In the final home game of his current contract, Scott Cross guided UT Arlington to a 90-55 rout of last-place Troy on Saturday at the College Park Center, putting everything together in a complete performance heading into the Sun Belt tournament.
UTA (22-9, 13-7 SBC) sealed the third seed in the conference tournament, where on Friday they’ll play the winner of the game Thursday between Georgia State and Texas State.
We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.
UTA men’s basketball coach Scott Cross
The Mavericks held Troy (9-22, 4-16 SBC) to its worst offensive performance of the season, sank 11 3-pointers and outscored the Trojans 42-12 in the paint. UTA is clicking at the right time.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Cross said. “We’re one of the best defensive teams in the league. When we play like we have been, we can give anyone a run for their money.”
Cross, UTA’s all-time winningest coach, just put together his second-best season with a 22-win campaign.
He’s on course to be a free-agent coach who’s won 174 games in 10 seasons at UTA, but he’s confident a contract extension is coming.
“There have been a few talks. We haven’t done anything formal or anything like that, but we have started to talk a little bit,” he said. “I love it here. I played here, I’ve been here for 20 years now. It’s where I want to be.”
39-8 UTA’s scoring run after trailing 18-16 midway through the first half.
The Mavericks trailed 18-16 midway through the first half, but when Nick Pallas converted a basket and three free throws, he ignited a 16-2 run that then became a 39-8 run.
The Trojans, meanwhile, couldn’t keep up on their worst shooting night of the season. They shot just 23.9 percent from the floor and finished their season having lost their last five games.
The rout allowed Cross to use most of his bench and get everyone on the court in their final game before the postseason. His two seniors, Kennedy Eubanks and Courtney Austin, were not only awarded senior ceremonies before the game, but both players started and scored eight of the team’s first 10 points.
Eubanks led the Mavericks in scoring with 15 points in his last game at the College Park Center. Jalen Jones collected the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 11 rebounds.