Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
|Idaho takes on UT Arlington|
Game 17: Idaho (6-10, 2-4) at UT Arlington (8-7, 3-3)
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 (5 p.m. PT)
Where: Arlington, Texas (College Park Center)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Online Video: www.UTAMavs.com
Live Stats: www.UTAMavs.com
A Look at the Mavericks
UT Arlington is 8-7 overall and 3-3 in WAC play. The Mavericks opened a lot of eyes in the first weekend of WAC play with a 21-point home win over preseason WAC favorite New Mexico State. UTA also holds wins over UTSA and Texas State, along with a 15-point loss to Denver and a narrow loss to Louisiana Tech. The Mavericks shot just 25.8 percent overall an 8.7 percent on 3-pointers in a 61-44 loss to Seattle U. UTA averages 60.5 points and shoots 40.3 percent from the floor, while holding opponents to 59.7 points and .373 shooting. The Mavericks hold a +6.6 rebounding margin and average 13.5 offensive rebounds per game. UTA commits 17.5 turnovers per game and forces an average of 15.5 from opponents. UTA opponents are shooting just .308 from 3-point range, but average seven made 3-pointers per game.
UT Arlington Head Coach Scott Cross
Scott Cross was a three-year letterwinner for the UT Arlington men’s basketball team from 1995-98, then spent eight seasons at UTA as an assistant before being promoted to head coach in 2006. He is 111-89 at UTA and has led the Mavericks to a 2008 NCAA Tournament appearance and a 2012 National Invitation Tournament berth. He led UTA to a 2008 Southland Conference Tournament title and a 2012 SLC regular-season title.
Idaho held a double-figure lead in the first half, but turnovers gave Louisiana Tech too many easy points and undid a solid defensive performance on Thursday in a 72-66 loss. Junior guard Stephen Madison tallied his fourth 20-point game of the season with a team-best 21 points and eight rebounds. Senior center Kyle Barone connected on a career-best and WAC-season-high 11-of-12 free throws in the game. The loss extends Idaho’s skid to four games - each loss against the teams ranked first through fourth in the WAC.
Vandals vs. Mavericks
Idaho and UT Arlington have met just twice before in series history in a home-and-home series in the 1987-88 season. The home team claimed each victory, starting with a 73-61 UTA win on Dec. 5, 1987, and followed by a 71-63 Vandal victory on Jan. 2, 1988.
Locking Down the Arc
Idaho and UT Arlington feature two of the top perimeter defenses in the WAC. They’ve limited their opponents to matching 3-point field goal percentages of just .307 this year. They’ve been similarly tough on perimeter shooters in WAC play, where Idaho leads the league with a .261 defensive 3-point field goal percentage and UTA ranks fourth at .289.
Rebounding is Key
The team that wins the rebounding margin on Saturday is likely going to be the team that wins the game. Idaho has out-rebounded 12 of its 16 opponents this season and ranks 38th in the NCAA with a +6.1 rebounding margin. UTA has been every bit as good on the glass this season. The Mavericks are 31st in the nation with a +6.6 rebounding edge. Idaho’s 72.4 defensive rebounding percentage is the best in the WAC for the season, while UTA’s 70.0 percentage is the best in league play so far this season. Idaho senior Kyle Barone leads the WAC with 9.5 rebounds per game in WAC play, while UTA junior Brandon Edwards is right behind in second at 9.2 boards per game.
The Four-Point Swing
The four-point play is a generally rare feat in basketball - but not for Idaho sophomore guard Connor Hill. He’s converted four of them in Idaho’s last 10 games. That total leads the NCAA so far this season. Xavier Munford (Rhode Island) has converted two four-point plays this season, but he’s the only other Division I player with multiple conversions. Hill is the only player to convert a four-point play in consecutive games, which he did on Dec. 6 at Eastern Washington, then on Dec. 8 at UTEP. Interestingly, three of the four conversions have come in road games.
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