NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The UT Arlington men's basketball team opens play Friday at the annual Sun Belt Conference Championships with a 2 p.m. quarterfinal contest in Lakefront Arena.
By virtue of its number four seeding, the Mavericks earned a first round bye and will face either No. 5 Appalachian State or No. 12 Little Rock in the tournament quarterfinals. The winner of will advance to Saturday's 11:30 a.m. semifinal contest with the championship game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Mavericks enter the championships with a 19-12 overall record and concluded the league's regular season with a 10-8 mark and fourth place finish. UTA won six of its last eight games to close out the regular season and brings a 3-game win streak into Friday's game.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
Every men and women's game from the Sun Belt Championships will be streamed live via WatchESPN.com and the popular WatchESPN app. The championship final will be televised live on ESPN. 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 is 3-4 in Sun Belt Tournament games since joining the league in 2013-14. The Mavericks are 2-1 in quarterfinal games with wins over Texas State (2016) and Coastal Carolina (2017) and a loss to Louisiana (2014). UTA has appeared in two semifinal games but has not advanced to the league's title contest. Last season, UTA defeated Coastal Carolina 74-51 in the tournament quarterfinals - a game that was tempered by a season-ending injury to starting guard Jalen Jones. The Mavs ended up dropping an 83-62 decision to Texas State in the semifinals.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Sun Belt Championships with a 223-160 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.
QUOTING Scott Cross
"I think (Little Rock's win over Louisiana on the final day of the regular season) kind of shows the strength of the conference. Little Rock beat us at their place and we are kicking ourselves. They were really good that night. We weren't very good, but they were. It goes to show what Little Rock and the rest of the league are capable of. The last place team beat the first place team on its home court. There is no game that should have been tougher and they won it. Conference Tournament. March Madness. It is what it is. Whoever is truly ready to play is going to be the team that is going to win."
Head Coach Scott Cross is 9-9 in conference tournaments as a head coach, is 13-14 in neutral site games and is 60-46 overall against Sun Belt opponents ... Forward Kevin Hervey (1st team) and guard Erick Neal (2nd team) were named all-Sun Belt Conference earlier this week ... Hervey is the program's all-time leading rebounder and is second in scoring ... Neal is the program's all-time leader in assists and is third in scoring ... Neal and Kansas' Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte' Graham are the only TWO players in the nation to conclude the regular season with average of at least 16 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists per game ... Johnny Hamilton has 73 blocked shots this season, the highest single season total in program history and the eighth-most in a career ... Hervey, Neal and Kaelon Wilson have each surpassed 1,000 career points ... UTA only returns 10 percent of its scoring next season with the departure of eight players in their final season of eligibility.
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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