The Mavericks (9-10, 4-3 Sun Belt Conference) were nursing a three-point lead when a Brandon Williams dunk ignited a quick 9-4 run to close the first half and grab a 37-29 lead at the break.
South Alabama (7-13, 1-6) opened the second half on a 17-8 surge and grabbed the lead after 3-pointers by Ken Williams and Barrington Stevens.
UT-Arlington responded as Jamel Outler sank a 3-pointer to fuel a 12-3 surge and put the Mavericks up for good, 64-56 with 3:10 remaining.
The Mavericks shot 46.9 percent from the field. Lonnie McClanahan scored 19 points.
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, who missed most of last season with a back injury, says he is returning for another year.
Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return to the Badgers for his senior season.
Recruiting reporter Jeff Borzello has gotten grilled for his selections of underachieving and overachieving college basketball programs. He joins Phil Murphy to explain his rankings.