Texas-Arlington (12-9) at Idaho (9-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cowan Spectrum (7,000) -- Moscow, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 4-6, Idaho 5-6. Away Record: UTA 8-3, Idaho 4-7. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, Idaho 0-1. Conference Record: UTA 7-5, Idaho 5-8. Series Record: Idaho leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Mavericks of Texas-Arlington shoot for their first three-game win streak of the 2012-13 season on Thursday night, as they clash with the Idaho Vandals in Western Athletic Conference action at the Cowan Spectrum.
Four times previously, the Mavericks have won back-to-back games this season, but they have yet to notch that third win in as many outings. Last week, the team thumped Texas State at home, 75-50, and then followed that up with a 68-63 triumph versus Texas-San Antonio last Saturday in order to move to an impressive 7-5 in league play.
Meanwhile, the Vandals have dropped two straight and three of their last four outings overall, having been swept by the Denver Pioneers with a 74-58 setback over the weekend in Colorado. Last month Denver, yet another new addition to the WAC, posted a 55-49 win in Moscow and now the Vandals are just 5-6 in their own building and 5-8 in conference play, which leaves them in the bottom half of the standings.
Because the Mavericks are one of the latest additions to the WAC, this game is just the fourth in the series between the teams, with Idaho having won two of the first three encounters. Last month, UTA was topped by the Vandals at home, 77-64.
Kevin Butler scored a team-best 17 points in 31 minutes as the Mavericks slipped by UTSA at home last weekend. Also scoring in double figures were Greg Gainey and Shaquille White-Miller with 13 points apiece, while Jordan Reves came up two points shy of a double-double as he logged a game-high 13 rebounds. The squad won the rebounding battle, 42-33, and that was crucial considering they turned the ball over 20 times.
Not much of an offensive team this season, the Mavericks are generating just 62.2 ppg, but the good news is that the defense is holding foes to 60.2 ppg on a mere 36.4 percent from the floor and 29.9 percent behind the 3-point line. Butler is the lone double-digit scorer for the group with his 10.1 ppg, as there are a total of eight players on the roster scoring at least 5.6 ppg at the moment.
Idaho scored a total of just 14 points in the first half against the Pioneers in the last outing and while the visitors did show signs of life after intermission with 44 points, it was already too late. Mike McChristian and Stephen Madison both tallied 14 points and combined for 11 of the unit's 27 rebounds, but the squad was held down by the fact that Kyle Barone attempted just two shots from the floor and finished with eight points in 19 minutes of action.
Barone, one of three to have started every conference game for the Vandals, leads the way with 17.1 ppg and is also tops with 10.6 rpg, but the wins are still hard to come by. Madison (13.4 ppg) has been coming off the bench recently to give the group a spark, but his 28.6 percent effort beyond the arc has hurt more than helped. Connor Hill (12.9 ppg) is just the opposite though with his 47.4 percent effort out on the perimeter.
If Barone takes a back seat again on Thursday night, the Vandals are going to have a hard time generating offense against UTA and that might be all the Mavericks need to score the victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-Arlington 62, Idaho 55
02/14 11:05:16 ET