BOONE, N.C. -- Senior guard Erick Neal equaled his career-high with 27 points and led a furious second half comeback but it wasn't enough as the UT Arlington men's basketball team dropped an 80-76 decision to Appalachian State in a Sun Belt Conference contest at the Holmes Center.
Neal went 11-for-24 from the field and grabbed 8 rebounds to lead the Mavericks, who dropped to 9-6 on the season and open league play at 0-2. Appalachian State improved its home record to a perfect 6-0 and moved to 7-7 on the season and 2-0 in the Sun Belt.
UTA returns to action Thursday when it hosts Troy in a Sun Belt contest at 7:15 p.m. in College Park Center. Tickets are available online at UTATickets.com or by calling the UTA Box Office at (817) 272-9595 during weekday business hours.
Appalachian State travels to Lafayette, La. for a Thursday night contest at the Ragin' Cajuns.
The Mavericks suffered through a tough shooting first half and trailed by 20 points at 41-21 at the break. But, much like last year's contest in Boone, UTA found its scoring touch late. However, unlike last season when the Mavericks overcame a 32-24 halftime deficit to win, UTA fell just short despite outscoring the Mountaineers 55-39 in the second period.
Midway through the second half, Neal became the program's all-time assist leader on a Johnny Hamilton layup with 8 minutes left in the game. He has 652 career assists and surpassed Ronnell Peters, who handed out 649 from 1982-86.
Appalachian State leading scorer, Ronshad Shabazz, led the Mountaineers with 21 points, while O'Showen Williams added 14 points. Isaac Johnson grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
HOLIDAY HOOPS YOUTH TICKETS
For the entire month of December (through Jan. 6), all youth ages 18 and under will be admitted free to UTA home men and women's basketball games. Tickets are available at the College Park Center box office prior to each game.
PURCHASE UTA HOME GAME TICKETS
Single game, group and specially-priced multi-game ticket packages to attend UTA men and women's basketball events are on sale through the UTA Box Office in person or by calling (817) 272-8585 and online through UTATickets.com. Single game tickets are priced at $8, $12 and $25 per game, depending on seat location. UTA students and faculty staff tickets are available for just $5 per game. Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available. Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.
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