ARLINGTON, Texas – The UT Arlington Mavericks opened their final week of the regular season Tuesday night by beating rival Texas State 75-69 at College Park Center for their 20th win of the season.
UTA (20-9) moved into a tie for third place in the Sun Belt with Louisiana. Both teams are 11-7 with two games left until the Sun Belt Championship tournament, with the Mavs owning the tiebreaker.
The Mavericks were a study in balance with four scoring in double figures. Kaelon Wilson scored 13, Drew Charles added 11 points, and Jalen Jones and Nick Pallas each scored 10. Jorge Bilbao grabbed nine rebounds and Erick Neal dished out nine assists.
The Mavs won despite shooting 38.6 percent. UTA took advantage of their trips to the line all night, knocking down 25-29 free throws, including 15-17 in the first half. The charity stripe wasn’t as kind for the Bobcats, who missed 14 of 27 foul shots.
Unlike the earlier meeting in San Marcos, the Mavericks didn’t blow out the Bobcats. Texas State rallied from down 13 early into the second half to trail by one going into the final eight minutes.
The Mavs buckled down at both ends to get separation and nail down the season sweep over Texas State. Wilson’s three-point play gave UTA a four-point cushion (61-57) and two possessions later Neal nailed his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer for a 66-57 lead that forced a Texas State timeout.
The Bobcats (12-15) are in ninth in the conference at 6-12, trailing 7-11 Arkansas State by one game for the eighth and final tournament spot.