As is usually the case, UTA was fighting to the end.
But ultimately, the Mavericks dug themselves a hole they couldn't get out of as their season ended with an 84-76 loss to Oral Roberts in the first round of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.
UTA's season ends at 19-14 but still by reaching a postseason tournament two straight years for the first time in history.
The game started like too many of the ones the Mavs lost this year, as they started cold from the floor. That was a huge mistake against the Golden Eagles, who shot 53 percent for the first half and had a 29-10 lead just more than 11 minutes in. Up by as many as 20, they led 43-27 at halftime.
For much of the second half, the Mavs appeared stuck, never able to get closer than 15 points, until Kevin Butler's three-pointer brought them to within 14 and started a rally that got them to within seven by the three minute mark.
But the rally died shortly thereafter when Butler fouled out, giving two free throws to Warren Niles. Just five seconds later, after a rushed and missed three-pointer from Shaquille White Miller, Jordan Reves fouled out, and Damen Bell-Holter's free throws had ORU back up by 11. UTA never got closer than that seven-point mark after that.
Three Mavericks ended up fouling out in what was a very lopsided affair on the referees' end. UTA was whistled for 36 fouls in the game, twice what ORU was called for.
Whatever the reason was for the loss, all UTA and Scott Cross can do now is start preparing for next season in determining how to replace what they will be losing.
Offense was the Mavs' biggest struggle throughout the season, and they will be losing their two leading scorers in Butler and Karol Gruszecki.
But a bigger loss will be their defensive presence in the middle in Jordan Reves, who's shot blocking ability was a frequent game changer.
Followers of the Mavs may not yet know if platers like Greg Gainey and Brandon Edwards will step up more starting in November 2013. But the planning will certainly begin soon enough.