Scott Cross knew going into this season that his UTA Mavericks would have to grind out games. But he probably didn't think scoring points would be as hard as it has been recently.
The Mavericks have scored 81 points in just their last two games ,after losing a New Year's Eve matinee to Denver 50-35 for their first WAC loss, followed by Boise State beating them 64-46 on Wednesday.
Both games had an eerie similarity at times. The Mavs couldn't hit shots inside while their opponents kept hitting from outside when needed.
"Our guys did not finish around the basket," Cross said following the loss to Denver. "It is frustrating and hard to do anything when the guys aren’t finishing around the basket.”
UTA shot less than 28 percent for the game, with no one scoring in double figures. By those standards, Denver's 38 percentt shooting looked hot, but the game might have been closer had 35 of the Pioneers' 45 shots not been from three-point range. That plus 50 percent shooting in the second half put the game away.
The struggles continued to start the next game. The Mavs shot 21 percent in the first half against Boise State, needing a shot from Shaquille White-Miller near the end to get that percentage out of the teens.
Despite that, they were only down 26-18 at the half. But then the Broncos went insane from beyond the arc. Boise shot 57 percent from three-point range in the second half.
Jeff Elorriaga hit six of nine shots from beyond the arc for 22 points.
The Mavs will return to WAC action on Saturday, facing Louisiana Tech as a conference foe for the first time since 1987.