A pregame parade was just the start of UT Arlington’s homecoming festivities Saturday. The Mavericks continued the celebration on the basketball court as well.
UTA used a hot start to the second half and pulled away from Tulsa for a convincing 73-59 victory at College Park Center.
The Mavericks (2-0) never trailed against a Tulsa team that finished 18-14 a year ago and returned two of its top three scorers. The Mavericks lost at Tulsa last season by a near-identical score, 72-58.
But this time around, Tulsa (1-1) was no match.
“I thought the crowd was big-time,” second-year UTA coach Chris Ogden said. “The student section once again showed up. I really appreciated that, and hopefully they’re taking a liking to our team.”
UTA made its first four 3-pointers to start the second half to help extend its lead to 20 with 14:09 to play. Two of those 3s came from senior forward Jabari Narcis, who finished with a double-double. Narcis, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, led UTA with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“We just came out and did what we were supposed to do, rebound the ball and play hard,” Narcis said. “It was just going my way.”
Three other Mavericks also scored in double figures. Senior point guard Brian Warren had 15, sophomore guard David Azore added 12 and senior forward Radshad Davis chipped in 11 off the bench.
UTA started the game on a 12-2 run, but Tulsa responded behind 10 consecutive points off the bench from forward Reggie Jones to tie the game. The Mavericks then went on a 9-0 run and never relinquished the lead the rest of the game.
Jones led Tulsa with 19 points, including 14 in the first half as Tulsa’s starters shot a woeful 2 of 15.
“This time of year, your offense has to play catch-up,” Ogden said. “Your defense has to win you games. And our effort has to be what our program is known for. It just wins you games. I thought our guys were really locked in to do what we needed to do in that area.”
The Mavericks now face their toughest stretch of the season with three consecutive road games starting Tuesday at Nevada, followed by clashes against No. 15 Oregon and No. 8 Gonzaga.
“I got a lot of confidence in this team because of the effort I know they’re going to give and compete,” Ogden said. “I think our best basketball is ahead of us. The strength of this team is the depth.”