UTSA wins home finale, boosts hopes for C-USA tourney bye

So many emotions were flowing on Sunday morning within the UTSA Roadrunners basketball program.

It was Senior Day, with veterans Nick Allen and Giovanni De Nicolao both set to play perhaps their last game at home.

On top of all that, the Roadrunners were hosting the dangerous UAB Blazers, with both teams bidding for a top-four finish in the regular season and a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament.

Adding even more drama, both Allen and Jhivvan Jackson were less than 100 percent physically. Through it all, the Roadrunners emerged with a 76-70 victory in front of 1,259 fans.

“I thought we fought really, really hard,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Our defense was terrific … In the second half, (the Blazers) did knock down some three pointers. But overall our defense was great, our fight was great.

Steve Henson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners won their home finale Sunday, improving to 16-13 on the season and 10-6 in Conference USA. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“Nick got hurt in practice yesterday and really couldn’t put his shoe on this morning.

“(He) fought like crazy and made some big plays down the stretch (with) offensive rebounds. (He’s) one of the physically toughest players I’ve ever been around. I’m so proud of him.”

Henson was equally impressed with Jackson, the leading scorer in Conference USA, who couldn’t practice the last few days with a left shoulder that he injured in Thursday night’s loss to Old Dominion.

The loss to ODU left UTSA looking at the possibility of an 0-2 record to open C-USA bonus play in the five-team Group 1, with two games yet to play on the road to complete the regular season.

After the season, Group 1 teams will be seeded into the C-USA postseason tournament, with the top four earning first-round byes. Now, after Jackson scored 27 points and Keaton Wallace added 22, the Roadrunners put themselves in good position to earn a bye.

It’s especially important for UTSA, a team that plays with a seven- or eight-man rotation.

“(A bye) is big for anybody,” Henson said. “You win the tournament and you go to the Big Dance (the NCAA Tournament). It’s a much bigger chore if you have to win four days in a row, rather than three. Any of those top four seeds have a big advantage by not having to play that first day.”

C-USA Standings
Group 1

x-Old Dominion 13-3, 23-6
Western Kentucky 11-6, 18-12
UTSA 10-6, 16-13
Southern Miss 9-7, 17-11
UAB 9-8, 17-13

x-clinched regular-season title and top seed in the tournament

Senior Day

Before the game, UTSA honored seniors Allen and Toby Van Ry. They also honored juniors De Nicolao and Mitar Stanocevic, who are graduating early. De Nicolao said afterward that it likely would be his last regular-season game at home for UTSA. He indicated he likely would play professionally next season in his native Italy. UTSA also celebrated the contributions of student manager Danny Soto.

Individuals

UAB — Lewis Sullivan 18 points and 9 rebounds. Zack Bryant, 15 points and 4 assists. Makhtar Gueye, 11 points and 8 rebounds. Jalen Perry, 11 points off the bench.

UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 27 points on 9 of 20 shooting. Also, 7 rebounds. Keaton Wallace 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists. Giovanni De Nicolao, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.

Key stat

The Roadrunners took charge of the game early, holding UAB to 35 percent shooting in the first half. They also cashed in on the other end, hitting 53.6 percent, including 6 of 12 from three.

Coming up

UTSA finishes the regular season with road games Wednesday at Western Kentucky and Saturday at Southern Miss.

Notable

UTSA is shooting for its first NCAA tournament berth since 2011. The only way to get there is to win the C-USA tournament, which is scheduled March 13-16 in Frisco.

If the Roadrunners come up short of the Big Dance, Henson said a possibility exists that they could play in the postseason in one of the other events — the NIT, the CBI or the CIT.

Jackson and Wallace buried three-point baskets in the last minute of the first half as UTSA assumed a 36-26 intermission lead against the UAB Blazers.

At a pivotal moment in the season, the Roadrunners came out with energy and took control of the game almost immediately.

They shot 53.6 percent in the first half, with Jackson and Wallace combining for 23 points.

UTSA’s Allen isn’t fazed by any late season adversity


Nick Allen (25) was among four players honored in Senior Day ceremonies Sunday

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

UTSA has lost three in a row at a critical juncture of the season.

The UAB Blazers are in town today looking to put a fourth straight loss on the Roadrunners.

On top of that, Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA’s leading scorer, may be at less than 100 percent.

Less than 45 minutes before tipoff, Jackson, who injured his left shoulder Thursday night against Old Dominion, was not on the floor warming up.

