Coming off two gut-wrenching losses to the top teams in the Sun Belt, the UT Arlington men’s basketball team returns home looking to keep pace in the crowded field.The Mavericks tip off at 7:30 p.m. Thursdayagainst Louisiana-Lafayette at the College Park Center.UTA had both Western Kentucky and Georgia State on the ropes early, with leads of 24-9 and 33-21, but both times, the Mavericks faltered down the stretch to fall back below .500 in conference play.The Ragin’ Cajuns beat UTA 90-70 on Jan. 11, so there won’t be any lack of motivation for the Mavericks. Motivation isn’t what’s holding UTA back — it’s defense.Just before the road trip, the Mavericks won three in a row by holding all three teams under 40 percent shooting. The Mavericks are 7-0 when holding teams below 40 percent, but 2-12 otherwise.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, College Park Center, Arlington
Radio: KKGM1630 AM
Records: UTA 9-12, 4-5 Sun Belt; ULL 13-9, 4-5