ARLINGTON, Texas — In the first NIT game played at College Park Center, UTA got a dominating effort – highlighted by 18 points from junior Kaelon Wilson – to post an 85-69 win over Akron in the second round of the 2017 NIT, advancing to the quarterfinal round, in front of 5,390 on Monday night.
UTA (27-8) pieced together a complete effort in the win, extending a record-setting season. The Mavs, the Sun Belt Conference regular-season champion, won their school-record 27th game, improving to 14-0 at College Park Center in 2016-17.
Akron (27-9) was stymied by the stifling defensive pressure of the Mavs throughout the game. UTA led for all but 21 seconds in the game, seeing its lead balloon to 31 with 9:35 left in the contest.
Wilson, who has shined in the starting lineup after an injury to senior starting guard Jalen Jones, chipped in a game-high 18 points – including 11 in the first half – on 7-of-9 shooting, grabbing four rebounds.
The crowd of 5,390 marked the fourth-largest basketball crowd in College Park Center history and factored into the energy on the court throughout the game.