But with about 15 minutes remaining to tipoff, Jackson took the floor and started to shoot.

I haven’t talked about any of this today with UTSA senior Nick Allen, but I can tell you emphatically that he is not fazed at all.

He will play his heart out, no matter what.

How do I know?

Well, for one thing, it could very well be the last time he plays a game at the Convocation Center.

He’s a senior scheduled to graduate in May.

Unless the Roadrunners play a postseason home game, this will be it for Allen.

Maybe more importantly, I know he will play with an edge today because he has seen much greater adversity than this.

Four years ago, in his first year on campus, the 6-foot-7 native of Arizona toiled through a season that ended with a record of 5-27.

It was a humbling experience marked by some ugly losses and long stretches of utter futility.

By February of that year, it became apparent to those close to the program that head coach Brooks Thompson likely would be dismissed.

Sure enough, UTSA fired Thompson after the 2016 Conference USA tournament and struck out on a search for a new leader.

The situation involving the future of the basketball program was unsettling enough for Allen, who would no longer get to play for the coach who recruited him to campus.

But when he found out that Thompson was critically ill, it was a shock.

After Steve Henson and the new staff arrived at UTSA, the emotions for Allen continued to churn.

They crashed down on him completely when Thompson died at age 45.

A week or so later, Allen was among the UTSA players who gathered at a memorial service in the Hill Country to pay respects to a man who had led the Roadrunners for a decade.

Allen acknowledged in an interview Friday that the passing of his former coach was a difficult time in his life.

“Once he did pass, it was the strangest part of my basketball life ever,” Allen said.
“He was a super-duper human being … It was almost like, you lost a big piece of your why. Why you do stuff. Why you do this. Why you do that.”

Allen paused for a moment and continued, with his thoughts drifting off into a decidedly spiritual realm.

“It was just super-duper tough,” Allen said. “But, it is what it is. I thank him. I’m super thankful for him. I know he’s listening in. He knows how I feel about him.”

Allen has been a key element in UTSAs turnaround as a program.

He has played in 126 games and started 96 in his career, ranking fourth in starts and first in games played.

Allen expressed a wide range of emotions in discussing what senior day will mean to him.

“It’s a blessing,” Allen said. “I’m so appreciative of the city of San Antonio, of all the people that supported us.

“So appreciative of the college, of UTSA, and so thankful for the coaches and what they’ve done for me.

“I really can’t express how grateful I am. Honestly, it’s a lot to invest in some kid like me.

“I just owe them everything. This is a huge step in my life, and I’m so thankful everyone who’s been a part of it.”

UTSA’s Jackson works to get healthy for the UAB Blazers

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson spent most of Friday afternoon’s workout either going through skill drills and shooting, or toiling with strengthening exercises to rehabilitate a sore left shoulder.

Jhivvan Jackson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson drives to the bucket against Old Dominion. – Photo by Joe Alexander

When the Roadrunners competed in sets involving scrimmaging and contact, Jackson did not participate.

It’s not a particularly good sign for the Roadrunners, who nevertheless are keeping a good thought that the right-handed Jackson can play against the UAB Blazers Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Asked about the status of Conference USA’s leading scorer for the UAB game, UTSA coach Steve Henson said he didn’t know for sure.

“You know, when we left last night, we felt pretty good about it. He woke up pretty sore today. Then we were concerned about it. But he did get some good treatment with (trainer) Josh (Modica),” the coach said.

Jackson hurt the shoulder mid-way through the second half of a Thursday night loss to Old Dominion.

After coming out of the game for a few minutes to stretch it out, he re-entered and played most of the last 10 minutes.

On Friday afternoon, Modica worked with Jackson off to the side for much of the 90-minute drill.

“Josh does a terrific job,” Henson said. “Twenty four hours from now, (Jhivvan)’ll feel a lot better and then Sunday at 2, he’ll feel close to normal. I liked the way he walked out of here today, so that was good.”

Forward Nick Allen isn’t worried about the matter.

“He’s good,” Allen said. “He’s just resting up that little shoulder. I think he bumped it or something last nght. He’s good to go. He’s ready. He’s always ready.”

Notable

Because the UAB game is the last one on UTSA’s home schedule this spring, the Roadrunners will honor seniors Allen and Toby Van Ry and both juniors Giovanni De Nicolao and Mitar Stanocevic, who are both graduating.

