The UT Arlington Mavericks used a wonderful offensive performance to dismantle the BYU Cougars 105-89 in the Marriott Center on Wednesday night. The Mavericks got just about whatever they wanted all night long as the had the Cougars on their heels from the get-go. They moved the ball with precision to expose BYU's defense deficiencies.
Drew Charles led the way for the Mavericks with a career-best 28 points on 10 for 17 shooting from the floor, including 5 for 12 from beyond the arc. Kevin Hervey also had a big night with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Kaelon Wilson also managed a season-high with 20 points on 8 for 11 shooting from the field.
Eric Mika paced the Cougars with 29 points on 8 for 13 shooting from the floor and 13 for 16 from the foul line. Nick Emery provided an offensive spark as well as he totaled 24 points on 8 for 15 shooting from the floor, including 4 for 9 from beyond the arc.
Why the Cougars lost
The Cougars got embarrassed defensively because of their inability to guard in the pick-and-roll. Sometimes they didn't hedge well on the picks while at others they rotated back to their own man too early, leaving a man wide open. BYU also struggled mightily with weak side help and it turned into more wide open shots that the Mavericks converted on.
The main problem on the offensive end was ball security as the Cougars turned the ball over 20 times. Many of those turnovers came while trying to get the ball inside to Mika while others were completely unforced.
What it means
It was a difficult end to a lackluster season for the Cougars. Many fans had waited years for this version of the Cougars to finally take the floor together and that hype hurt everyone.
Those lofty expectations were never reached as the Cougars were limited by injuries to key pieces. But more than the injuries, they struggled with defensive chemistry and poor shot selection.
Erick Neal had a terrific game running the show for the Mavericks as he handed out 13 assists while committing just two turnovers.
Grading the performances
The Cougars' offense was working at an elite level in the first half as they scored 55 points on 59.4 percent shooting, but they still trailed by seven at the break because they got torched on defense.
In the second half, the BYU offense fell apart and the defense did little to keep pace as the Mavericks stretched their lead to as many as 23 before coming away with a 16-point win.
The Mavericks did a masterful job scouting the Cougars and taking advantage of BYU's weaknesses. They attacked in the pick-and-roll to create lanes to the bucket and open shots on the wings. They also did an excellent job making the extra pass to find wide open shooters as the Cougars were late in their rotations.
On the defensive end, they made key adjustments at halftime to keep the ball out of Mika's hands and it worked like a charm. That adjustment led to a bunch of easy baskets as the Cougars turned the ball over repeatedly while trying to force the ball into the post.
Three telling stats
The Mavericks dominated the Cougars on the inside as they outscored BYU 50-26 in the paint.
UT Arlington finished with 32 points off 20 BYU turnovers compared to just seven points for the Cougars off of nine Mavericks miscues.
The bright spot for the Cougars came on the backboards where they turned 16 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points.