Texas-Arlington tops UTSA 69-53 to reach WAC finalUTSA's Edrico McGregor (20) blocks a shot by UT Arlington's Jamel Outler (3) during the first half of a Western Athletic Conference tournament NCAA college basketball game, Friday, March 15, 2013 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Karol Gruszecki scored 19 points, and Texas-Arlington cruised into the Western Athletic Conference tournament final with a 69-53 victory over UTSA on Friday night.
Gruszecki was 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Jamel Outler added 13 points for the fourth-seeded Mavericks (19-12), who will face No. 3 seed New Mexico State on Saturday with an NCAA tournament bid on the line. NMSU beat seventh-seeded Texas State earlier Friday.
Jeromie Hill scored 17 for the ninth-seeded Roadrunners (10-22), who couldn't stay hot after knocking off top seed Louisiana Tech on Thursday. UTSA shot just 35 percent from the floor.
The Mavericks took control early, riding a 15-4 run to a 26-11 lead and maintaining a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. Texas-Arlington led 33-20 at halftime and by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Texas-Arlington outscored UTSA 34-14 in the paint and scored 15 points off turnovers.