UTA men's basketball knocks off Coastal Carolina, moves into first place

Head coach Chris Ogden stands after the game against Coastal Carolina University on Feb. 7 at College Park Center. Students and staff wore mustaches that replicated Ogden's during the game.

Mustaches and a must-win attitude helped drive the men’s basketball team (11-12, 7-3) to a 74-54 victory over Coastal Carolina University on Thursday at College Park Center.

Head coach Chris Ogden launched the UTA community into a frenzy after he decided to don a mustache before the team’s big win against Texas State University on Saturday.

“The March mustache, we’re gearing up for March and hopefully playing our best basketball,” Ogden said about his new trademark. “It was funny to see, I’m glad [the crowd] had a good time with it. We’ve gotta let the mustache roll.”

UTA went into Thursday’s matchup looking to get into a three-way tie with Texas State and Georgia State University for first place in the Sun Belt Conference — and UTA succeeded.

The Mavericks went on a 9-0 run early in the first half to take a 13-10 lead over Coastal Carolina. Junior forward Andres Ibarguen looked like a mismatch for the Mavericks as he accumulated six points off of two strong finishes in the paint. The Santa Marta, Colombia, native also reeled in six boards in the game’s first ten minutes.

Ibarguen finished the first half with eight points and eight rebounds to close in on an early double-double. Junior guard Edric Dennis also scored eight points to help the Mavericks take a 33-21 lead into the halftime break.

“We always want to establish Andres early and often,” Ogden said. “He was just a man on the boards, he went and got those rebounds. What he did defensively really set the tone.”

UTA looked to extend its lead in the early minutes of the second half. The trio of junior guards Brian Warren, Tiandre Jackson-Young and freshman forward Ayoub Nouhi kickstarted the scoring for the Mavericks as they outscored Coastal Carolina 15-5 with 15 minutes left to play in regulation.

The Chanticleers were only able to hold a lead for 1:57 early in the first half, putting UTA in the driver’s seat for most of the game.

UTA outscored Coastal Carolina 41-33 in the second half to give the team a 74-54 victory.

Defensively, the Mavericks were able to limit senior forward Zac Cuthbertson, Coastal Carolina’s leading scorer, to five points. Cuthbertson went 1-9 from the field and 1-3 from beyond the arc.

Ibarguen said the team’s game plan was to stay compact on defense and send Cuthbertson to his left side when he went to take a shot.

Dennis led UTA with 14 points, while Ibarguen was able to pick up his second double-double of the season after scoring 12 points and collecting 15 rebounds.

Ogden said he wanted the team to keep the same mentality it has had all season despite reaching the top of the league standings.

“Our plan is one possession at a time,” Ogden said. “We played them once, and we know how good they are.”

Up next, the men’s basketball team hits the court against Appalachian State University at 2 p.m. Saturday at College Park Center.

@c_amaya7

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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