ARLINGTON, Texas -- Following a break for final exams, the Sun Belt Conference preseason favorite UT Arlington men’s basketball team returns to action Saturday night at fellow UT System program UTRGV.
Saturday’s contest in Edinburg is scheduled for a 7 p.m. (CST) tipoff in UTRGV Fieldhouse (capacity 2,500). Tickets are available online at GoUTRGV.com or by calling (956) 665-3747.
Following Saturday’s game at UTRGV, the Mavericks remain on the road for one of its most challenging contests of the season Monday when they travel to Omaha, Neb. to face 25th ranked Creighton. That game will be televised by national cable network FS1 from CenturyLink Center.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
Saturday’s game will be streamed live on GoUTRGV.com via the WAC Digital Network with Jonah Goldberg and Bryan Smith on the call. 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 the Vaqueros have not met since UTRGV was formed as an institution in 2015. However, the Mavericks and UT Pan American met 30 times between 1959-2013 with the Broncs claiming a 16-14 series lead. UTPA claimed a 10-game win streak in the series between 1973-89 but UTA has won 12 of the last 14 meetings. The last game between UTA and UTPA took place on Feb. 20, 2013 and resulted in a 63-48 Maverick victory. Scott Cross went 6-1 against UTPA as a head coach and 2-0 as a player.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Saturday’s game with 7-3 record with all three of the team’s losses coming at the hands of teams expected to advance to postseason play at the end of the season – at then No. 25 Alabama, at Northern Iowa and at home against Florida Gulf Coast. The Mavericks are coming off consecutive non-conference losses for the first time in more than a year.
The Mavericks feature eight seniors, led by reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Kevin Hervey. The Arlington native ranks 11th nationally in scoring with an average of 22.9 points per game and is on the watch lists for the Lou Henson and Lute Olson Awards, given to the nation’s top mid-major player. Graduate transfer center Johnny Hamilton has emerged as a major factor inside for UTA, ranking among the national leaders in field goal percentage and blocks. Guard Erick Neal is the nation’s assist leader and his 2.0 steals ranks second in the Sun Belt. Nathan Hawkins and Kaelon Wilson have started all 10 games this season.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the UTRGV game with a 211-151 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
Despite a solid defensive effort that forced 24 turnovers, the Mavericks were unable to overcome the hot shooting of Florida Gulf Coast in an 85-78 setback Saturday afternoon in College Park Center. FGCU set Maverick opponent season highs in shooting, making 55 percent of its field goal attempts and a 53 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Hervey led UTA with his 28th career double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds and all five Maverick starters scored in double figures. FGCU guard Brandon Goodwin led the Eagles with 23 points and 8 assists.
Under 2nd year head coach Lew Hill, UTRGV has compiled a 6-6 record and brings a 3-game win streak into Saturday’s game. The team's win streak marks the first time since 2009 it has won 3-straight in non-conference play. The Vaqueros own road wins at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, North Texas and their road losses include setbacks at Georgia Tech, SMU and Texas A&M. Junior guard Nick Dixon, this week’s Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week, averages 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and is coming off a 23 points, 4 steals performance in the Vaqueros’ 73-59 win over UC Irvine.
Eight of the Sun Belt Conference’s 12 teams own a .500 or better overall record with four teams having 3 or fewer losses … Hervey enters Saturday’s game at UTRGV in fifth place on the UTA career scoring list (1,313 points) and seventh in rebounds (713) … Neal is just 22 assists away from becoming the program’s all-time career leader in that category … UTA’s next home game is scheduled for Dec. 21 against Cal Poly.
HOLIDAY HOOPS YOUTH TICKETS
For the entire month of December (through Jan. 6), all youth ages 18 and under will be admitted free to UTA home men and women's basketball games. Tickets are available at the College Park Center box office prior to each game.
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.
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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