For the first time this season, UT Arlington is on a three-game winning streak.
Hosting a last-place team desperate for a win, the Mavericks stepped on the gas early and separated themselves from the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference pack with a 73-65 win over South Alabama on Saturday night at the College Park Center.
“Our defense is starting to look a lot like it did last year,” coach Scott Cross said. “In all three games, we’ve held them to under 40 percent [shooting].”
The win moved UTA (9-10, 4-3 SBC) into the cluster of 4-3 teams in the Sun Belt.
The Mavericks play the top two teams in the conference, Georgia State and Western Kentucky, away from home next week.
UTA took an early lead behind a big start by Reger Dowell.
The conference’s top scorer hit his first four 3-pointers and had the Mavericks ahead by eight. The Jaguars made a second-half run and held a lead twice, but UTA went on a 12-3 run that put the game away.
Dowell finished with 21 points.
UTA held South Alabama (7-13, 1-6 SBC) to 35.5 percent shooting from the floor and kept the Jaguars’ primary threat, Augustine Rubit, in check. Rubit finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
“They say he’s going to be a pro so I wanted to go out there and see where I’m at,” said UTA’s Brandon Edwards, who guarded Rubit.
Edwards, who said he has a poster of Rubit on his locker for motivation, had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.