ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's basketball team returns to the road this week for a pair of Sun Belt Conference games in the state of Georgia.
The Mavericks visit Georgia State's GSU Sports Arena for a 6:15 p.m. contest Thursday night against the Panthers before traveling to Statesboro, Ga. for a Saturday contest at Georgia Southern.
The Mavericks have won four of their last six games and enter Thursday's contest with a 13-8 overall record and a 4-4 mark against Sun Belt competition. Georgia State is 14-6 overall and 5-2 in league play following a convincing 83-66 win over in-state rival Georgia Southern last weekend.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
Like every UTA home game, both games this week will be streamed live on ESPN3 and will be 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 6-4 series lead over Georgia State, dating back to the first meeting between the two programs on Dec. 22, 1984 in Muncie, Ind. The Mavericks claimed the consolation title at a tournament hosted at Ball State University with an 85-79 win over the Panthers. In the only other meetings prior to UTA joining the Sun Belt, the Mavericks claimed a pair of high-scoring wins in a home-and-home series in 1990 and 1991. After UTA entered the Sun Belt, GSU won each of the first four games in the series, but the Mavericks have rebounded by winning the last three - including last year's 68-67 thriller that was decided on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Erick Neal.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Thursday's game with a 13-8 overall record following Saturday's 71-55 victory over ULM in College Park Center. The Mavericks have won four of their last six games with both losses (at Little Rock, vs. Louisiana) resulting in the same final score (77-65). UTA has the second-highest scoring offense in the Sun Belt at 78.0 points per game and the team's shooting percentage and field goal defense both rank among the top three in the league.
The Mavericks feature eight seniors, who account for 90 percent of the team's scoring. Coach Scott Cross has utilized the same starting lineup 18 times this season: Forwards Nathan Hawkins and Kevin Hervey, center Johnny Hamilton and guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson.
Hervey ranks second in the Sun Belt in scoring, third in rebounding, seventh in made 3-pointers and field goal percentage and, eighth in steals. Neal is the league's best in assists and steals, while Hamilton leads the conference in blocked shots and ranked sixth in rebounds.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the ULM game with a 217-156 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 led by as many as 19 points and, eventually, settled for a comfortable 71-55 victory over ULM Saturday in College Park Center. Kevin Hervey scored a game-high 21 points to go with 8 rebounds and a pair of assists, while Johnny Hamilton led all big men on the boards with 11 rebounds and a game-high 4 blocked shots. The Mavericks shot a season-best .944 from the free throw line and out-rebounded the Warhawks 49-33.
ABOUT GEORGIA STATE
Under seventh year head coach Ron Hunter, Georgia State enters Saturday's game with a 14-6 overall record and a 5-2 mark and third place standing in the Sun Belt. The Panthers are one of three teams with just two league losses, along with Texas State and in-state rival Georgia Southern. Georgia State owns the second-best scoring defense in the league, limiting opponents to just 65.2 points per game, and leads the Sun Belt in field goal defense at .393 (18th nationally).
Sophomore D'Marcus Simonds leads the Sun Belt in scoring with an average of 21.0 points to go with 5.5 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Malik Benlevi is the team's rebound leader at 6.4 per game, while junior Devin Mitchell is shooting a league-best .430 from behind the 3-point arc.
Last weekend, Kevin Hervey moved into second on the program's all-time scoring list, behind Willie Brand (1,907 points from 1987-91). The Arlington native enters Thursday's game at Georgia State with 1,520 points ... Hervey is also fifth in rebounding with 810 ... He is the only player in UTA history to score more than 1,500 points and grab more than 800 rebounds ... Erick Neal is the program's all-time assist leader with 686 and his 152 assists this season is the seventh-highest single season mark in program history. He owns three of the top 7 marks on the single season listings ... Johnny Hamilton has 46 blocked shots this season, the fifth highest single season total in program history ... Kaelon Wilson is one of 24 UTA players (along with Hervey, Neal) all-time to score more than 1,000 points. He enters Thursday's game with 1,070 points and should move into the top 20 this weekend.
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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