Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
Mansa Habeeb
Vandals return to host UTA
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 02/12/2013
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Game 24: Idaho (9-14, 5-8) vs. UT Arlington (12-9, 7-5)
When: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 (7:05 p.m. PT)
Where: Moscow, Idaho (Cowan Spectrum)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Television: None
Online Video: VandalXtra
Live Stats:

A Look at UT Arlington
UT Arlington is 12-9 this season and has a 7-5 WAC record after a home sweep over Texas State (75-50) and UTSA (68-63) last week. The Mavericks are actually better on the road (8-3) than they are at home this season (4-6). UTA averages 62.2 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting. The Mavericks allow 60.2 points per game on 36.4 percent shooting, the best field goal percentage defense in the WAC. To go along with it, the Mavericks are second in the league with 39.9 rebounds per game. UTA also holds the WAC’s second-best offensive rebounding percentage (.376). The Mavericks have faced the most opponent 3-point field goal attempts in the WAC this season (23.6/gm), but they’ve held opponents to just a .298 percentage, which ranks second in the league so far this season.

UTA Head Coach Scott Cross
Scott Cross is in his seventh year as UTA’s head coach, where he holds a 115-91 career coaching record. His Maverick career actually started as a three-year letterwinner with the team from 1995-98. He served as a UTA assistant for eight more seasons before his promotion to head coach in 2006. He led the Mavs to a 2008 NCAA Tournament appearance and a 2012 NIT berth. He’s led UTA to one regular season (2012) and one conference tournament (2008) title.

Idaho Vandals
Idaho turned the ball over on five of its first seven possessions on Saturday at Denver and never found any first-half rhythm in a 74-58 loss. The Vandals scored a season-low 14 points in the first half on 6-of-14 shooting with 12 turnovers. The second half was a completely different story, with 44 points on 50 percent shooting and just four giveaways, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a deficit that had grown as deep as 30 points. It was the first WAC road trip this season in which the Vandals failed to secure at least one win.

Vandals vs. Mavericks
The UTA series is one of the least-played among Idaho’s 2012-13 opponents. Thursday’s game will be just the fourth meeting. The home team won each game of a season series in the 1987-88 season, but Idaho grabbed a 77-64 win on Jan. 19 at UT Arlington. Idaho shot 59.5 percent from the floor, four Vandals tallied double-figure points and senior Kyle Barone grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds in the game. Idaho also tallied 12 fast-break points in the game, its highest in a WAC game this season.

A Nice Stretch
Sophomore Connor Hill went 1-of-3 from 3-point range on Feb. 9 at Denver. It ended a career-best 10-game streak with two more 3-pointers for the second-year Vandal. During that run, Hill averaged 15.0 points per game and  3.3 made 3-pointers per game, tallied at least 17 points in five of those games and hit 48.5 percent from long range.

WAC Long-Range Leader
He’s just a sophomore, but guard Connor Hill has no hesitation to take big shots - and make them. He leads the WAC in 3-pointers made per game (2.74) and in 3-point percentage (.463) this season. That percentage is good for fifth in the NCAA so far this season and is the best in the nation among Division I sophomores. The only time a WAC player led the league in both 3-point percentage and in total 3-point field goals made was 2007-08, when Jaycee Carroll (Utah State) made 114 long-range shots with a .498 percentage, but Carroll did not lead the league in 3-pointers made per game.

Milestones on the Horizon
Last weekend, senior center Kyle Barone moved into the top three all-time at Idaho in career rebounds (794), free throws made (344) and games played (119). He was already second all-time in career free throw attempts (490). Six more rebounds will put him in exclusive company with all-time leader Deon Watson (877) as the only two Vandals to tally 800 or more career rebounds. With 10 more free throw attempts, he’ll become the first Vandal in 50 years to attempt 500 or more freebies in a career. The only other was Chuck White, who earned 531 free throws at Idaho from 1960-63. Assuming Barone plays in both games this weekend, he will tie Ricardo Boyd (1987-91) for most games played in Idaho history at 121 on Saturday against Louisiana Tech.

Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.
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