UT Arlington took a five-point lead over Georgia State into halftime, then lost to the Sun Belt Conference’s top team 77-49 Thursday at the College Park Center.
Georgia State (21-7, 14-1 Sun Belt) came out of the break on a 30-5 run and blew past the Mavericks, forcing coach Scott Cross to reassess the team he puts out on the court every game.
“That was a humiliating loss for me and this program,” Cross said. “I need to figure out a way to get some passion from this team.”
With only three games left, the loss ensured UTA (12-15, 7-8) won’t finish with a winning record unless they run the table and win a pair of tournament games. The noticeable drop in intensity in the second half doesn’t inspire much confidence.
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The Mavericks only scored 15 points and watched as Manny Atkins led the Panthers with 27 points and five 3-pointers to bury any hopes they had of pulling off the upset.
The Georgia State run was swift and merciless, taking UTA’s five-point lead and turning it into a 20-point deficit in only eight minutes. The Panthers outscored the Mavericks in the second half 48-15 and shot 59.3 percent at the break.
“Guys just started playing for themselves,” Cross said.
The Mavericks made only 2-of-15 from 3-point range and had only two points from their bench. Reger Dowell, the Sun Belt’s leading scorer, opened up the game with a 16-point first half, but was only 1-for-9 in the second half and finished with 18 points.
“We have three guys that aren’t on scholarship and two redshirts,” Cross aid. “There’s a lot of days they’ll play our starters and beat them. That shouldn’t happen. We’re missing the intangibles you need to win games.”