Thursday Headlines: UT-Arlington Scores First-Ever Win over a Ranked Team, Middle Tennessee Wreaks Havoc on the SEC, and More

The UT-Arlington Mavericks scored their first-ever win over a ranked team on Thursday night, knocking off #12 Saint Mary's in Moraga, CA, 65-51. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: UT-Arlington Athletics)
The UT-Arlington Mavericks scored their first-ever win over a ranked team on Thursday night, knocking off #12 Saint Mary’s in Moraga, CA, 65-51. (Source: USA Today Sports) (Header Photo: UT-Arlington Athletics)

Thursday night may have only had 11 games on the slate, but it most definitely provided its fair share of excitement, and then some.

Two ranked teams were in action on the night. They both lost.

A Conference USA powerhouse took on yet another team from the SEC. They won for the third straight time against teams from the conference.

There were some career-best performances across the country (Shamorie Ponds and Maurius Hill, we’re talking about you), and an ugly performance from the Fordham Rams.

Despite only having 11 games on tap, Thursday was a night to remember. Here are Thursday’s Headlines.

UT-Arlington Mavericks Knock Off #12 Saint Mary’s for First-Ever Win over a Ranked Opponent

Over the last two seasons, the UT-Arlington Mavericks haven’t been too kind to power conference opponents. Last year, they scored non-conference wins over the Ohio State Buckeyes and Memphis Tigers, and followed that up with a win over the Texas Longhorns on November 29th of this year.

Entering Thursday, the Mavericks were riding a six-game winning streak, and showed no signs of slowing down. They would have their hands full with the 12th-ranked Saint Mary’s Gaels, but they weren’t intimidated in the slightest.

With Kevin Hervey, who’s getting healthier with each passing day after his ACL surgery last January, and Erick Neal leading the way, UT-Arlington can hang with the best of the best in the country.

They showed that on Thursday night in Moraga, CA.

Hervey and Neal combined for 28 points, and UT-Arlington rolled to the 65-51 win over the Gaels, giving Saint Mary’s its first loss of the season.

Both teams went back-and-forth early on in the first half. With the score tied at 12-all, the Mavericks took control of the game, using a 16-3 run to open things up as time ticked away. They took a 36-23 advantage into the locker room, and never looked back.

UT-Arlington stretched their lead to as many as 20 points in the second half, and the Gaels wouldn’t get closer than 11 points. It was an impressive performance on both ends of the floor for the Mavericks, who capitalized on mistakes from Saint Mary’s and made them count on the other end.

Hervey led the way, scoring a game-high 15 points to go along with 7 rebounds, while Neal added 13 points and 8 assists. The Mavericks forced the Gaels into 16 turnovers, which they turned into 23 points, and out-rebounded Saint Mary’s by a 36-to-30 margin.

The Mavericks (8-3, 0-0) shot 49.0% from the field, while holding the Gaels to just 31.4% shooting. Entering the game, Saint Mary’s was second in shooting percentage, hitting on 53% of their shots.

Jock Landale led the way for the Gaels (6-1), scoring a team-best 14 points. He was the only player to score in double figures for Saint Mary’s.

Middle Tennessee Pummels Vanderbilt for Third Straight Win over an SEC Opponent

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders have been a thorn in the side of the SEC recently. Last year, they took down the Auburn Tigers in overtime, and they beat the Ole Miss Rebels back on November 30th of this season.

Now, you can add the Vanderbilt Commodores to the list.

Giddy Potts scored a game-high 27 points, and the Blue Raiders cruised past the Commodores in Murfreesboro, 71-48. He also hit four jumpers from beyond the arc, and pulled down nine rebounds in the win.

Middle Tennessee has now won 7 of their last 12 games against teams from the SEC.

Reggie Upshaw was matched up against Luke Kornet, the Commodores’ 7’1” big man. Upshaw went for 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Kornet was limited to 8 points, on 3-of-13 shooting, and 5 rebounds.

With the win, Middle Tennessee (9-1, 0-0) has won seven straight games, and the Blue Raiders are off to the second-best start in school history. Vanderbilt (5-5, 0-0) has now lost two of their last three contests.

Other Notes from Thursday:

  • The Iowa Hawkeyes knocked off the 25th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones, 78-64, in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. Peter Jok scored a game-high 23 points in the win for the Hawkeyes.
  • Freshman Shamorie Ponds set new career-highs for points (26) and assists (9) for the St. John’s Red Storm in their 90-62 win over the Fordham Rams.
  • Maurius Hill set a new career-high, scoring 21 points in a 67-52 win for the Little Rock Trojans.
  • Home teams went a combined 9-2 on the evening, with the UT-Arlington Mavericks and Yale Bulldogs scoring the only road wins.

– T. Bennett