The men’s basketball team (8-11, 4-2) was able to claim its fourth straight victory after defeating the University of Arkansas at Little Rock by a score of 82-73 on Saturday at College Park Center.
Head coach Chris Ogden said the win was important for the team as the Mavericks wanted to make home court count before getting back on the road.
“We’ve already given a few away here in our arena,” Ogden said. “We want to be a part of the fight, and to do that you’ve got to protect home.”
Junior guard Edric Dennis built off the momentum he created in Thursday night’s matchup where he scored a season-high 25 points. The Dallas native had already scored eight points seven minutes into the first half to give the Mavericks a 16-13 lead.
UTA did not relinquish the lead after the 13-minute mark had passed. The Mavericks closed out the first half shooting an efficient 14-26 from the field. The team also posted a 5-8 shooting mark from the 3-point line.
The Mavericks went into the halftime break with a 49-38 lead, their highest first-half point total against a NCAA Division I team this season. Dennis led both teams in scoring with 18 points on 5-9 shooting.
The second half came with a shaky start for the Mavericks as the team hit a snag in the scoring department. UTA was only able to hit one shot in the first five minutes of the second period as Dennis scored a 3-pointer to extend the team’s lead to 52-38.
Little Rock tried to fight back into the game during UTA’s cold stretch, as freshman forward Kamani Johnson and guard Markquis Nowell netted two free throws and a 3-pointer to cut into the Mavericks lead.
UTA quickly put a stop to any hopes the Trojans had of coming back after junior guards Brian Warren and Radshad Davis converted two free throws each to give the team a 56-45 lead with a little over 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
Free throws helped the Mavericks maintain the upper hand for most of the game as the team was able to convert 34 of 39 attempts from the charity stripe.
The Trojans could not find a way to take over the game as the Mavericks led for a total time of 37:56.
For the second time in a week, Dennis posted a season-high in points as he finished the game with 32. The junior’s scoring output helped seal the deal for the Mavericks as they defeated Little Rock by a score of 82-73.
Dennis credited Dominick Walker, men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach, for helping him prepare his body throughout the week.
“These past two games he’s been making me get over here earlier than normal,” Dennis said. “He’s helped me out a lot, I felt loose out there.”
The men’s basketball team gets back on the road to face Georgia Southern University at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hanner Fieldhouse.