The Vikings (2-1) shot 11 of 24 from beyond the arc, while holding the Mavericks to a season-low 33 percent from the field.
Cleveland State built a healthy first half lead on a 19-4 run and took a 43-28 into the break.
But the Mavericks (2-2) mounted a rally late in the second half, trimming a 19-point deficit to 71-65 with 2:30 remaining. They cut the gap to 6 points three times in the final two minutes but couldn't capture the lead as Cleveland State stretched its advantage to 10 with 35 seconds remaining on a pair of free throws by Forbes, followed by a steal and dunk by Sebastian Douglas.
Reger Dowell led UT Arlington with 25 points, while Brandon Edwards added 21.
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- Cleveland State