Men's Basketball

Big win comes in 3s as UT Arlington men blast Bradley

UTA forward Jorge Bilbao, right, puts up a shot over Bradley forward Callum Barker (30) during the first half Tuesday.
UTA forward Jorge Bilbao, right, puts up a shot over Bradley forward Callum Barker (30) during the first half Tuesday. Special to the Star-Telegram

In its final game before a 13-day layoff, UT Arlington broke a 24-year-old school record for 3-pointers and blew away Bradley 97-61 on Tuesday night at College Park Center.

Despite entering the game shooting just 28.3 percent from long range, the Mavericks used ball movement to find wide-open shots and cashed in on 17 3-pointers, 14 of which came from three players — Erick Neal, Nathan Hawkins and Drew Charles.

“We probably shot a few too many, but I guess if you can hit 17, we’ll take it,” coach Scott Cross said.

The Mavericks attempted 40 shots from beyond the arc, tying a school record. The 3-point barrage helped the Mavericks (8-2) earn their best start to a season since 2007-08, when they made the NCAA Tournament.

The Mavericks had 27 assists and only seven turnovers in an efficient performance that couldn’t have happened without Neal’s first career double-double. The Dallas Lincoln grad scored 20 points and dished out 10 assists to give UTA its first points/assists double-double since 2007. He only had one turnover.

“You have a point guard that does that, you’re probably not going to lose that game,” Cross said. “But as a team to have 27 [assists] and seven [turnovers], that’s the best I’ve been a part of.”

Kevin Hervey recorded his sixth double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. But big nights from Charles (17 points) and Hawkins (16 points) sent his stat line to the back burner.

They took advantage of the rebuilding Braves, who are the youngest team in college basketball. With 10 freshmen on the roster, Bradley (1-9) turned it over 24 times and couldn’t keep up with the Mavericks.

Although Bradley held a two-point lead in the opening minutes, the Mavericks caught fire by making 17 of 22 shots and cruised to a 23-point halftime lead. It led to the 36-point win, their largest margin of victory since 2013.

The Mavericks don’t play again until they host Sul Ross State on Dec. 21 at College Park Center.

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