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.
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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.