MBB: UT Arlington hosts App State on Saturday night

February 12, 2016

UT Arlington (15-7, 6-5 SBC) vs. Appalachian State (6-18, 4-9 SBC)
Saturday | 7:15 p.m. CT | College Park Center

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ARLINGTON, Texas – After three weeks on the road, UT Arlington is back at College Park Center to open a three-game homestand Saturday night. The Mavericks face Appalachian State in a Sun Belt matchup presented by Papa John’s Pizza.

UTA has regained some momentum by winning its last two games to finish off a 2-3 road trip, including 65-53 at Texas State on Tuesday. The Mavs are sitting fourth in the Sun Belt at 7-5, while the Mountaineers are tied for ninth at 4-9. UTA won at App State 71-67 on Jan. 7.

UT Arlington coach Scott Cross has a better feel for the team, but still sees room for improvement going into the final stretch of Sun Belt games.

“We need to get better defensively,” Cross said. “I think we definitely showed some signs of improvement in the last two games. I think our man defense has been really good. Guys are starting to do the little things that help you be good defensively, jumping to the ball, bluffing, contesting shots and our guys are starting to make some strides, so it’s definitely a positive.

“We’re going to continue to work on our ball movement offensively, and our spacing was really good against Texas State. When we move the ball around and take great shots, we usually make a high percentage of them. I think our guys are getting their confidence back, they’re feeling good about themselves and we’re starting to get our rhythm back.”

Cross has found a spark by moving Kaelon Wilson into the starting lineup for the last three games, putting four guards on the floor to open games. Wilson is averaging 12.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first three starts of the season. Jalen Jones is putting up 17.0 points and 5.3 points during that span.

The Mavericks are 8-1 at CPC this season, with the lone loss coming in the most recent home game. Little Rock beat UTA 68-62 on Jan. 23, the day the Mavs learned leading scorer and rebounder Kevin Hervey was lost for the season with a knee injury.

UT Arlington finishes the regular season with six of eight games at home. Tip against App State is set for 7:15 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game between the Lady Mavericks and Mountaineers. Tickets are available at UTATickets.com.

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