Junior leader David Jean-Baptiste gave the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's basketball team a one-point lead on the road with 11:56 left to play Saturday night, with the Mocs looking for a third straight league win.
However, UNC Greensboro closed with a powerful punch paced by Isaiah Miller, who scored 26 points in a 72-52 Southern Conference victory in North Carolina.
The Mocs tried to fight back throughout the entire game, which started with a 6-0 deficit that grew to 36-27 by the break.
Coach Lamont Paris' bunch found life with an 11-0 second-half run, which was capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Maurice Commander and Matt Ryan for a 42-42 tie with 13:57 left to play.
Frustration mounted the rest of the way as UTC (12-7, 3-3) fell to 3-6 in road games.
"Even though we made our runs and found ways to stop the bleeding at times, they kept coming and we were not being aggressive," Paris said in his postgame radio remarks. "We caved in a couple of times after we fought back. It is a good marker for us that we have to learn from. We have to be ready to compete if we want to win this league."
The Spartans (15-5, 5-2) entered play leading the conference in turnovers forced (19.3) and offensive rebounds (12.9) per game. True to form, they took the ball away 19 times and secured a dozen offensive rebounds.
Both teams were dreadful from the free-throw line, shooting a combined 10-of-29, with the Mocs making just three of 11 in the second half and missing the front ends of four one-and-one opportunities.
Ramon Vila led UTC with 15 points and shot 6-of-7 from the field and hauled in three of his five rebounds on the offensive glass.
Jean-Baptiste scored eight of his 10 points in the first half and was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
After a Vila layup cut the deficit to 58-51 with 6:07 left in the second half, UNCG went on a 14-0 run until Ashton Smith hit the back end of his free throws with 28 seconds left.
Angelo Allegri jump-started the run with the first two baskets and went on to finish with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting. James Dickey led all with 12 rebounds for the Spartans.
Miller had a hot hand for the second half in which he scored 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting. The 6-foot guard came into the game third in the conference with 18.1 points per game.
"Miller has a really good floater and is a solid player," Paris said. "He took 23 shots and scored 26 points. I think we can guard him well enough. We just can't play intimidated. We didn't attack them off the dribble enough and put them in scramble mode. At the end of the day it came down to what kind of plays can you make, and they made those and we didn't."
UTC will host The Citadel (6-11, 0-6) in another conference matchup at McKenzie Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m.