This story originally appeared on KERA.
It’s been a crazy start for the University of Texas at Arlington. After losing their second game, the Mavericks upset Ohio State in Columbus. Then, Memphis on its home court.
Head coach Scott Cross says his phone has been blowing up.
“It’s been tough, but a good tough. I’d rather have it that way, then the other way when you’re getting your brains beat in and you don’t hear from anybody,” Cross says. “By the time I got on the bus after the Memphis game there was like 220 text messages.”
At last week’s home victory over Grambling, Cross’ wife Jennifer still couldn’t believe what happened in Ohio.
“I was in a panic. Jumping up and down off the couch, at one point I was running around the couch and we were screaming and yelling. The entire time,” she says.
And things didn’t get any easier three nights later.
“It was actually worse,” Cross says. “Because I was like ‘Oh my god we’re going to do this again.’ And for the last five minutes I wasn’t seated.”
UT-Arlington is off to its best start in four years. Scott Cross says that team developed chemistry during a preseason trip to Vancouver. This year’s team spent an August week in the Bahamas.
“You could see bonds being built during that time. They were singing ‘Lean On Me’ as a team together, they were hanging out all week long with each other,” Cross says. “You could just see that they liked each other off the court, and I think you’re seeing that on the court.”
With about a month until conference play starts, the Mavs still have a couple of tough challenges on the schedule. First up, Tuesday night’s game at UT-Austin.
At last week’s Grambling game, UT-Arlington alum Robert Dehorney says he’s excited about the chance of stealing another win.
“Hey, beat Ohio State and Memphis. I think I’m going to go to Texas,” Dehorney says. “Think I am going to go drive for the game. And so I think Texas is going to be on their guard and say ‘Hey, it’s not just UTA, it’s UTA coming here to play.'”
And this from a team that was picked eighth in the lowly Sun Belt Conference before the season started. Coach Cross, who’s a UT-Arlington grad is in his tenth year, and he’s determined to savor this feeling.
“After we beat Ohio State, I was trying to eat well but then says ‘forget it, let’s just go to Waffle House,” Cross says.
Good news coach, there’s a Waffle House just 10 minutes north of the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.