ARLINGTON, Texas — Kevin Hervey scored 21 points and hit all five of his 3-pointers in the second half to lead UTA to an 83-63 Sun Belt men's basketball win over Georgia Southern Thursday night in the College Park Center.
"There was a stretch there where we missed a couple layups and miss wide-open 3s, and then they are coming down and making contested layups and contested 3s," GS coach Mark Byington said. "When all that was going on, the game started stretching away from us, and they are really good in this building.
Montae Glenn tallied 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots for Georgia Southern (17-11, 8-7). David-Lee Jones Jr. scored 12, and Mike Hughes posted 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Kaelon Wilson netted a career-high 23 points, 18 in the first half, to go along with five rebounds and four assists for UTA (17-12, 8-8), and Erick Neal tallied 17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
With the score tied 41-41, Neal and Hervey each hit two 3-pointers in a 17-0 run for the Mavericks that opened up a 58-41 advantage with 12:36 left in the game. The Eagles missed 10 straight shots and logged two turnovers during the stretch that lasted over five minutes.
Hervey added three more triples, and the cushion ballooned to 69-45 with 9:49 to play. The Mavericks made 9 of 12 from the field with seven of them coming from distance over 7:27 in the frame. UTA shot 55 percent in the second half, including 8 of 17 from distance, and 52 percent for the contest.
We have to play a tougher, more grind-it-out game that has to be a lot more physical and with a lot more energy and toughness. Those things weren't there in the second half and even some in the first half. We were kind of fortunate to be down only four at halftime because I don't think we played good in the first half either."
"It's like you finally make a shot, and then they come back down and hit a 3. I thought early on, we weren't locked in, and I thought David Jones gave us a little energy in the first half and made some shots and made some plays. Besides that, nobody played well. With that, I'll point the finger at myself, and I didn't coach well. We're trying to find a spark - anybody to come in and give us a lift, and David gave us some. It wasn't enough because we didn't have enough guys who had energy. As a coach, you have to go back and look at it and figure out why and fix some things because we don't have a lot of time. A lot has to do with UTA. They are good in this building and they can get on a roll, but I'm really disappointed with the way we played."
Thursday's loss makes the next game even more important as the Sun Belt Conference standings have myriad possibilities as to how it will shake out over the final week of play. Georgia Southern travels to Texas State for a 5:30 p.m. meeting Saturday, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.