Even though Old Dominion has clinched the regular-season title, UTSA needs a victory to bolster its chances of gaining a first-round bye in the C-USA tournament.

UAB (17-12, 9-7) defeated UTSA (15-13, 9-6) on Jan. 19 in Birmingham.

The Blazers won by a score of 83-73 with a balanced attack that featured 53 percent shooting from the field and six players in double figures.

After playing the Blazers, the Roadrunners will take on Western Kentucky and Southern Miss on the road to complete the regular season.

C-USA Standings
Group 1

Old Dominion 23-6, 13-3
Western Kentucky 17-12, 10-6
Southern Miss 17-10, 9-6
UTSA 15-13, 9-6
UAB 17-12, 9-7

Old Dominion holds off UTSA, 65-64, to clinch C-USA title

Jhivvan Jackson, coming off the floor in pain in the second half, scored a team-high 21 points for UTSA on Thursday in a 65-64 loss to Old Dominion at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson, coming off the floor in pain in the second half, scored a team-high 21 points for UTSA on Thursday in a 65-64 loss to Old Dominion at the UTSA Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Old Dominion missed a free throw and left UTSA with an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds Thursday night at the Convocation Center.

But the Roadrunners didn’t get the three-point shot they wanted, settling for a too-late-to-matter layup by Jhivvan Jackson with a second remaining.

After that, the Monarchs inbounded the ball, and the buzzer sounded on their 65-64 victory, which yielded both redemption and a Conference USA regular-season title.

A month ago, UTSA erased an 18-point deficit and stunned ODU, 74-73, one of the biggest collapses in NCAA history with less than five minutes remaining.

In the rematch, not only did the Monarchs make amends for their previous trip to San Antonio, they also won their first regular-season crown since 2010 when they were in the Colonial Athletic Association.

“This one feels good,” Old Dominion guard B.J. Stith said. “But we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

The Monarchs (23-6, 13-3) can rest a little more easily now, though, knowing that they have the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament locked up.

As for UTSA, much remains unsettled.

The Roadrunners (15-13, 9-6) will need to regroup quickly to clinch a top-four finish in standings and a first-round tournament bye.

Steve Henson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson – Photo by Joe Alexander

In postgame interviews, Jackson said he slipped when he took a handoff from Keaton Wallace on the last possession.

“By the time I looked down, I was already past the three-point line,” he said. “I tried to get a foul at the layup but they weren’t calling it.”

UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t know why the play didn’t result in a three-point shot attempt.

“I don’t know if we didn’t know the score or thought we had time for a quick two,” the coach said. “Obviously we didn’t have time for a quick two at that point.”

Records

Old Dominion 23-6, 13-3
UTSA 15-13, 9-6

Notable

Jackson, the leading scorer in the C-USA, suffered a left shoulder injury and had to come out with 12:38 remaining. After having it worked on by the training staff, he re-entered the game with 10 minutes left and sparked hope with a dramatic drive for a layup. But his night turned sour a few minutes later when he picked up his fourth foul and had to leave the floor again. He didn’t score again until he hit the last layup.

Quotable

Asked if coming out to have his shoulder checked broke his rhythm, Jackson said, “Yeah, in the moment, the game was really going good. We was getting stops. But, it’s all good, you know. I got back in the game and tried to do everything I could to help the team.”

Individuals

Od Dominion — B.J. Stith, 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ahmad Caver, 13 points and 10 assists. Xavier Green, 14 points.

UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 21 points on 8 of 19 shooting, three assists. Keaton Wallace, 19 points, six rebounds.

Key Statistic

Old Dominion outrebounded UTSA, 43-29, including 15-4 on the offensive glass.

With these two teams, what else would you expect?

As soon as UTSA junior Giovanni De Nicolao released his shot from beyond halfcourt, it looked good. It was good. He swished it to stun the Monarchs, giving the Roadrunners a 34-32 lead at intermission.

Trailing early in the game, the Roadrunners rallied with defense and hustle plays. Here, freshman guard Adokiye Iyaye flies to the rim past a few Monarchs players who should have been blocking out.

Redshirt freshman center Adrian Rodriguez played well off the bench defensively after senior Nick Allen had to come out with his second foul. With Rodriguez in the game, UTSA stopped Old Dominion on several possessions in a row.

UTSA started slowly on offense, but guard Jackson picked it up with a difficult jump shot.

UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson: We’re trying to finish first

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA came back from 18 points down to beat Old Dominion 74-73 Saturday at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Jhivvan Jackson (right) leads Conference USA in scoring, averaging 22.8 points per game. Teammate Keaton Wallace is third at 21.2. – Photo by Joe Alexander

At last, bonus play in Conference USA starts tonight for the UTSA Roadrunners, as they prepare to host the Old Dominion Monarchs.

Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat Florida International 100-67 on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keaton Wallace leads the conference with 109 three-point baskets. – Photo by Joe Alexander.

After an unusually long stretch of 11 days off, UTSA scoring whiz Jhivvan Jackson said he thinks the Roadrunners (15-12, 9-5) are ready to play the Monarchs (22-6, 12-3) and embark on a four-game stretch to complete the regular season.

“We going to be sharp because coach has had us running, going up and down a lot in practice,” Jackson said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re just going to come out and play the same way we been playing, you know. Just get more stops and execute better on offense.”

Old Dominion, Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, UTSA and UAB were first through fifth, respectively, after the first 14 games of the regular season.

As such, they qualified for Group 1 of the bonus play format, which is designed to boost the conference’s postseason profile.

The five teams are playing each other in a battle for the regular-season title.

Also, the top four in Group 1 after bonus play qualify for a bye in the first round of the C-USA postseason tournament.

After last weekend’s opening round, ODU holds a commanding lead in the standings, followed by UTSA and then Western Kentucky, Old Dominion and UAB, with the last three deadlocked at 9-6.

“The season’s not done,” Jackson said. “You know, we’re not finished. We’re trying to get first, you know, and (to do) that we just got to win all four games.”

UTSA hosts UAB on Sunday before embarking on a road swing to Western Kentucky and Southern Miss to close out the regular season.

The UTSA-Old Dominion game has been discussed at length since the conference sorted out the Group 1 schedule on Feb. 13.

It’s a rematch of a Jan. 26 game in which UTSA executed a miracle comeback at the end to beat ODU, 74-73.

In the first game, the Roadrunners erased an 18-point deficit in the final 4:43 to win by one.

They hit seven three-pointers in a 25-6 run to the victory.

Keaton Wallace nailed the go-ahead shot on a three from the corner — while falling out of bounds — with 15 seconds left.

Old Dominion missed three shots on the final possession.

“Incredible comeback,” Jackson said. “It started off by us being together, by staying together. Staying positive.

“You know, we made that run by just getting stops. That’s what we’re emphasizing for the game (tonight.) Just getting stops, and the offense will come.”

The game features four players who are likely in contention for the C-USA’s Player of the Year award.

Guard B.J. Stith and Ahmad Caver lead the Monarchs. Jackson and Wallace have paced the Roadrunners to four victories in which they have overcome double-digit deficits.

UTSA wants to prove a point against Old Dominion


The Old Dominion Monarchs return to UTSA tonight with a chance to avenge an embarrassing 74-73 loss. On Jan. 26, the Roadrunners outscored the Monarchs 25-6 in the final 4:43 to win, prompting a wild celebration at the Convocation Center.

For fans who witnessed UTSA’s miraculous 74-73 victory over Old Dominion on Jan. 26, the memory likely will linger for some time.

Maybe, forever.

The Roadrunners trailed by 18 points when a series of crazy plays ensued, allowing them to mount a comeback in the last 4:43 of the game.

It was one for the ages, the second biggest rally in the last five minutes in NCAA history.

At the time, the feeling among UTSA players was almost surreal, with many failing to fully comprehend what had just happened.

Now, they get a chance to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.

The Roadrunners can stay in the race for the Conference USA title with a win at home tonight against the Monarchs.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA overpowered Bethany 101-77 on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson leads Conference USA in scoring with a key home game against Old Dominion set for tonight. – Photo by Joe Alexander.

Old Dominion, on the other hand, can clinch the regular-season championship with a victory.

The Monarchs also are thinking about making amends.

“We know that they’re going to come out strong,” UTSA sophomore Keaton Wallace said. “I know they’re going to be upset about the game last time. So, we expect them to come out and compete, and we got to do the same.

“We got to prove last time wasn’t just a lucky win.”

