ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's basketball team remains within the friendly environment of College Park Center tomorrow night when they host Sun Belt Conference newcomer Coastal Carolina at 4:15 p.m.
The Mavericks extended their home record to 9-2 Thursday night and will be looking to avenge a loss at Coastal Carolina in late December. Saturday's 4:15 p.m. contest will be preceded by the Lady Mavericks hosting the Chanticleers at 2 p.m. The UTA men are 14-10 overall record and own a 5-6 mark against Sun Belt competition.
Saturday's men and women's games against the Chanticleers (11-13, 5-6) are sponsored by eSix Sportswear and will feature a cancer awareness and fundraising initiative in partnership with the Sun Belt Conference and the American Cancer Society. Special "UTA Beats Cancer" t-shirts will be available for sale at the game and a number of UTA notable personalities, volunteers and donors will be walking a treadmill during the games to raise funds for cancer research.
Tickets are available online at UTATickets.com or by calling the UTA Box Office at (817) 272-9595 or visiting in person during weekday business hours.
Following Saturday's game, the UTA men and women's teams will enjoy their longest break of the conference season. Both teams return to action next Saturday, Feb. 10, in key Sun Belt games against in-state rival Texas State.
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.
Prior to Coastal Carolina joining the Sun Belt last season, the two programs had never faced each other. The Mavericks won two of three meetings between the two programs last season, each winning on its home court before UTA claimed a 23-point win at the Sun Belt Championships in New Orleans. Earlier this season, Coastal Carolina claimed a 90-65 victory to open league play.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Saturday's game with a 14-10 overall record and a 5-6 mark against Sun Belt competition. The Mavericks are 9-2 in College Park Center but have struggled on the road, winning just one of their last seven games away from Arlington. UTA opened the season at 7-1 with just a 1-point loss at then No. 25 Alabama and ranked as high as second in the national mid-major top 25 poll.
The Mavericks feature eight seniors, who account for nearly 90 percent of the team's scoring. Coach Scott Cross has deviated slightly in the last two games from a regular starting lineup that has featured 18 times this season: Forwards Nathan Hawkins and Kevin Hervey, center Link Kabadyundi and guards Erick Neal and Kaelon Wilson. Wilson is out Saturday due to injury.
Hervey ranks second in the Sun Belt in scoring and rebounding, is sixth in field goal percentage and seventh in made 3-pointers. Neal is the league's best in assists and steals, while Hamilton leads the conference in blocked shots and ranks sixth in rebounds. Hervey, Neal and Wilson are among the top scorers in program history, each eclipsing the 1,000 point barrier.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Coastal Carolina game with a 218-158 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 responded to a 10-point first half deficit with a fast-paced 54-point second half to claim an 89-77 home victory over Appalachian State Thursday night in College Park Center. Senior guard Erick Neal poured-in a career-high 38 points, which equaled the fifth-highest single game total in program history. He shot 11-for-19 from the field, 5-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc and 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Senior forward Nathan Hawkins added a career-best 19 points, while Kevin Hervey contributed another double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. As a team, UTA shot 51 percent from the field and a season-best 62.5 percent from 3-point distance. UTA's victory avenged a surprising loss at Appalachian State earlier this season in Boone, N.C.
ABOUT COASTAL CAROLINA
Under longtime head coach Cliff Ellis, the Chanticleers bring an 11-13 overall record and a 5-6 mark against league competition into Saturday's contest in College Park Center. Coastal Carolina has won each of its last four games including narrow road wins at Troy and Texas State.
Junior Zac Cuthbertson leads the team in scoring and rebounding with average of 15.3 and 6.4, respectively, while senior guard Jaylen Shaw is one of the most experienced players in the Sun Belt. Shaw, ranks third in the league in assists and fifth in steals and scores 14.8 points per game. Sophomore Artur Labinowicz is the only other Chanticleer scoring in double figures at 10.8 per game.
Ellis is in his 43rd season as a head coach with stops at Cumberland, South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn during his career. He is the only coach in NCAA Division I history to win at least 170 games with four different programs and his 822 victories is the fifth most among active coaches.
UTA is 36-5 inside College Park Center over the last three seasons … Last year's Coastal Carolina at UTA contest was the Chanticleers' first men's basketball game in the Sun Belt … Erick Neal enters Saturday's game just two rebounds shy of becoming the first Sun Belt player every to surpass 1,300 career points, 700 assists, 400 rebounds and 200 steals … Kevin Hervey enters the game just 12 rebounds shy of equaling the program record for career rebounds … Johnny Hamilton owns 55 blocked shots this season, the fourth highest single season total in program history … Kaelon Wilson will miss the next few UTA games due to a neck injury suffered early in Thursday's game against Appalachian State.
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 ticket 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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