ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men’s basketball team travels to the Arkansas state capital Thursday to face the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in a Sun Belt Conference contest at the Jack Stephens Center.
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff and will be preceded by a 5 p.m. women’s contest between the Lady Mavs and the league-leading Trojans. Tickets are available through the Little Rock athletic ticket office online at LRTrojans.com or by calling (501) 565-8257 during weekday business hours.
UTA enters Thursday’s game with an 11-6 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Sun Belt following a pair of convincing home victories last weekend over Troy and South Alabama. The Mavericks opened the season by winning seven of their first eight games before enduring a tough stretch that included just two wins in seven outings prior to last weekend.
The Trojans are 4-13 on the season and 1-3 against Sun Belt competition after dropping a pair of close road games at Georgia State (64-73) and Georgia Southern (69-72).
Following Thursday’s game at Little Rock, UTA travels to Jonesboro, Ark. for a Saturday evening contest at Arkansas State. The Mavericks return to College Park Center on Jan 18 for a home contest against current Sun Belt leaders Louisiana.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
This week’s games at Little Rock and Arkansas State will not be televised. A subscription-based live web stream will be provided with links available on UTAMavs.com. 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 lead over the Trojans since the first meeting between the two programs on Nov. 18, 2007. That 68-58 Mavericks victory in Little Rock marked the only time the two teams faced off prior to UTA joining the Sun Belt Conference. After losing a narrow 2-point decision to Little Rock on Jan. 4, 2014, the Mavericks reeled off three straight victories, including a sweep of the two meetings in 2015. In the only meeting between the two teams last year, UTA claimed a 71-55 victory in College Park Center behind Kevin Hervey and Jalen Jones’ 20 point performances.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Thursday’s game with an 11-6 record and a 2-2 mark in the Sun Belt following last weekend’s wins over Troy and South Alabama. The usually-stingy Mavericks defense leads the Sun Belt in field goal percentage defense and is third in rebounds and steals per game. Offensively, UTA ranks third in the league in scoring and second in assists.
Three current UTA seniors are among 24 Mavericks who have scored more than 1,000 points during their career. Kevin Hervey is just 31 points shy of second place Anthony Vereen on the program’s all-time scoring chart, while Erick Neal needs just seven points to enter the top 10. Kaelon Wilson became the 24th player in program history to surpass 1,000 points and should rapidly move up the list into the top 20 in the next couple of weeks.
Featuring eight seniors on its roster that account for 91 percent of the team’s scoing, the veteran UTA side is expected to feature a lineup consisting of Hervey and Nathan Hawkins at the forward position, Johnny Hamilton at center and Neal and Wilson at guard.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Creighton game with a 215-154 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
After opening league play with a pair of road losses at Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State, the Mavericks rebounded with a pair of high-scoring wins over Troy (86-76) and South Alabama (91-67) last weekend in College Park Center. All five starters scored in double figures against the Jaguars with 86 of UTA’s 91 points coming from the senior class. Johnny Hamilton scored 18 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Kevin Hervey extended his program record for double-doubles with a 16-point, 10-rebound effort. Kaelon Wilson led allscorers with 19 points.
ABOUT LITTLE ROCK
Under second year head coach Wes Flanigan, Little Rock enters Thursday’s game with a 4-13 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the Sun Belt. The Trojans have played road games in eight different states against teams that have won better than 65 percent of their games. Sophomore Andre Jones leads the team in scoring with an average of 11 points per game, while junior Oliver Black is among the Sun Belt’s top rebounders at 7.8 per game. The Trojans allow just 69.1 points per game, ranking sixth in the league, and are limiting opponents to just .423 shooting from the field a .346 from long range.
Every time senior Erick Neal steps on the court, he extends his school record in career assists. The Dallas native has distributed 664 career assists and, currently, ranks third nationally with an average of 8.1 per game this year … Kevin Hervey and Neal continue to move up the career 3-point shooting charts in makes and attempts … Grad transfer Johnny Hamilton has blocked 35 shots in UTA’s first 17 games. He is just one shy of entering the top 10 single season totals. Trey Parker is 10th on the program’s list with 36 blocks during the 2007-08 season. The overall record is 71 blocks by Jordan Reves in 2012-13.
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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