ATLANTA, Georgia – UT Arlington responded with the kind of performance Saturday afternoon that could jumpstart the rest of the season.
The Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak – the program’s longest in two years – with a dominating 90-69 victory over Georgia State at GSU Sports Arena. UTA played with toughness and poise in beating the two-time conference champions.
The Mavs not only improved to 15-7 overall and 6-5 in Sun Belt play, they received a much-needed shot of confidence to start the second half of conference action. UTA also inched ahead of the Panthers (13-8, 6-6) in the league standings.
The Mavericks were a picture of balance on the offensive end, with all five starters scoring in double figures. Jorge Bilbao notched his fourth double-double this season with game highs in points (18) and rebounds (11).
Erick Neal scored 17 and knocked down 5-8 3-pointers. Drew Charles had 16 points and knocked down four 3s, Kaelon Wilson scored 15 and Jalen Jones added 10. Charles and Wilson each grabbed eight boards. Jones had five rebounds.
The Mavericks took control of the game in the first half and led throughout the second. The Panthers did make a push late by cutting the deficit to 12 (74-62) with less than six minutes left. Charles answered with
a 3-pointer and the Mavs would eventually get the lead up to 21 in the final minute.
The Mavericks were the aggressors in the first half, pounding the ball inside and hitting the boards. UTA enjoyed a 14-6 edge scoring in the paint and a 23-11 advantage rebounding. The Mavs went into the locker room up 47-38.
Wilson and Bilbao embodied that aggressiveness. Wilson scored 10 points in the half and earned eight free throw attempts by attacking the basket. Bilbao was also busy inside with 10 points and six boards.
Neal and Jones each scored eight at the break, with Charles adding six points on two 3-pointers. The Mavs shot 22 free throws in the half (made 16) to GSU’s 10 foul shots.
Isiah Williams led Georgia State with 14 points.