UTA’s win Friday night was special.
Junior guard Shahada Wells had a career night, junior forward Jordan Phillips’ slam dunk ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays and — with the Mavericks’ win — the momentum was on their side.
But the University of Louisiana at Lafayette hadn’t lost back-to-back games all season, and they proved why Saturday with a 68-51 win at College Park Center.
“We got whipped from the opening tip to the last buzzer,” head coach Chris Ogden said. “I thought they were just more physical, came ready to play, played with more energy, passion and aggression.”
Ogden and Wells didn’t make excuses for the team’s performance, which fell to 7-7 overall and 3-3 in conference after the loss.
“I just felt they outplayed us and outworked us,” Wells said.
Ogden said losing is part of the game, and the team can’t let this loss lead to a losing streak like it has earlier this season.
The adrenaline was high at the start of the game as both teams took the floor leading to the opening tip, but it was all Louisiana from that point as the Mavericks were unable to find a rhythm on offense.
UTA’s key moments came too late. The Mavericks weren’t able to find some momentum until there was only a few minutes left in the first half.
The closest they came to the lead after that was in the second half. They were still trailing 50-41, but it was the first time they had Louisiana’s lead in single digits since the start of the game.
Ogden told the team to try and bring the score within 10 points first, and they’ll find enough to win, but the Mavericks couldn’t turn it around.
“We didn’t have it tonight,” Ogden said.
Louisiana ended UTA’s hopes of a comeback with an 11-0 run. It was a 20-point lead by then, putting a win out of reach for the Mavericks.
UTA moved their record to 7-7 this season and 3-3 in conference play.
Wells and junior forward Fredelin De La Cruz led the team with a combined 20 points. De La Cruz completed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mavericks will now look to face the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in a two-game series starting at 6 p.m. Friday at College Park Center.