UTA men’s basketball defeats Texas State, claims No. 2 seed

Freshman forward Ayoub Nouhi drives past an opponent during the matchup against Texas State University on March 9 at College Park Center. The close game ended with UTA ahead 81-73.

The men’s basketball team (16-15, 12-6) closed out its regular season with an 81-73 victory over Texas State University on Saturday at College Park Center.

The win helped the Mavericks clinch the second seed in the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Head coach Chris Ogden said the team is starting to play its best basketball heading into the conference tournament.

“Guys are together, guys are executing,” Ogden said. “Everybody is ready to do their job, no matter what the game calls for.”

UTA men’s basketball defeats Texas State, claims No. 2 seed

Head coach Chris Ogden celebrates the win against Texas State University on March 9 at College Park Center. This is Ogden's first year with UTA.

Texas State came into the matchup in first place in the Sun Belt Conference and was still considered the favorite in Saturday’s game despite losing to UTA by a score of 84-77 on Feb. 2.

“They’re a beatable team,” junior guard Brian Warren said. “As long as we do what we do, we can get it done.”

Freshman guard David Azore opened up the scoring for UTA when he finished a 3-point play in the game’s opening minutes. The Mavericks went 4-6 from the field at the beginning of the first period to grab a 12-6 lead over Texas State.

Both teams traded blows throughout the first half, but UTA held onto its lead throughout the period. Texas State looked to close the gap on the Mavericks several times throughout the half.

The Bobcats outscored UTA 9-2 in the two minutes before halftime, but a deep 3-pointer from junior guard Edric Dennis with six seconds left on the clock brought the momentum back to the Mavericks.

Dennis led the Mavericks in scoring with 11 points as they took a 43-37 lead into the halftime break.

Warren scored a quick six points at the beginning of the second half to give UTA a 49-39 lead. The Mavericks stifled Texas State on defense throughout most of period. The Bobcats were only able to hit on 10 of the 26 shots they attempted during the second half.

UTA outscored Texas State 38-36 in the second half to seal its 12th conference victory. Warren led the Mavericks in scoring with 24 points, 17 of them coming in the second half. The Indianapolis, Indiana, native went 6-8 from the field to close out the game.

“Shots just started falling,” Warren said. “The first half was just me rushing shots, and second half was me getting shots within the game flow.”

Ogden said he wants his team to work on closing out games before taking the court in New Orleans.

“We’ve just got to stay sharp,” Ogden said. “Situational basketball, we’ve gotta sharpen things up because all of these games coming down the stretch are going to be one, two-possession games.”

With the win, UTA secured a triple bye to the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Championships. Its first matchup will be at 5:30 p.m. March 16 at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.



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