishing around the basket.”
Denver would take 35 3-pointers for the afternoon out of 45 total shots. UT Arlington struggled to score throughout the game, shooting just 28 percent. Senior swingman Karol Gruszecki had a team-high eight points for UTA.
Turnovers plagued the Mavericks in the first half. UTA lost the ball 10 times, allowing Denver to get into a transitional shooting game from beyond the 3-point line. The Pioneers made six 3-pointers in the opening half. The Mavericks hit two from deep, with both coming from Gruszecki.
The second half started out as a struggle for UTA to score. Denver hit two of its first three 3-pointers of the half and the Mavericks missed their opening four shots from the floor. Shaquille White-Miller ended a stretch of four minutes to begin the half without a core by knocking down two free throws.
Using a 8-0 run, the Mavs climbed back to within four points of the Pioneers. However, Denver would hit is ninth 3-pointer of the game to extend its lead to eight points.
“It’s frustrating,” Cross said. “You have to take care of the ball. You are going to have good games and you are going to have bad games. It’s just the fact that all of our guys were missing shots around the basket and I don’t think anybody on our team had a high percentage tonight.”
UT Arlington heads back into nonconference play with the third of four consecutive home games Wednesday night against Boise State. Denver plays host to Texas State on Thursday.
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