PROVO – Last season’s NIT trip ended for BYU when UT-Arlington invaded the Marriott Center and blasted the Cougars by 16 points. Round 2 for the Cougars wasn’t much better.
“UT Arlington is a great team,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “They were prepared for us. I thought we were in really good shape and ready to go, but they just out-executed us. We had a tough time making shots, especially in the first half. We will learn from it. This was a good test for us.”
Nixon led the Cougars with a career-high 15 points to go with a career-high eight boards. Elijah Bryant added 15 points while Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively. Haws also collected a career-high eight assists.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Bryant and Haws propelled BYU to an early 8-2 lead in the first half. UT Arlington quickly rallied, however, to even the score at 10-all following a long-distance trey from the Mavericks’ Erick Neal.
UT Arlington then went on a 9-2 run to take a 19-15 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play in the half.
The streak continued for the Mavericks as they went up 32-17 during a more than a five-minute Cougar scoring drought.
A Childs put-back dunk brought BYU back within 12, trailing 37-25, and a three-point play from Bryant kept the Cougars within striking distance to end the half with BYU down 43-28.
Four different Maverick players scored to start the second half as they took a 54-34 advantage, forcing a Cougar timeout at the 15:31 mark.
Zac Seljaas hit a 3-pointer, set up by Haws, which was followed by a Childs dunk to help pace BYU, trailing 67-44.
The Cougars struggled with fouls, in addition to high-percentage shots by UT Arlington, as a dunk extended the Mavericks’ advantage to 25, 75-50.
BYU followed that up with a 6-0 run, with shots by Jahshire Hardnett, Childs and Nixon, to get back within 19, 75-56.
A pair of Peyton Dastrup 3-pointers in the closing minutes made it 86-75, but it wasn’t enough as the Mavericks picked up the 89-75 win.
The Cougars stay home at the Marriott Center for their next game, facing Niagara Tuesday at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.
Box score: UTA-BYU-Box
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