UT Arlington men roll into WAC final, one win from NCAA bid

03/15/2013 10:23 PM

11/12/2014 2:44 PM

Karol Gruszecki scored 19 points, and UT Arlington cruised into the Western Athletic Conference tournament final with a 69-53 victory over UTSA on Friday night.

Gruszecki was 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Jamel Outler added 13 points for the fourth-seeded Mavericks (19-12), who will face No. 3 seed New Mexico State on Saturday (10 p.m. CDT, ESPNU) with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line. NMSU beat seventh-seeded Texas State earlier Friday.

Jeromie Hill scored 17 for the ninth-seeded Roadrunners (10-22), who couldn't stay hot after knocking off top seed Louisiana Tech on Thursday. UTSA shot just 35 percent from the floor.

The Mavericks took control early, riding a 15-4 run to a 26-11 lead and maintaining a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. Texas-Arlington led 33-20 at halftime and by as many as 21 points in the second half.

Texas-Arlington outscored UTSA 34-14 in the paint and scored 15 points off turnovers.

In the quarterfinals on Thursday, Kevin Butler scored 23 points and had a game-clinching steal and layup in the closing seconds to help UT Arlington (18-12) beat Utah State 83-78.

•  New Mexico State 74, Texas State 65: Sim Bhullar had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the third-seeded Aggies advanced to the WAC tournament final.

Renaldo Dixon added 13 points and KC Ross-Miller had 12 for the Aggies (23-10).

Bhullar was 5 of 7 shooting and added three blocked shots. Remi Barry scored 11 of NMSU's 22 bench points.

Joel Wright had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the No. 7 seed Bobcats (12-22) before fouling out. Texas State shot just 34.5 percent from the floor.

New Mexico State never trailed, but Texas State stayed close until late in the first half. NMSU led 41-32 at halftime, and the Bobcats couldn't get within striking distance in the second half.

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