ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's basketball team returns to the friendly confines of College Park Center Thursday when it hosts Sun Belt Conference opponent Troy in a 7:15 p.m.(CST) tipoff.
The game will be preceded by a Sun Belt women's contest featuring the UTA Lady Mavs against Troy beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets are available online at UTATickets.com or by calling (817) 272-9595. All kids ages 18 and under receive free admission.
The preseason Sun Belt favorite Mavericks are coming off a pair of disappointing road losses last weekend to open league play. UTA fell to 9-6 on the season and will be looking to rebound into the form that saw it win seven of its first eight games of the season.
Troy brings a 7-8 overall record and a 1-1 conference mark into tomorrow's game, but the Trojans have won all two of their last three games and are coming off a 68-66 win over Georgia State last weekend.
Following Thursday's game against Troy, UTA remains at College Park Center Saturday to host South Alabama in another Sun Belt contest at 4:15 p.m.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
Every UTA home game is streamed live on ESPN3 and is available via WatchESPN.com and the popular WatchESPN app. Voice of the Mavs Josh Sours will also provide an audio description of the game for Dallas-Fort Worth area listeners on KEXB 620 AM and online through TuneIn.com and its popular TuneIn app. Links to live coverage, including in-game statistics, are available by clicking here.
UTA owns a 5-3 series edge in the eight meetings all-time between the two programs. UTA and Troy did not meet prior to the Mavericks joining the Sun Belt Conference prior to the 2013-14 season. In UTA's first season of the Sun Belt, the Mavs claimed a 59-56 victory in Arlington and an 87-86 overtime win in Troy. The first four meetings between the two programs were by a combined 10 points. The last four meetings between the two programs have been decided by an average of 25 points. Last season, the teams split the two matchups with the Trojans claiming a 93-71 win at Troy and UTA winning 82-67 in Arlington.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Sunday's game with a 9-6 record and a 0-3 mark in the Sun Belt following Sunday's 80-76 loss at Appalachian State. After winning seven of their first eight games, the Mavericks have fallen short in five of their last seven contests. However, UTA is 5-1 within the friendly confines of College Park Center, including wins over North Texas, Rice, Loyola Marymount and Cal Poly.
Senior All-America candidate forward Kevin Hervey leads the Sun Belt in scoring (21.7), is second in the league in rebounding (8.8), has surpassed 20 points in 10 of his 14 appearances and has 5 double-doubles. Classmate Erick Neal is considered one of the nation's top point guards, ranks third in the NCAA in assists (8.4), leads the Sun Belt in assist-turnover ratio (2.3) and is the program's all-time assist leader. Last weekend, he became the program's all-time leader in career assists.
Featuring eight seniors on its roster, UTA is expected to feature a lineup consisting of Hervey and Nathan Hawkins at the forward position, Johnny Hamilton at center and Neal and Kaelon Wilson at guard. Seniors account for 91 percent of the team's scoring.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Creighton game with a 213-154 record in his 12th season as the head coach of the Mavericks. A 1998 graduate of UTA, Cross was a 2-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection as a player before spending seven seasons as a UTA assistant coach under Eddie McCarter. He is a 2-time conference coach of the year and earned NABC District 24 Coast of the Year honors last year.
LAST TIME OUT
UTA dropped to 9-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Sun Belt following a pair of losses top open league play at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State. On Friday, the Mavs shot 37.9 percent from the field suffered a 90-65 setback Friday night at Coastal Carolina. Jaylen Shaw led all scorers with 26 points, while five CCU players posted double figures in points. Kaelon Wilson led UTA with 17 points,while Johnny Hamilton added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals.
On Sunday, the Mavericks were down by 25 second half points before coming from behind and falling just short, 80-76, at Appalachian State. Erick Neal scored a game-high 27 points, all in the second half, to go with 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. The Mavs shot just 37.1 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers.
Under fifth year head coach Phil Cunningham, Troy enters Thursday's game with a 7-8 overall record and a posted 1-1 mark on the first weekend of Su Belt competition. The Trojans are led by Wesley Person's 21.1 points per game. He trails just Hervey and D'Marcus Simonds of Georgia State in the league rankings. Troy went 22-15 lat season and won the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title with a championship game victory over Texas State. The Trojans advanced to the NCAA Tournament and dropped a first round decision to Duke. The team returns nine letterwinners and four starters from that squad.
Thursday's men and women's games against Troy are presented by LBL Architects ... Student-athlete representatives from all 12 Sun Belt institutions will be in College Park Center for annual league winters meetings of the Sun Belt Student-Athlete Advisory Committee ... at Appalachian State on Sunday, UTA's Erick Neal surpassed Ronnell Peters for the program's all-time career assist record with 652 in 113 games ... Kevin Hervey tied Steven Thomas for third on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,411 career points ... Hervey leads the Sun Belt in scoring, is second in rebounding, is sixth in free throw percentage and 7th in steals ... Erick Neal leads the Sun Belt in assists and assist/turnover ratio, is third in steals, third in free throw percentage and is third in minutes played ... Johnny Hamilton ranks second in the league in field goal percentage and is second in blocked shots.
HOLIDAY HOOPS YOUTH TICKETS
For the entire holiday season (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.
PURCHASE UTA HOME GAME TICKETS
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.
SPECIAL TICKET PACKAGES
Specially-priced Sun Belt game ticket packages are available for the remainder of the season through the UTA Box Office. The Sun Belt Fun Pack provides a tickets for every league men and women's game for just $45 per seat, while the Sun Belt Saturday Family Four Pack includes four tickets, four hot dogs and four small sodas for just $40 per game. The Sun Belt 3-Point Thursdays provides a ticket, small popcorn and small soda for just $10 per game.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
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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