The first home loss of the season was an ugly one.
UT-Arlington came into the Frank Erwin Center with a record of 0-11 against the flagship school, but they left no doubt in the minds of Longhorn fans which school is better on the hardwood. The Mavericks dominated Texas to the tune of 72-61.
Against the Mavericks the Longhorns shot 39% from the field, 3-23 from three.
It was a struggle from tip-off as the Longhorns’ offense was lackadaisical and the defense let the Mavericks move the ball at-will. The only thing that allowed Texas to lead for most the first half was the fact that at one point the Mavericks were 0-12 from three-point range.
However, after Kevin Hervey tied the game up at 27 and then put the Mavs up 30-27 with a three, there was no looking back. UTA settled in and went 7-14 from three and over 60% from the field for the rest of the night unchallenged by the Longhorn defense.
UT-Arlington ended the contest shooting 46.6% and four UTA players finished with double digit points. It was the combination of Kevin Hervey and Drew Charles that gave the Longhorns problems. Hervey led the team with 10 rebounds and 18 points and Drew Charles shot 4-6 from three point land.
The lack of strength down-low was apparent as the Longhorns were out-rebounded in both phases of the game – 21 to 27 defensive rebounds and 35-41 offensive rebounds. The lack of a point guard was even more apparent as Texas committed 16 turnovers.
The only shining spots all night came from Tevin Mack and Jarrett Allen. Jarrett Allen collected a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Tevin Mack scored the team high 19 going 8-14 from the floor.
As for the team’s response, they believe this rocky start will soon pass and they get more comfortable.
After the game, Shaka Smart stated, “We’re a young team. It’s not all going to be great in one day… We knew going into the season there was going to need to be a great deal of growth throughout the season.”
It seems the Texas players are buying into this message of growth. Team leader Kerwin Roach explained some of the confusion on the court by saying, “I wouldn’t say it’s a hangover. We’re just figuring some things out… It’s early in the season.”
On the other end UTA coach Scott Cross smiled as he said, “This will definitely go down as one of the biggest wins in our basketball program.” Kevin Hervey told the media, “It’s gonna be a pretty big party. We’re going to celebrate.”
Now the Longhorns are on a three-game losing skid and have Alabama and Michigan upcoming. Shaka Smart needs to find a way to instill some fight in this extremely young team or the next few games could be rockier than the last three.