Men's Basketball

UT Arlington men hold on late to beat Fordham in opener

When its 15-point lead disappeared with just more than a minute to play, UT Arlington just needed a little Faith.

In his Mavericks debut, Faith Pope saved UTA’s home opener with a huge steal in the final minute to avoid a season-opening loss to Fordham. Never trailing in the game, the Mavericks held on to win a 77-72 nail-biter Saturday night at the College Park Center.

It came down to doing all the little things we preach and practice every single day.

UTA coach Scott Cross

“That’s what we play for,” Pope said, describing his big moment.

As the Rams closed in on UTA late in the game, they pushed downcourt with a chance to take their first lead of the game. But with 1:51 to play, Pope dove in front of a pass, scrambled on top of it and called a timeout that turned the tide.

Kennedy Eubanks tipped in a missed layup on the next possession, and the Mavericks held on down the stretch.

“It came down to doing all the little things we preach and practice every single day,” coach Scott Cross said. “That was a great first win for our guys.”

Pope led the Mavericks in scoring with 14 points, playing a pivotal role in building the 15-point lead they built before the Rams stormed back.

He led a balanced offensive attack that saw four Mavericks reach double digits. Kevin Hervey scored 12 points and Jalen Jones added 11 points in his debut.

Fordham made eight 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

Before a homecoming crowd, the Mavericks took a 39-26 lead into halftime and appeared to be on their way to a comfortable win.

But the Rams caught fire in the second half. They made eight 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

Fordham went on a 17-10 run and closed in on UTA by cutting the lead to four early in the second half, but Pope grabbed an offensive rebound and finished a three-point play on his lay-in.

The Mavericks outscored Fordham 27-11 on second chance points and forced 17 turnovers.

FORDHAM (0-1): Rhoomes 4-6 2-2 10, Sengfelder 3-8 0-0 8, Severe 6-11 0-0 16, Chartouny 1-3 0-0 2, Thomas 8-19 0-0 21, Anderson 4-8 4-4 12, Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Zarkovic 1-3 0-0 3, Bunting 0-0 0-0 0, Pekarek 0-2 0-0 0, Canty 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-61 6-6 72.

UT ARLINGTON (1-0): Hervey 5-12 0-0 12, Bilbao 4-6 2-2 10, Neal 1-6 4-6 7, Charles 1-6 3-6 6, Jones 5-11 0-0 11, Eubanks 3-7 0-2 7, Hawkins 1-2 0-0 3, Wilson 2-6 1-2 5, Pallas 1-3 0-0 2, Pope 5-6 2-3 14. Totals 28-65 12-21 77.

Halftime—UT Arlington 39-26. 3-Point Goals—Fordham 12-26 (Thomas 5-9, Severe 4-6, Sengfelder 2-4, Zarkovic 1-3, Anderson 0-1, Chartouny 0-1, Pekarek 0-2), UT Arlington 9-25 (Pope 2-2, Hervey 2-7, Hawkins 1-2, Eubanks 1-2, Neal 1-3, Jones 1-3, Charles 1-4, Wilson 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Fordham 35 (Sengfelder 9), Texas-Arlington 43 (Jones 7). Assists—Fordham 16 (Chartouny 5), Texas-Arlington 14 (Hawkins 5). Total Fouls—Fordham 18, Texas-Arlington 14. A—3,863.

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