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.
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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.
This report includes information from