ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men's basketball team concludes its regular season Friday with an important Sun Belt Conference game at in-state rival Texas State.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CST) in Strahan Coliseum. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 with Dave LaMont and Lance Blanks calling the action. Tickets are available online at TXStateBobcats.com or by calling (512) 245-2272.
A victory would ensure the Mavericks no worse than a tie for fourth place in the final regular season league standings. However, a number of potential tie scenarios for third and/or fourth place remain as seven teams enter the weekend playing for a bye in next week's conference championships. The top four seeds earn a first round bye into the tournament quarterfinals.
Defending Sun Belt regular season champion UTA enters Friday's contest with an 18-12 overall record and a 9-8 mark against Sun Belt Competition. Last weekend, the Mavericks knocked off two teams ahead of them in the league standings - runner-up Georgia State and third place Georgia Southern - to remain in contention for a top 4 finish.
Texas State (14-16, 7-10 Sun Belt) will be looking to reverse its recent fortunes that have seen the Bobcats lost eight straight. Texas State won seven of its first 9 conference game before its recent struggles. Friday will serve as Senior Night for three Bobcat players.
Following Friday's game, UTA travels to Lakefront Arena in New Orleans for the annual Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships, scheduled for March 7-11. Every game will be streamed live on ESPN3, while Sunday's championship final will be televised on ESPN2. Fans interested in tickets should contact the UTA Box Office at (817) 272-9595 for information regarding seating areas in UTA sections.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
In addition to live television on ESPN2, Friday's game will be streamed live via WatchESPN.com and the popular WatchESPN app. Voice of the Mavs Josh Sours will 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 and Texas State have met 70 times previously, dating back to the first meeting between the two programs on Dec. 6, 1984. Texas State owns a narrow 36-34 series lead. However, UTA has won 13 of the last 16 games in the series and has claimed victory in 9 of the 12 meetings since joining the Sun Belt. Last season, the two teams split the regular season matches. Earlier this year, UTA claimed a 70-68 overtime victory in College Park Center.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Texas State game with a 222-160 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.
ABOUT TEXAS STATE
Under fifth year head coach Danny Kaspar, the Bobcats enter Friday's game with a 14-16 overall record and a 7-10 mark against Sun Belt competition. Texas State went 7-6 against non-conference competition and won seven of its first nine league games.
The Bobcats own the league's top defensive unit, allowing just 64.7 points per game while limiting opponents to just .314 shooting from behind the 3-point arc. Offensively, Texas State is scoring 66.0 points per game while outrebounding opponents by 3.7 per game - third best in the league.
Sophomore Nijal Pearson is the team's scoring leader, ranking 15th in the Sun Belt with an average of 14.6 points per game. He is also the Bobcats' rebounding leader and averages 1.3 steals in 32.3 minutes per game.
UTA owns an impressive 13-2 record in games played in College Park Center, but is just 4-10 on the road and 1-7 at Sun Belt opponents … Senior Erick Neal is this week's Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week … Neal is the program's all-time leader in assists and 3-point attempts … He is also just 9 points away from becoming the program's third-leading career scorer … Senior Kevin Hervey will finish his UTA career as the second-leading career scorer in program history and the leader in rebounds … Kaelon Wilson is also among the program's top career scorers … Graduate transfer Johnny Hamilton set a program record for blocked shots in a season with 72.
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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