MBB: Mavs aiming for two straight at Louisiana
Jan. 10, 2014
UT Arlington (6-9, 1-2 SBC) at Louisiana (9-5, 0-1 SBC)
THE GAME: UT Arlington looks for its second straight Sun Belt victory Saturday (1 p.m.) at the Cajundome. The Mavericks snapped a two-game SBC skid with Thursday's 83-79 OT win over ULM. UTA is 1-6 on the road, with Louisiana being first ever league road game. The Rajun Cajuns are 6-0 at home.
RADIO: The game will be aired on 970 AM with pregame show beginning 20 minutes before tipoff. Doug Anderson is calling the action on the UTA Mavericks Radio Network.
LIVE: Live streaming and stats are available at UTAMavs.com via ragincajuns.com.
SERIES: Louisiana leads series 10-7. Rajun Cajuns won last meeting 81-75 in 1982.
ABOUT LOUSIANA: Louisiana is off to an 9-5 start in 2013-14, benefiting from the return of five starters and a total of 10 lettermen from last year's squad that went 13-20, leading fourth-year head coach Bob Marlin to feel confident that the Cajuns are on a path to national prominence. The team is centered around the duo of point guard Elfrid Payton (20.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 6.0 apg, 2.2 spg) and forward Shawn Long (21.5 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg), both of whom were named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team this year. Long plays mostly at center with Elridge Moore (6.6, 4.9) normally starting as an under-sized forward but is sidelined currently with an ankle injury. Bryant Mbamalu (13.8, 3.7 in 2012-13), who started 26 games as a wing guard last season, has returned after missing the first 12 games with a foot injury. With Mbamalu out, junior Kevin Brown (6.6, 1.5) has seen increased playing time with Steven Wronkoski (6.4, 2.9) starting on the other wing. The bench has been a source of a good offensive spark as junior Xavian Rimmer (7.1, 2.1) and sophomore Kasey Shepherd (8.6, 2.5) providing the biggest lift at guard with freshman Hayward Register (2.2) also seeing time. Junior J.J. Davenport (2.8, 3.2), who played the last two seasons at New Mexico Junior College, and freshmen Vieux Kande (1.3, 0.8), and Luka Kamber (0.6, 1.3) are the primary reserves inside with both Davenport and Kande playing center and Kamber a forward. Marlin is utilizing the depth and quickness by forcing an up-tempo game at both ends of the court by applying more defensive pressure. The Cajuns use their quickness and outside shooting ability to create a balanced offense, forcing opponents to cover the entire court.
LAST TIME OUT: Junior guard Lonnie McClanahan scored a career-high 25 to lead UT Arlington to a much-needed 83-79 overtime victory Thursday afternoon over the University of Louisiana at Monroe at College Park Center. The Mavericks (6-9) won their first Sun Belt Conference game, improving to 1-2 in league play. UT Arlington hits the road for Saturday's 1 p.m. Sun Belt clash at UL Lafayette. McClanahan picked up the scoring slack in senior guard Reger Dowell's absence by repeatedly slicing through the Warhawks' defense. McClanahan made 9 of 19 shots and dished out seven assists. Senior guard Shaquille White-Miller knocked down a huge 3-pointer with 1:18 left in OT to give the Mavericks a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Junior guard Jamel Outler scored 20 and made five 3-pointers. Senior forward Brandon Edwards had 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
REGER OUT: Senior G Reger Dowell injured his right thigh on Jan. 4 and is out approximately 2-3 weeks. Dowell is 9th nationally and first in SBC in scoring at 22.0 ppg. Dowell scored career-high 35 (tied for 20th in UTA history) vs. Howard Payne and had at least 20 in the season's first seven games.
MEGATRON: Senior F Brandon Edwards is 20th nationally and second in SBC in rebounding at 9.9 per game. Has seven double-doubles, including 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win over ULM. Began season 16th on UTA's all-time rebounding list and now up to eighth.
SHINING IN NONCONFERENCE: Brandon Edwards was selected as an all-Sun Belt pick for College Hoop Daily's players of the 2013 non-conference season. Edwards averaged 19.3 points and 9.9 rebounds going into league play.
OT SUCCESS: UTA is 2-0 in overtime games, beating CSBU (79-75) and ULM (83-79) to bookend the recently completed four-game homestand.
SKID SNAPPED: UT Arlington snapped a five-game losing streak, the program's longest since losing six straight during the 2010-11 season, with the win over Dallas Baptist.
BIG 12 SCARES: UTA has lost its two games against Big 12 competition on the road by a combined five points - 72-69 at Texas and 91-89 at Oklahoma.
ICEMAGEDDON: UTA's nonconference game against Weber State was canceled due to the winter storm that hit North Texas. The game will not be made up this season.
DYNAMIC DUO: Dowell and Edwards (17.7 ppg) are first and sixth, respectively, in scoring in the Sun Belt.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: At least four Mavs scored double figures in eight games this season: Boise State (4), Samford (5), Howard Payne (4), Robert Morris (5), Texas (4), Oklahoma (4), CSUB (4) and UALR (4).
LINEUP ROULETTE: Cross has used six starting lineups through 15 games. F Brandon Edwards has started all 15. Other starters: G Reger Dowell (14), G Lonnie McClanahan (11), F Vincent Dillard (8), C Stuart Lagerson (6), G Jamel Outler (7), C/F Jorge Bilbao (2), C Anthony Walker (2), C/F Brandon Williams (5) and G Shaquille White-Miller (5).
RANKINGS: UTA is second in SBC and 37th nationally in team scoring (80.1 ppg). UTA is second in SBC and 15th nationally in 3-pointers per game (8.9). UTA is second in SBC in blocks (4.3) and second in offensive rebounds (13.5).
BUSY, BUSY, WAIT: UTA has packed quite a few games into a small space already this season. The Mavericks have already played a stretch of three games in four days (Nov. 12-15) and three games in five days (Nov. 19-23). UTA was off 11 days between the end of nonconference and the SBC opener Jan. 2.
TRIPLE DIGITS: UTA's 111 points vs. Howard Payne (11/13) were most since 124 vs. Sam Houston State (12/28/98) and tied for 18th all-time in school history.
SCORING BIG: UTA scored at least 87 in the first three games. The last time UTA had such a stretch was four in a row from Dec. 1-11, 1992: 91 (Concordia-Lutheran), 121 (Schreiner), 105 (Sul Ross State), 95 (Gonzaga).