UT Arlington hasn’t been very good in the second half in any of their four Sun Belt games, and that’s something coach Scott Cross intends to fix over the next few weeks.
“Our intensity has dropped. We get leads and I think our guys take plays off and relax,” Cross said. “You can’t do those things.”
They’ll get a chance to nip a two-game losing streak by hosting Arkansas State at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the College Park Center.
Cross believes a lot of their struggles stem from the natural reaction to step off the gas when the team has a lead. But in the last two games, it has cost them in the end.
The Mavericks (8-6, 2-2 Sun Belt) have thrived in recent years on a conscious effort to hustle for loose balls and by playing aggressive on defense.
That hasn’t happened in losses to Troy and Louisiana-Monroe, which is why the Mavericks have dropped into the middle of the Sun Belt pack.
They’ve gotten strong games out of guards Johnny Hill and Kaelon Wilson, but they’ve been hurting since sophomore guard Drew Charles went down with a hip pointer Monday at Troy.
“We miss his toughness. He’s a guy that does all the little things,” Cross said. “Hopefully we’ll have him on Saturday.”
Arkansas State has dropped three straight Sun Belt games of its own. The Red Wolves feature Anthony Livingston, one of the Sun Belt’s most dynamic players. He’s averaging 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
After Saturday’s game, the Mavericks hit the road to play Georgia State, considered one of the top teams in the conference.
A three-game losing streak heading into that game wouldn’t be an ideal situation.
at UTA men
7:15 p.m. Saturday, College Park Center
Records: UTA 8-6, 2-2 Sun Belt, ASU 6-7, 1-3
Radio: KKGM/1630 AM