March 15, 2013
LAS VEGAS - UT Arlington is on to the Western Athletic Conference semifinals after Thursday night's 83-78 victory over Utah State at Orleans Arena.
The fourth-seeded Mavericks face longtime rival UTSA in Friday's 10:30 p.m. CT semifinal. The Mavericks (18-12) beat the No. 9 Roadrunners (9-21) in both regular-season meetings.
"We know it will be a tough game," UT Arlington coach Scott Cross said of UTSA, which knocked off No. 1 seed Louisiana Tech.
Texas State and New Mexico State meet in the 8 p.m. semifinal. The championship game is Saturday at 8 p.m.
"I'm proud of our guys," Cross said. "They found a way to win. It's tough to beat a team three times."
UT Arlington won all three meetings against the Aggies (21-10) this season.
"Our goal today was to play defense and get stops," Butler said.
The Mavericks came out aggressive at both ends of the court, forcing early turnovers from Utah State and converting on the offensive end. UT Arlington was up 10-2 after a three-point play from Gruszecki and 18-6 following a Butler 3-pointer.
The Mavericks nailed 8 of their first 12 shots, including 4 of 6 from deep. UT Arlington took its largest lead of the first half (27-9) when Reves scored off an Aggies' turnover.
The Mavericks took a 40-29 edge into the locker room. Butler had 10 points and Reves added seven. UT Arlington shot 53.3 percent in the first half. Utah State lost the ball nine times in the half, leading to the Mavericks' 17-3 edge in points off turnovers.
Utah State took its first lead (53-52) with a Ben Clifford's 3-pointer. The Mavericks responded with a Brandon Edwards' layup and Gruszecki's 3-pointer to go back up 57-53.
Gruszecki hit several big 3-pointers in the second half, including one from the corner with 1:46 left for a 75-70 lead.
March 15 (Friday)
Game 7 - Semifinals
New Mexico State vs. Texas State, 8:00 p.m. CT
Game 8 - Semifinals
UTSA vs. UT Arlington, 10:30 p.m. CT
March 16 (Saturday)
Game 9 - Championship
Semifinal winners, 8:00 p.m. CT
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