BOONE, North Carolina – UT Arlington concluded the regular season with Saturday afternoon’s 72-60 loss to Appalachian State at Holmes Convocation Center.
The Mavericks dropped to 16-14 overall and 10-10 in the Sun Belt Conference after splitting the season series with the Mountaineers. UTA is headed to the Sun Belt Championship as the fifth seed, with the opening game Wednesday at 5 p.m. The Mavs will face the No. 8 seed.
“We weren’t tough enough to win this game. That’s the bottom line,” UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said. “We couldn’t get stops down the stretch and all we did was foul them. They got a ton of offensive rebounds against us.
“Even though we’re shorthanded again – Greg Gainey didn’t play, so we’re minus a post player, and all three of our 5 men were in foul trouble. It makes it tough. It’s not an excuse. Guys have to step up and find ways to win basketball games.”
Senior guard Jamel Outler scored a team-high 11 points for UTA. Senior guard Lonnie McClanahan had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists, but left the game late in the second half with an injury.
Sophomore forward Jorge Bilbao provided a boost off the bench with his first career double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) before fouling out with 3:54 remaining. Senior center Anthony Walker scored 10, and freshman forward Kevin Hervey had seven rebounds and two steals.
The Mavericks, who led throughout the first half, were outscored 46-33 after halftime. App State (12-17, 9-11) shot 62.5 percent in the second half.
“In the second half they were on fire and we didn’t do anything to stop them,” Cross said.
Outler started the game off with a 3-pointer and UTA jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Mavericks wouldn’t trail for the remainder of the first half, but App State did tie it at 18-all and went into the locker room down 27-26.
McClanahan scored six in the half and dished out three assists. Bilbao had six points and seven rebounds. Outler had five points.
The Mountaineers hung tough despite shooting 29.6 percent (8-27) and getting outscored 18-4 in the paint. Appalachian State scored 13 second-chance points and went a perfect 6-6 at the free throw line.
The Mountaineers took their first lead (32-29) less the two minutes into the second half. UTA took its last lead (39-38) after sophomore forward Brandon Williams’ three-point play. App State responded with an 11-3 spurt to regain control.
The Mavericks were down 60-52 late before back-to-back baskets from Walker cut the deficit to four with 2:36 left. UTA wouldn’t get any closer.
NOTES: Senior F Greg Gainey did not play. … Freshman F Kevin Hervey made his first start since Jan. 31 and 16th on the season. … UTA finished 7-9 on the road.
UP NEXT: Sun Belt Championship, New Orleans, March 12.
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University of Texas at Arlington
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601 Spaniolo Dr, Arlington, Texas 76019
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