UT-Arlington Basketball On The Rise Following Program's Biggest Wins
A University of Texas basketball team is making waves nationally — and it's not the one based in Austin.
The UT-Arlington Mavericks beat mighty Ohio State and Memphis on their respective courts — and, on Tuesday, the Mavs take their road show to the home of the Longhorns.
UT-Arlington isn’t known as a college sports powerhouse in Texas. So what happens when the team wins two of the biggest games in program history?
It’s been a crazy start for UTA. After losing their second game, the Mavericks upset Ohio State in Columbus. And then Memphis on its home court.
Head coach Scott Cross says his phone has been blowing up.
"It’s been tough, but a good tough. I’d rather have it that way than the other way when you’re getting your brains beat in and you don’t hear from anybody," Cross said. "By the time I got on the bus after the Memphis game, there was like 220 text messages."
At last week’s home victory over Grambling, Cross’ wife, Jennifer, still couldn’t believe what happened in Ohio.
"I was in a panic. Jumping up and down off the couch, at one point I was running around the couch and we were screaming and yelling. The entire time," Jennifer Cross said.
And things didn’t get any easier three nights later.
"It was actually worse. Because I was like 'Oh my God; we’re going to do this again.' And for the last five minutes I wasn’t seated," Cross said.
UTA is off to its best start in four years. Scott Cross said that team developed chemistry during a preseason trip to Vancouver. This year’s team spent an August week in the Bahamas.
"You could see bonds being built during that time. They were singing ‘Lean On Me’ as a team together, they were hanging out all week long with each other," Cross said. "You could just see that they liked each other off the court, and I think you’re seeing that on the court."
With about a month until conference play starts, the Mavs still have a couple of tough challenges on the schedule. First up, Tuesday night’s game at UT-Austin.
At last week’s Grambling game, UTA alum Robert Dehorney said he’s excited about the chance of stealing another win.
"Hey, beat Ohio State and Memphis. I think I’m going to go to Texas," Dehorney said. "Think I am going to go drive for the game. And so I think Texas is going to be on their guard and say ‘Hey, it’s not just UTA, it’s UTA coming here to play.'"
And this from a team that was picked eighth in the lowly Sun Belt Conference before the season started. Coach Cross, who’s a UTA grad is in his 10 year, and he’s determined to savor this feeling.
"After we beat Ohio State, I was trying to eat well but then said ‘forget it, let’s just go to Waffle House," Cross said.
Good news coach, there’s a Waffle House just 10 minutes north of the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.