On Jan. 19, Idaho came into College Park Center and dispatched the UT Arlington men's basketball team with ease 77-64. Tonight, the Mavericks get a shot at payback when they travel to Moscow, Idaho, to face the Vandals at 9 o'clock at the Cowan Spectrum.When the Vandals visited Arlington, UTA didn't have an answer for Kyle Barone, who had 18 rebounds and 14 points, or Conner Hill, whose 19 points came on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.Barone is a WAC player of the year candidate and averages 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.Idaho also shot a blistering 59.5 percent from the floor in that meeting.The Mavericks are different today. They have won four of their last five (the loss at WAC leader Louisiana Tech) and coach Scott Cross has deployed a smaller lineup that's given his team more defensive flexibility.Since the Idaho game, the Mavericks are holding teams to 30.6 percent field-goal shooting.But UTA's turnaround hasn't been all defense. The Mavericks have leaned offensively on Kevin Butler and Greg Gainey.Butler, a Duncanville native who transferred from TCU, was named WAC player of the week after totaling 38 points in two games last week in his return to the starting lineup after a knee injury.Gainey earned his first start after the Idaho game and has made the most of it, scoring 11.8 points and grabbing six boards a game since.UTA continues its northern trek on Saturday at Seattle University before starting a four-game homestand Wednesday that brings to town UT Pan American, UC Irvine, San Jose State and Utah State.The WAC tournament begins March 13 in Las Vegas.
UTA men at Idaho
9 tonight, Cowan Spectrum, Moscow, Idaho
Records: UTA 12-9, 7-5 WAC; Idaho 9-14, 5-8
Radio: KKDA/730 AM