Milestone: UT-Arlington defeats first ever Top 25 team
Before the game, Scott Cross reminded his UT Arlington players they had a chance to make their mark on program history.
“He was like, `This would be the biggest win in school history,” guard Erick Neal said. “That just added fire to it and made us want to play harder.”
Kevin Hervey scored 15 points and UTA beat a Top 25 team for the first time, shocking previously unblemished No. 12 Saint Mary’s 65-51 on Thursday night just more than a week after another special and emotional win at Texas.
The Mavericks (8-3) had gone 0-28 against ranked opponents dating to their first try in February 1967 after becoming Division I in 1959-60. Then, they pulled off their big upset at McKeon Pavilion, where the Gaels had won eight straight and 23 of 24, and cheers were heard from the visiting locker room.
But Saint Mary’s (6-1) never clicked against the scrappy UTA team while returning from a break for final exams for its first game since a win at Stanford on Nov. 30. The Gaels were held to 31.4 percent from the field and shot 8 of 27 on 3-pointers.
“I thought we got outplayed. Pretty simple,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “I thought they beat us at every phase.”
Saint Mary’s trailed 49-30 with 11:50 to play, then used an 11-3 spurt to get back to 52-41. UTA kept answering on both ends with key baskets and rebounds — such as a contested 3-pointer from the top by Drew Charles with 7:42 remaining.
The Mavericks, from the Sun Belt Conference, used quick, crisp passing to create open looks from the perimeter and the paint to outplay the Gaels early. Three times this season — their lone three previous losses — squandered double-digit halftime leads in road losses at Minnesota, Florida Gulf Coast and Arkansas.
“It’s a humongous deal,” Hervey said. “We’re excited and hopefully we can build on this.”
- UTA held a 36-30 rebounding edge.
- The Mavericks have led at halftime in all of their games
- Calvin Hermanson was 21 of 40 from 3-point range coming into the game, but went 1 for 7 from beyond the arc.
UTA: Dec. 16 at Bradley.
Saint Mary’s: Host UC Irvine on Sunday after the Anteaters lost last month in overtime at California.