ARLINGTON, Texas -- The UT Arlington men’s basketball team returns home to play the final game of its non-conference schedule Thursday when it hosts Cal Poly at 7 p.m. in College Park Center.
The game will be preceded by the UTA women’s basketball team hosting San Francisco at 4:30 p.m. Tickets, which are good for both games, are available online at UTATickets.com. All youth ages 18 and under receive free admission. Specially-priced Sun Belt Fun Pack, Saturday Family Four Pack and 3-Point Thursday ticket packages are also available. Call (817) 272-9595 with inquiries.
Following Thursday’s game against the Mustangs, UTA will take a week off prior to its Sun Belt Conference opener on Friday, Dec. 29 at Coastal Carolina (6 p.m. CST, ESPN2). The Mavericks return to College Park Center on Thursday, Jan. 4 against Troy.
HOW TO WATCH / LISTEN
Thursday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN3 via WatchESPN.com and the popular WatchESPN app with Dave Barnett and Robert Gill 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 Cal Poly have never faced each other in the sport of men’s basketball.
ABOUT THE MAVS
UTA enters Thursday’s game with an 8-4 record following its road loss at No. 25 Creighton on Monday. The Mavericks opened the season with seven wins in their first eight games, but have dropped three of their last four. Picked by league coaches to win its second straight Sun Belt title, UTA has the second most victories among the 23 NCAA Division I programs in the state of Texas over the last two seasons and is 31-4 in College Park Center over the last three years.
Senior forward Kevin Hervey is among the nation’s scoring leaders with an average of 23.6 points per game and is tied for second in the Sun Belt with an average of 9.2 rebounds per game. The Arlington native has surpassed 20 points in nine of his 11 appearances and averaged 27 points and 13.5 rebounds last weekend at UTRGV and Creighton.
Featuring eight seniors on its roster, UTA is expected to feature a lineup consisting of Hervey and Nathan Hawkins at the forward position, Johnny Hamilton at center and Neal and Kaelon Wilson at guard. Seniors account for 91.3 percent of the team’s scoring.
HEAD COACH SCOTT CROSS
Scott Cross, the winningest coach in program history, enters the Cal Poly game with a 212-152 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 furious second half comeback, the Mavericks were unable to overcome a 25-point first half deficit and dropped a 90-81 decision at 25th ranked Creighton on Monday. Creighton, one of the nation’s top scoring teams, was led by Wichita Falls native Marcus Foster’s career-high 32 points. Senior Kevin Hervey led UTA with his program record-setting 30th double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
QUOTABLE – UTA HEAD COACH Scott Cross
”We definitely want to redeem ourselves with our home loss against Florida Gulf Coast. We want to go out and play as good as possibly can. We want to continue to make strides in the right direction. We have definitely shown signs of improved defense ove rhte last couple of weeks. I think this is a team that can be great defensively. I think we need to be better in transition on offense. That is an area in which we can improve. It is another opportunity to get better and, hopefully, improve in some areas as we get ready to compete for a conference championship.
“We want to play games in non-conference that prepare us to compete for a conference championship. Last night against Creighton, we aren’t going to face any team like that in our league. We are going to face some great teams, but playing a game like that definitely prepares us. Cal Poly presents a different type of challenge. They are a good basketball team. We don’t know as much about them, which is also a big challenge. Our guys will have to go out and play as hard as they can. You can’t take anyone for granted. In Division I basketball, anybody can beat anybody on any given night. That is the mentality we have to take. It is one possession at a time proposition and we have to continue to focus on doing the little things. We say that a lot, but it is true. It is the details that win championships.”
ABOUT CAL POLY
Under 9th year head coach Joe Callero, Cal Poly enters Thursday’s contest with a 4-8 overall record following its 84-64 loss at SMU on Tuesday. The Mustangs opened the season with road losses at Stanford and Cal before winning 3-straight, including road victories at Santa Clara and College of Charleston. Cal Poly also owns a 10-point home win over Pepperdine. Junior guard Donovan Fields lead the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game and is among the best in the NCAA with a .968 free throw percentage. Sophomore center Hank Hollingsworth leads the Big West Conference in field goal percentage (.765) and is the team leader in rebounds with a 5.6 per game average.
Eight of the Sun Belt Conference’s 12 teams own a .500 or better overall record heading into the final week of non-conference games … Hervey enters Thursday’s game against Cal Poly in fifth place on the UTA career scoring list (1,367 points) and sixth in rebounds (740) … Neal is just 14 assists away from becoming the program’s all-time career leader in that category … UTA’s next home game is scheduled for Jan. 4 against Troy … 24 of UTA’s 31 regular season will appear on national television or a major live streaming network … UTA is 7-1 when leading at halftime with the only loss occurring at Alabama … Neal enters Thursday’s game 22 points away from Marquez Haynes for 14th on the program’s scoring list … The Mavericks are 31-4 in College Park Center over the last three seasons.
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.
MBB: Ogden signs Tyler JC point guard Brian Warren
Hamilton set to compete in Portsmouth Invitational
Ogden Named Eighth Men's Basketball Coach in UTA History
MBB: Hervey earns second straight Lou Henson honor
MBB: UTA makes coaching change
MBB: Hervey named first team NABC all-district