Nov. 7, 2007

UT Arlington Head Men's Basketball Coach Scott Cross threw out all the cliches and summed it up in few words.

"We are ready to start this season," said Cross as his Mavericks host Texas A&M-Commerce in their only exhibition game of the season Thursday at 7 p.m. at Texas Hall. Admission is free.

UT Arlington returns all five starters and 10 lettermen back from a 13-17 squad that finished tied for fifth place in the Southland Conference.

Returning for his fourth season is preseason first-team all-Southland Conference center Jermaine Griffin. He was first-team all-SLC as a junior to became the third Mav to earn the honor in the last decade. He needs 179 points and 40 rebounds to join the 1,000-point and 500-rebound club at UTA. Griffin is already the career blocked shot leader with 111. Griffin ranked ninth in the SLC in scoring (132) and rebounding (6.8).

Seniors Larry Posey and Rod Epps also return and will start on Thursday.

Posey has started 33 games in his college career and is regarded as one of the best defensive front court players in the league, said Cross. He had a 15-point, 15-rebound game against versus UTSA last season and scored a career-high 22 points in an overtime loss at TCU in 2006-07.

Epps will quietly go down as one of the most productive players in Ma verick basketball history. He needs 77 points and 14 assists to become the fifth player in UT Arlington history to have 700 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. Epps is one of the top 3-point shooters in the conference, hitting 37.7 percent from long range last season. He ranks eighth in career 3-pointers made with 114.

Texas A&M-Commerce is a Division II school from the Lone Star Conference. The Lions went 14-14 last season, but have six seniors on the roster, including transfer Scooby Johnson who started at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last season. Senior guard Kevin Widemond averaged 14.1 points per game last season. Senior forward Lance Jackson (11.3) and senior forward Champ Sylvester (10.6) also averaged double figures during the season.


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