UT Arlington’s longest postseason run ended Thursday night with a 63-60 loss to New Jersey Institute of Technology in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinals at Fleisher Athletic Center in Newark, N.J.
The Mavericks (24-11), who tied a school record for victories, nearly battled back from a 58-51 deficit in the final two minutes. UTA misfired on two game-tying 3-point attempts in the closing seconds, including Drew Charles’ shot at the buzzer.
The Highlanders (20-14) advance to Sunday’s semifinal against Columbia.
UTA struggled from long distance, connecting on only 6 of 27 from 3-point range and 25 of 67 (37.3 percent) overall. The Mavericks shot only 31.8 percent in the second half.
NJIT grabbed the lead early in the second half, forcing UTA to play catch-up. The Highlanders went on an 18-4 run spanning halftime to take a 38-34 advantage.
Charles led the Mavericks with 14 points, but was only 6 of 17 from the field and 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
Jorge Bilbao added nine rebounds and five points for UTA, and Erick Neal turned in a strong all-around game with six points, seven rebounds, five assists and had five steals.
After the Highlanders scored the game’s first basket, the Mavericks unleashed a 13-0 run to take command. UTA took a 30-26 lead into halftime, but had more turnovers (9) than assists (7) in the first half.
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