MBB: Mavs hit Idaho to start road trip
Feb. 12, 2013
UT Arlington (12-9, 7-5) at Idaho (9-14, 5-8)
ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington returns to the road with a two-game Western Athletic Conference trip beginning Thursday night at Idaho. Tipoff from Cowan Spectrum is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.
The Mavericks are 12-9 overall and 7-5 in the WAC, which is good for fifth place. The sixth-place Vandals are 9-14 and 5-8. UT Arlington is on a two-game winning streak, and has won four of five. Idaho lost a pair of road games last week at New Mexico State and Denver.
UT Arlington is 32-13 in their last 45 games dating back to last season and 8-3 on the road this season. The Mavericks are 4-1 in conference away games. Idaho is 5-6 at home, including 2-4 in the WAC.
The Mavericks and Vandals are meeting for just the fourth time. The home team won each game of a season series during the 1987-88 season. The Mavericks dropped a 77-64 decision against Idaho on Jan. 19 at College Park Center.
Kevin Butler led UT Arlington with 15 points in that earlier loss. Idaho shot 59.5 percent from the floor, as four Vandals tallied double-figure points and Kyle Barone grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds.
The Mavericks beat rival UTSA on 68-63 Saturday at College Park Center. Butler scored 17, Greg Gainey added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Jordan Reves had 13 boards and eight points in his first start since Jan. 19. Shaquille White-Miller scored 13.
Idaho is coming off a 74-58 loss Saturday at Denver. The Vandals scored a season-low 14 points in the first half on 6-of-14 shooting with 12 turnovers. Idaho scored 44 points on 50-percent shooting in the second half, but it wasn't enough to overcome a deficit that had grown to as many as 30 points.
College Sports Madness named Butler the Madness WAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Monday. The senior forward averaged 19 points on 50-percent shooting (14-28) as UT Arlington swept a two-game homestand last week against WAC rivals Texas State and UTSA.
Butler opened the week with a season-high 21 points in the 75-50 victory over the Bobcats on Thursday. He made 7-14 shots, including a season-best four 3-pointers on seven attempts.
He followed that up with a team-high 17 points in the win over the Roadrunners. Butler was 7-14 from the floor again, including 2-6 from downtown. Butler came into the week averaging 9.2 points. He upped his scoring average to a team-leading 10.8.
UTA remains one of the nation's stingiest defensive units. The Mavs are third in the country and first in the WAC in defensive field-goal percentage at 36.4 percent. UTA has held 15 of 21 opponents to less than 40-percent shooting: CSUB (26.6%), Oklahoma (32.8%), Samford (37.3%), North Texas (31.0%), UTPA (32.7%), HBU (30.9%), NMSU (33.3%), Denver (37.8%), LA Tech (28.4% & 36.7%), UTSA (37.5% and 35.2%), Utah State (36.4%), San Jose State (21.9%) and Texas State (22.6%).
The Mavericks will face UC Irvine in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters on Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. at College Park Center. The WAC is participating in the 11th annual Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Championship hopefuls against each other Feb. 22-23. Six teams from the WAC are taking part: Utah State, Texas State, UTSA, Denver, UT Arlington and Idaho.
The UTA-Idaho radio broadcast is 730 AM in the DFW Metroplex with Russell Scott and Art Garcia on the call.
UT Arlington concludes the trek Saturday at Seattle U at 9 p.m. CT.The Mavericks dropped the season's previous meeting, 61-44, Jan. 17 in Arlington.