“The execution of basketball is not even close to where it needs to be with this team,” head coach John Brady said. “I've done a poor job with this team the last two or three weeks because we had it going. We have some factions with this team and some other issues we have to work out.
“We're not a collection of players that have bought into one another. Regardless of what we run offensively, we don't run it through and tend to shoot it too quick. Defensively, our effort was okay, but we fouled too much, particularly late in the game. We don't have an identity on offense and that is my responsibility to correct.”
Sean Gardner led the Red Wolves with 16 points on 6-of-14 (43 percent) shooting, while going 4-of-10 (40 percent) from three. Cameron Golden and Anthony Livingston each had six points and six rebounds and PJ Hardwick added six points.
The Red Wolves struggled at the start, hitting just three of their first 17 shots in almost 13 minutes of action. UT Arlington hit four of their first seven beyond the arc and led by as many as 22 in the first half. Trailing 18-8 with just over 12 minutes left in the half, UT Arlington went on a 12-1 run to lead A-State 30-9, but Gardner hit back-to-back three's to end a drought of 4:55 without a field goal.
The Mavericks shot 42 percent (11-26) from the field in the first half and 42 percent (5-12) from three while holding A-State to 21 percent (6-29) from the field and 17 percent (2-12) from the arc.
Two trey's and a long jumper from Gardner sparked the Red Wolves to a 10-4 run that cut UT Arlington's 20-point halftime lead to 14 points at 43-29. The Mavericks countered with a 19-4 run spanning 7:22 to lead the Red Wolves 62-33 with 8:56 remaining.
The Red Wolves attempted 27 three-pointers on the night and hit just six to finish 22 percent from beyond the arc. C.J. Foster nailed his first career three on his only attempt in the game. Daijon Macklien was also 1-of-1 from three, but the starters combined to go 4-of-24 (17 percent) from long range.
A-State shot 31 percent (18-58) from the field and 8-of-12 (67 percent) at the free throw line. The Mavericks were 23-of-29 (79 percent) from the charity stripe and out-rebounded the Red Wolves 41-32. UT Arlington outscored A-State 34-16 in the paint and 11-3 on the fast break.
UT Arlington finished the game shooting 45 percent (24-55) from the field. After hitting 5-of-12 from three in the first half, the Mavericks were 1-of-5 in the second half to finish 6-of-17 for 35 percent.
“We've got a couple days off before we go to Appalachian State,” Brady added. “We'll see if we can correct some things before we get on the road for that game. Our guys have to understand what it takes to win and be unselfish. We aren't close to being the team that we are capable of being and it's my responsibility to fix this team.”
Arkansas State returns to action Jan. 15 at Appalachian State in a 6:30 p.m. (CT) game. The Red Wolves return to Jonesboro for a two-game home stand starting against Texas State on Jan. 17 at 7:05 p.m.