If first impressions count for anything, UT Arlington didn’t make a good one.
“That was a complete disaster,” coach Scott Cross said.
In their first conference game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, the Mavericks were outplayed by hot-shooting Arkansas State in an 82-66 loss Thursday night in the College Park Center.
The Red Wolves (8-4, 1-0 SBC) shot 73.9 percent in the second half and went on runs of 19-0 and 24-2 to pull away from a deflated Mavericks team. Ed Townsel was 4-for-4 from 3-point land and finished with 20 points to lead the Red Wolves in scoring.
The game was tied 32-32 at halftime, which led Cross to believe his team collapsed for one reason.
“Our guys just didn’t compete,” he said. “We all have to do some soul searching, myself included.”
The Mavericks (5-8, 0-1 SBC) were so bad offensively in the second half that they were shooting 21.7 percent from the field with 2:39 to play. Reger Dowell would go on a mini-run by scoring 14 points in the final minutes.
Before that run, the Red Wolves held a 31-point lead. Dowell finished with 28 points, but neither he nor his teammates could do anything to stop Arkansas State.
“They just simply outplayed us,” he said. “That’s all it was.”
The Mavericks play host to Arkansas-Little Rock at 5 p.m. Saturday.