Courtesy of UTAAthletics.com
ARLINGTON – Behind a monster double-double performance from Radshad Davis and a game-high 19 points from Sam Griffin, the UT Arlington men’s basketball team (11-15, 7-8 Sun Belt) picked up a much-needed 77-67 win over Arkansas State (15-11, 7-8 Sun Belt) Thursday night inside the College Park Center.
Davis registered his third double-double of the year and matched a career high with those 14 rebounds, helping UTA to its second-largest rebounding margin of the year at +13, 40-27. Griffin, meanwhile, led the Mavs in scoring for the fifth time in his true freshman season on the strength of a career-high-tying four 3-pointers while also matching a career best with five rebounds.
UTA used a 12-0 run to create a 12-point advantage not even eight minutes into the contest, and the Mavericks didn’t allow A-State to get any closer than eight points the rest of the way as they began a crucial five-game homestand with a runaway win.
In addition to Davis and Griffin, UTA received 15 points off the bench from Brian Warren, who also finished with a game-high-tying five assists. Jordan Phillips scored 10 points before he received a flagrant 2 attempting to protect himself from an A-State player who had his arms around his neck area.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
After UTA shot a season-high field goal percentage in the first meeting with Arkansas State this year (52.5 percent), the Mavs delivered a season-best 3-point percentage in the second meeting Thursday at 46.7 percent (7-15).
All 11 of UTA’s wins have now come when it has led at the half (39-28 Thursday), shot 40+ percent from the floor (49.1, 26-53) and had a better 3-point percentage than its opponent (A-State: 30 percent, 6-20).
Jerry Johnson scored a team-high 17 points off the bench to lead A-State, which also received 16 points from Marquis Eaton and 13 from Melo Eggleston. The Red Wolves shot 42.6 percent (23-54) from the floor for the game.
UTA capped the evening with a 25-19 advantage in points off turnovers, a 30-26 edge in points in the paint and a 17-11 lead in second-chance points to remain just two games back of a pivotal top-4 seed in next month’s Sun Belt Tournament.
THEY SAID IT – HEAD COACH CHRIS OGDEN
“I’m really proud of our guys. Give credit to Arkansas State – they had a good game plan and we knew they were going to be aggressive and drive at us, but we defended well for the most part. I thought our starting lineup got us off to a good start, and Radhad and Sam especially had great games. We built some confidence today, and I trust that our guys are ready for this stretch run.”
UTA’s high energy on both ends was evident from the jump, and it was accentuated with the aforementioned 12-0 run heading into the under-12 media timeout to give the Mavs an early 18-6 lead. Two-thirds of those points came off six A-State turnovers as UTA converted each miscue into 12 total points.
Unfazed by its leading scorer, David Azore, exiting a few minutes later after the Red Wolves had trimmed their deficit down to eight, 18-10, the Mavs slowly extended back to their largest lead of the 1st half at the 5-minute mark by doubling up A-State, 34-17, before settling for a 39-28 advantage at the half.
The Mavs shot 50 percent (15-30) from the floor in the opening stanza while holding A-State to 43.5 percent (10-23). The seven extra field-goal attempts for UTA came from an 18-13 rebounding edge – leading to an 8-2 advantage in 2nd-chance points – and a +2 turnover differential (10-8) which produced a +12 lead in points off turnovers for the hosts (19-7).
Warren, Davis and Griffin each scored 10 points for UTA in the 1st half, while Davis also pulled down six boards, Warren issued four assists and Griffin knocked in two 3-pointers.
A-State trimmed its deficit back down to eight, 40-32, just a couple minutes into the period, but UTA once again had an immediate response and following an 11-2 run had extended back to its largest lead of the night at 17 again, 51-34.
A few minutes later the Mavs pushed to their largest lead of the night at 19, 66-47, and cruised from there as they led by double figures the rest of the contest.
THIS AND THAT
- Azore scored seven points – the third time in four games he’s failed to reach double-figure points after registering 21-straight double-figure scoring performances.
- After playing just five home games in the first 56 days of the Sun Belt regular season – the fewest of any Sun Belt team – UTA played its first contest of a five-game homestand over the next 16 days – the most remaining home games of any Sun Belt team.
- The win was UTA’s 100th (100-64) in the last 4+ seasons (since 2015-16).
- Ogden utilized his seventh different starting lineup of the year, this time utilizing Davis, Griffin, Azore, Phillips and Jabari Narcis.
- Despite their record, the Mavs came into Saturday as the 2nd-highest ranked Sun Belt team in the NET Rankings at #130 (Georgia State #123).
UTA will continue its homestand by facing the league’s top team, Little Rock, on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Trojans (18-8, 12-3 Sun Belt) suffered a 77-66 loss at Texas State on Thursday after getting down 31-9 to start the game.