ARLINGTON, Texas (ABC 4 Sports) - An 8-2 run to close out the first half and an 11-0 second stanza spurt were too much for the short-handed Utah State men's basketball team to overcome as the Aggies lost at UT Arlington, 61-46, Saturday night at UTA's College Park Center.
USU, which was making its first-ever visit to Arlington, falls to 19-9 overall and 9-7 in Western Athletic Conference action. UT Arlington won its sixth WAC game in a row as part of winning its ninth game in the 11 overall that started with its win over USU on Jan. 24 in Logan. The Mavericks improved to 17-10 overall and 11-6 in WAC play. UTA and USU will most likely finish fourth and fifth in the league standings, respectively, and if so, would face each other in the first round of the WAC Tournament on Thursday, March 14 in Las Vegas, Nev. UTA now leads the short-history series, 2-1, winning both of this season's meetings as WAC foes after USU won last year's non-conference match-up.
Freshman Marcel Davis posted 15 points to lead the eight Aggie players in uniform Saturday night, as junior guard/forward Spencer Butterfield did not suit up following an injury suffered in Thursday's loss at No. 25 Louisiana Tech. It was Davis' eighth game this season in double-digits and fourth with 15 or more points. Junior TeNale Roland, who started in place of Butterfield, added 12 points for his third-straight game in double-figures and fifth time this season. Roland also tied his career-high with three three-pointers, marking the second time in three games that he has hit three treys, and now has seven games with multiple three-pointers. Roland also posted his third-straight game with five or more rebounds, with six rebounds Saturday, after pulling down a career-high seven in USU's game Thursday.
Junior center Jarred Shaw, a Dallas, Texas native, netted 11 points Saturday in his return to his hometown area, marking his 10th-straight game with double-figures and 23rd total double-digit outing this season this season. Shaw also led USU with eight rebounds, as the Aggies out-rebounded the Mavericks, 37-31.
UTA was led by Kevin Butler with 21 points, hitting five three-pointers, while Karol Gruszecki added 14 points. Jordan Reves snared a team-high seven rebounds.
The Aggies shot 14-of-46 (30.4 percent) from the field, making 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from three-point range, marking the fourth time this season that the Aggies had a better percentage behind the arc than total field goal percentage, including both meetings with UTA. Utah State was also 12-of-18 (66.7 percent) at the free throw line. Shaw led USU with a 5-of-5 outing at the charity stripe, marking the second game in a row that he was perfect at the free pitch stripe, going 6-of-6 in Thursday's loss at LA Tech.
UT Arlington finished the night making 40.7 percent (22-of-54) of its field goals, also shooting better behind the arc by netting 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from distance, in addition to making half of its free throws (6-of-12).
After USU scored the game's first bucket on a putback by junior guard/forward Marvin Jean, UTA went on a 7-0 run, capped by a layup from Cameron Catlett for a 7-2 lead at the 16:05 mark. The Aggies bounced back to knot the score at 20-20 following sophomore center Jordan Stone hitting the second of two free throw attempts with 6:13 to go in the half. From there, the Mavericks closed out the half on an 8-2 spurt, as Reves hit a layup with 36 seconds left, lifting UTA to a 28-22 halftime lead.
A three-pointer by Roland pulled USU within, 30-25, at the 17:20 mark, but then the Mavericks stormed off an 11-0 run, capped by a three-point play by Gruszecki for a 41-25 advantage with 15:24 on the clock and the Aggies couldn't recover. Another Roland triple cut the gap to 48-36 at the 7:40 mark, but that would be the closest USU would get the rest of the game.
Utah State returns home for its final two regular-season games, hosting Texas State on Thursday, March 7 and UTSA on Saturday, March 9. Both games tip-off at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Saturday will be the Aggies' Senior Night, honoring their lone senior, forward Kyisean Reed.