The men’s basketball team will try to move to 3-0 for only the third time in 12 seasons this Saturday when it hosts the UTA Mavericks. The Frogs, who are 2-0 and have yet to play a conference opponent, face a Mavericks team that is also 2-0 and is coming off a 83-81 win against the North Texas Mean Green on Wednesday night.
Horned Frogs head coach Neil Dougherty said while his team isn’t quite where they should be, he’s happy with what he’s seen so far.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on before we’re ready to say that we’re a complete and cohesive unit,” Dougherty said. “There’s a lot of coming together still in process, but what I see so far I really like.”
Junior guard Brent Hackett said he’s particularly impressed with how well the team is playing together.
“The balance of our team is good,” Hackett said. “If our big man is in trouble, we have guys that can come in and step it up. Our depth is really good.”
Dougherty said he was also pleased with the team’s chemistry.
“I really like how they work with each other, how they care about each other, how they come to each other’s defenses all the time,” Dougherty said.
The Frogs are an inexperienced team with five new players on the roster this year, but, Dougherty said, this is actually a good thing.
“They’re young, kind of big guys,” Dougherty said. “They don’t know a whole lot yet, but they’re anxious to go out and prove that they can become something.”
Sophomore forward Kevin Langford also said the team’s youth isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
“Our freshmen have to grow up real quick,” Langford said. “But we are at an advantage because they go so hard out on the court.”
Dougherty said there are still many things his team needs to work on.
“We just started working on our zone defense two days ago,” Dougherty said. “There’s so many things we haven’t had a chance to do justice to yet, and with our young team, we’ve had to take things very slow and focus on basic principles like man-to-man defense and our fast break.”
The Frogs have also struggled with players getting into foul trouble early in the game, he said.
“If we continue to be in foul trouble, we’re going to have to be a much better offensive team than what we’ve shown,” Dougherty said.
Though the afternoon game against the Mavericks is earlier than the team is used to, it won’t affect the outcome, Hackett said.
“Twelve is early for us, especially on a Saturday,” Hackett said. “But it’s just another game, and everybody has to come out focused and ready to play, to try and become 3-0.”
The Frogs and the Mavericks tip off at 12 p.m. Saturday in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.