SAN ANTONIO — Larry Wilkins scored a career-high 16 points, but Jordan Reves poured in 21 behind a perfect shooting night from the field and UT Arlington held off a late UTSA rally in a 75-67 victory on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
The visiting Mavericks (7-6, 2-2 WAC) shot 57.8 percent from the floor, posted 32 points in the paint and led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but they had to withstand a furious rally by the shorthanded Roadrunners (4-11, 0-5 WAC) in the final minutes.
Reves made all eight of his shot attempts and converted 5-of-9 at the free-throw line to go along with a game-high eight rebounds to lead UTA to its first victory in the Alamo City since a 100-97 double-overtime decision on Jan. 17, 2009. He was joined in double figures scoring by Drew Charles (12), Brandon Edwards (11) and Jamel Outler (11).
Wilkins made 5-of-6 from the floor and was 6-for-7 at the charity stripe in eclipsing his previous career high of 14 set against Texas State on Feb. 26, 2011. He added six rebounds — four on the offensive glass — and an assist in a season-high 28 minutes of action. The senior center from San Antonio Madison High scored 10 of his points after halftime to help UTSA get to within five points in the final minute.
Kannon Burrage led all Roadrunners with 17 points and Michael Hale III pitched in 15 points, three assists and a pair of steals despite missing nine minutes due to foul trouble.
The Mavericks added to a 45-29 halftime advantage when Edwards drained a 3-pointer one minute into the second half to hand UTA its largest lead of the contest. UT Arlington still held a comfortable lead at 50-31 after a Reves dunk at the 17:45 mark.
Playing without starting power forward Jeromie Hill, who left the game at the 4:49 mark of the first half with an injury, UTSA responded with a 12-0 run that was capped by a Hale III free throw that pulled the home team within 50-43 with 12:13 remaining.
UTA pushed the lead back to double digits six times over the next nine minutes and then found itself up 66-54 after a Greg Gainey layup with 3:39 left.
Hale found his range from long distance to cut the deficit to nine and Burrage converted a pair at the line to make it 66-59 with 1:44 to play.
At the other end, UTA’s Shaquille White-Miller drove to the basket for a layup and after a UTSA turnover, Outler drew a blocking foul on Hale III, his fifth of the night, and made 1-of-2 at the line to put the Mavericks up by 10 with 1:10 on the clock.
Wilkins followed a missed Burrage jumper with a put-back at the one-minute mark to make it 69-61.
Forced to foul, Edwards converted both for UT Arlington, but Wilkins was fouled and made both to answer with 47 ticks left. Reves then missed the front end of a one-and-one and Edrico McGregor’s short-range jumper pulled the Roadrunners within 71-65 11 seconds later.
Reves was hacked again and converted 1-of-2, but a Wilkins layup made it a five-point-game — the closest UTSA had been since four minutes into the game — with 25.2 ticks left.
The Birds fouled Charles, who made both, and then committed a pair of turnovers in the final seconds sandwiched around a White-Miller freebie to see their comeback bid fall short.
UTSA shot 37.5 percent (21-of-56) and made only 24 percent (6-of-25) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, UTA made 8-of-18 from downtown to help overcome a 55.6-percent (15-of-27) effort at the line.
The Mavericks built a 19-4 lead through the first eight minutes, using a 14-0 run keyed by eight points from Reves. Hyjii Thomas, who finished with five points, stopped the UTSA scoring drought at 6:16 with a three from the top of the circle at the 11:41 mark.
The Roadrunners got to within seven after a pair of Burrage free throws with eight minutes left in the half and a Hill trey at the 5:45 mark made it 28-21, but the Mavs closed the first on a 17-8 run in building their 45-29 halftime lead.
The Roadrunners will host Louisiana Tech (13-3, 4-0 WAC) at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12.