UT Arlington struggled from the floor for the first time this season, falling 83-73 to Cleveland State on Friday at College Park Center.
The Mavericks (2-2) came into the game averaging 95.3 points and shooting 50 percent from the floor. Against the Vikings, the Mavericks shot a season-low 33 percent and failed to score at least 87 for the first time in four games.
The Mavericks rallied in the second half, cutting a 19-point deficit to six, 71-65, with 2:30 left, however, they couldn’t get closer and dropping their first home game this season.
“We have to be better defensively,” UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. “That’s where we ended up losing the game. This group is going to find a way to battle through it.”
Senior guard Reger Dowell scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half for UTA. Senior forward Brandon Edwards scored 21 and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Vikings (2-1) used a 19-4 run to take an early 27-14 lead midway through the first half and led 43-28 at halftime.
The Mavericks were shooting just 31.0 percent at the break. Edwards had 13 points and five rebounds in the half.
The Vikings shot 46.4 percent, including 50 percent (7 of 14) from beyond the 3-point arc. Charlie Lee had 15 of his 22 points by halftime.
UT Arlington opened the second half with a three-guard look in an effort to push tempo. The Mavericks got hot and closed the gap to 56-49 on Dowell’s 3-pointer.
The homecoming crowd of 4,824 was the fifth largest for a basketball game in UT Arlington and CPC history.