UT Arlington put a disappointing loss behind it by winning its home opener 88-75 over Samford on Friday Tuesday night at College Park Center.
The Mavericks (1-1) established an offensive identity that revolved around their two point guards getting inside the paint and forcing the action. Reger Dowell scored 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting to lead all scorers, and Lonnie McClanahan scored 14 points to give the Mavericks a formidable 1-2 punch.
“Last year it was like watching paint dry,” coach Scott Cross said. “But this group can just score so easily.”
Five Mavericks scored in double digits in UTA’s first win this season as UTA bounced back from a 116-87 season-opening loss at Boise State on Friday. After scoring more than 80 points only three times last season, the Mavericks have surpassed 80 points in both games this season.
Even though Cross knew Dowell would be a primary scorer this season, he’s surprised the senior transfer from Oklahoma State is doing it so quickly.
“I expected it would take him a while to get going,” Cross said. “He’s got [former UTA guard] Marquez [Haynes]-like skill in that he can go off for 20 points on any given night.”
The Mavericks implemented a new penchant for the alley-oop in the victory, and nobody benefited more than Brandon Edwards. The Fort Worth South Hills grad took advantage of Samford’s lack of a true center by scoring 18 points and collecting 17 rebounds, throwing down a few alley-oops along the way.
UTA maintained control for most of the game until midway through the second half when the Bulldogs (1-1) pulled within one point. But the Mavericks went on a 26-9 run to put the game away.
The Mavericks will have to turn right around and do it again when they host Howard Payne at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.