When the UT Arlington men’s basketball team beat San Jose State a month ago, the Mavs held them to a season-low 21.9 percent shooting. While the Spartans more than doubled that number on Thursday, it still wasn’t enough to overcome UTA’s best offensive game at home this season.Jamel Outler and Karol Gruszecki came off the bench and propelled the Mavericks to an 81-74 win over the Spartans at College Park Center.Outler scored 15 points in 14 minutes to lead all scorers, while Karol Gruszecki added 14 of his own, including a big run at the end of the first half where he scored 10 of UTA’s last 12 points before the break that put UTA (16-10, 10-5 WAC) ahead for good.“They’re as good of shooters as you’ll find in the country,” coach Scott Cross said. “They’re starting to figure out what good shots are, and when they hit, it makes our offense so much smoother.”Gruszecki guided a 14-3 run that quieted a Spartans (9-17, 3-12) offense that hit 5 of their 6 six 3-pointers. After scoring just 29 points in his last seven games Gruszecki showed that he hasn’t completely lost his shooter’s touch.“We made him say, ‘I’m the baddest dude on the court,’ ” Cross said about Gruszecki. “He’s a quiet guy and sometimes he starts thinking too much. I don’t care if he misses a shot. I want him to get up and shoot it again.”Outler pieced together his second straight big game where he led the team in scoring. He sank three three-pointers and shot 5 for 9 from the floor.“I just feel like I’m in rhythm right now,” Outler said. “My teammates are helping me and my coaches are telling me to stay confident.”While it’s impossible for the Mavericks to finish their season with a winning record at home, they can finish at .500 with a win in their final home game Saturday against Utah State, who got blown out 84-61 at Louisiana Tech on Thursday.
UTA 81, San Jose State 74