“It feels real good.”
These were the words from UT Arlington Mavericks (11-9, 6-5 in WAC) senior guard Kevin Butler, after the 75-50 win over the Texas state Bobcats 7-17, 3-9 in WAC) at the College Park Center last night.
Butler was taken out of the starting lineup recently, because of a lingering knee injury.
Injury or not, Butler was hot, shooting 50 percent from the field, and leading all scorers, with a season-high 21 points.
“He’s (Butler) so good in transition,” said Mavericks head coach Scott Cross. “When we get a turnover, he attacks. He is very confident in his shooting,” said Cross.
The Mavericks were in complete control from the tip, keeping the Bobcats scoreless the first five minutes of the half.
Butler started things off with the baack to back three pointers to take an early 6-0 lead, with 16:08 remaining.
The Mavs stingy defense was on fire, they even forcet the Bobcats into a shot clock violation. They also forced 14 first half turnovers, but they also committed 11 themselves. Almost half of their points were scored on turnovers in the half (14).
The Mavs went into the half leading the ‘Cats 31-26. Butler lead all Mavs with six points.
In the second half, the Mavs exploded, outscoring the Bobcats 44-23. The Mavericks shot 48 percent from the field, and held the Bobcats to a %2.5 FG percentage, shooting 3-of-24 from the field.
“That’s the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I hope that we can do it again,” said Cross.
For players like junior forward Brandon Edwards, who lead all players with 11 rebounds, beating Texas State was the only thing on his mind. In the last game, the Mavericks won 91-74, but they felt like they could have played better.
“Defense was our goal,” Edwards said. ” “We wanted to step up, and hold them under %40 percent. That’s what we were talking about all week,” said Edwards.
Edwards knows that there is no turning back.
“I feel like I got to rebound, I have to go out there and get the loose balls, to help the team win, and to help the team with that extra energy on the offensive and defensive end,” said Edwards.
Next up, the Mavericks will face off against the UTSA Roadrunners (1-10, 0-7 in WAC), on Saturday February 9th. The game will start at 7 pm. The Mavs are 3-6 at home, and have four more games to avoid a losing record at home for the first time in the history of the College Park Center.
“Overall, I am pleased with where we are right now,” Cross said. “We haven’t played our best basketball. I think we are going to play our best basketball between now, and the WAC Tournament,” said Cross.
For tickets and info, visit http://www.utamavs.com