The Movin' Mavs tipped off its 2018-19 season, going 1-1 to open up the Jim Hayes Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on Friday.
Game No. 1: UTA 75, Auburn University 26
The win kicked off the regular season for the Movin' Mavs, as the team is looking to reestablish itself as a national title contender.
In the first few minutes, both teams lacked the edge to finish their chances, leading to a scrappy 12-12 start in the opening 10 minutes. Junior Clarence McCarthy-Grogan could only manage four points from six shots in the early stages.
Freshman AJ Hummer said the team had a bit of "first-game jitters" and needed to be more patient with shooting and build up to be more clinical in attack.
"We kind of rushed a few shots, and I think there were a few possessions that we shot a little high into the shot clock," he said.
But with several defensive steals and rebounds by McCarthy-Grogan, the Mavericks found their rhythm.
Freshman Zach Blair made his presence known when he took the court, finishing the half with 12 points.
By halftime, UTA led 30-17 and was in full control of the game.
That momentum continued into the second half as the Mavericks shut out Auburn for six and a half minutes.
McCarthy-Grogan said the game started off slow defensively, which hurt the offense, and the team realized they had to turn things around fast.
Senior Fabian Romo, who started the game with just two points from eight shots, found his rhythm in the second half and ended with 11 points and five assists.
Blair's impact was felt through the latter half, scoring a further seven to end up with 19 points on the day while adding four rebounds.
Auburn would only go on to score nine in the second half as the Mavericks more than doubled their tally to end the game.
Seniors Adryan Powell and Blake McMinn also contributed positive shooting, with Powell scoring eight from six shots and McMinn notching nine from six.
Head coach Doug Garner said the offense is lucky to have several lineups to change and adjust for its game versus the University of Alabama.
Game No. 2: University of Alabama 69, UTA 64
The Movin’ Mavs fell to the University of Alabama by a score of 69-64 in its second game of the tournament.
Garner said he liked what he saw from his younger players in the close loss.
“One thing we learned is we need to have some more lineups that we can run, and we’ve got to keep working those lineups because we’ve got five freshmen,” Garner said. “Four of them were getting some good playing time. Getting those other lineups ready so that we make lineup switches I think is important for us.”
The Movin’ Mavs fell behind within the first seven minutes of the game after Alabama went up 13-8.
Alabama went into halftime with a 31-29 lead. McCarthy-Grogan led the scoring for the Movin’ Mavs with 13 points.
The Movin’ Mavs quickly jumped in front of Alabama to start the second half, taking a 41-39 lead with 13:24 left to play in the game. Romo quickly scored six points in the seven-minute stretch, adding to the six points he had scored in the first half.
Alabama ultimately pulled away, outscoring the Movin’ Mavs 30-13 in the last 13 minutes of the game.
Garner wants his players to rest up and prepare for the games ahead.
“We’ve got one tomorrow, two Sunday,” Garner said. “They’ve just got to come back fresh.”
The Movin’ Mavs take the court again to face the University of Illinois at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Physical Education Building.