College Sports

November 28, 2013

UT Arlington men face tough road test at Texas

The Mavericks face Texas in Austin.

The UT Arlington men’s basketball team looks to snap a four-game losing streak, but it will take a road win against Texas to do it.

The Mavericks tip off at 7 p.m. Friday at the Frank Erwin Center, hoping to catch the Longhorns by surprise and earn their first road win of the season.

Led by Brandon Edwards, the senior forward who’s averaging a double-double on the season (19.1 points, 11.1 rebounds), the Mavericks aren’t like UTA teams of recent years that focused on shutdown defense and an aggressive mindset.

This team can score points, especially in the second half. The Mavericks are scoring 53 points per game in the second half, primarily because they’re playing catch-up from the slow starts that have plagued coach Scott Cross’ team so far.

In the Mavericks’ five losses, they’ve gone into halftime down by an average of 12.6 points. They get down early, storm back behind Edwards and Reger Dowell’s (24.6 points per game) scoring prowess, but fall short.

UTA spent the past five days working on getting back to the basics on defense. With the group of talented scorers on the Mavericks’ roster, the points will come. But learning to do the little things has been a work in progress in the early going of the season.

They’ll need the scorers to shine through against Texas, a team UTA has never beaten in eight meetings.

The Longhorns are coming off a 77-59 win over DePaul behind Cameron Ridley’s 19 points.

Texas is the usual Big 12 team that UTA struggles to beat every year, but putting the Longhorns on the free throw line would help the Mavericks cause.

The Longhorns are shooting just 63 percent from the foul line. The Mavericks, by comparison, are making 69 percent.

It helps that Texas isn’t one of the more prolific 3-point shooting teams in the nation, something UTA struggles to defend. Texas is making 5.7 per game; UTA is allowing nearly 11 per game.

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