C-USA standings
Group 1

Old Dominion 12-3, 22-6
UTSA 9-5, 15-12
Southern Miss 9-6, 17-10
UAB 9-6, 17-11
W.Kentucky 9-6, 16-12

Tonight’s games

Old Dominion at UTSA
Western Kentucky at UAB
Southern Miss is off

Notable

Coming off a home victory over Western Kentucky last Saturday, Old Dominion has three games remaining.

So, a Monarchs victory tonight would give them a three-game gap in the loss column with two left, which would clinch for them the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament.

For UTSA to win the championship, it likely needs to win four in a row — against Old Dominion and UAB at home, and against Western Kentucky and Southern Miss on the road.

Feeling good

UTSA hasn’t played since Feb. 16. Players say they feel good physically entering their first taste of C-USA bonus play, but it remains to be seen if the time off will negatively affect their shooting.

Nick Allen. UTSA beat Southeastern Oklahoma State 70-67 on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior forwardNick Allen has supplied leadership to a team that has won 10 straight at home. – Photo by Joe Alexander

At a Tuesday afternoon practice, the Roadrunners seemed to be hitting a good percentage. Even players who don’t shoot much in games were knocking them down.

“Guys have been getting extra shots after practice,” Wallace said. “It’s carried over (into formal workouts) and it’s goiong to carry over to the game.”

The record

The Nevada Wolf Pack hold the record for the largest comeback in NCAA history with the clock inside five minutes, according to the game notes for tonight’s game at UTSA.

The Wolf Pack established the standard two seasons ago when they stunned New Mexico 105-104 in overtime.

Trailing by 25 early in the second half at Albuquerque, the Wolf Pack were still down 19 with 4:27 left when they started to catch fire.

Nevada made seven 3-pointers in the final 1:27 to tie the game 94-94 at the end of regulation.

Streaking Gonzaga rises to No. 1 in Associated Press poll

With 27 wins and only two losses, the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday moved up to No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll.

Both Gonzaga and No. 2 Virginia climbed one spot after previously top-ranked Duke lost at home last Wednesday to North Carolina.

Gonzaga, from the West Coast Conference, has built the nation’s longest winning streak at 18 games.

All of the victories in the streak have come by double-figure scoring margins.

Deep and talented, the Bulldogs beat Pepperdine by 28 points and BYU by 34 at home last week.

Their streak notwithstanding, the Bulldogs haven’t been tested by many of the NCAA powerhouses this season, which will bring their ranking into question in some quarters.

They won against Duke but lost back-to-back games against Tennessee and North Carolina in non-conference.

Since then, they have stormed to a 14-0 record in the WCC and have boosted their nation-leading scoring average to 90.7 points per game.

Virginia, by contrast, plays at a much slower pace and leads the nation defensively by holding opponents to 54.5 points.

After a 64-52 victory at Louisville, the Cavaliers improved to 8-2 against ranked opponents.

Virginia, third-ranked Duke and No. 5 North Carolina are all tied for first place in the ACC standings.

Despite the loss to the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils dropped only two spots to third in the poll on the heels of their 75-65 road victory Saturday at Syracuse.

Led by RJ Barrett and his 30 points and seven assists, Duke registered the win in its first game without injured star Zion Williamson.

Williamson, the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, was hurt in the first minute against the Tar Heels.

The American Athletic Conference-leading Houston Cougars, 26-1 on the season after a 71-59 home victory over South Florida, moved up one spot in the poll to eighth.

The Cougars have won 11 in a row, and they lead the nation in field goal percentage defense (36.2). The Cougars are fifth in points allowed (60.3).

AP Top 25
1. Gonzaga 27-2 West Coast
2. Virginia 24-2 ACC
3. Duke 24-3 ACC
4. Kentucky 23-4 SEC
5. North Carolina 22-5 ACC
6. Michigan State 23-5 Big Ten
7. Tennessee 24-3 SEC
8. Houston 26-1 American
9. Michigan 24-4 Big Ten
10. Marquette 23-4 Big East
11. Texas Tech 22-5 Big 12
12. Nevada 25-2 Mountain West
13. LSU 22-5 SEC
14. Purdue 22-7 Big Ten
15. Kansas 20-7 Big 12
16. Kansas State 21-6 Big 12
17. Maryland 21-7 ACC
18. Florida State 21-6 ACC
19. Wisconsin 19-8
20. Virginia Tech 21-6
21. Buffalo 24-3
22. Iowa 21-6
23. Cincinnati 23-4
24. Wofford 24-4
25. Washington 22-5

Bobcats take over Sun Belt lead with win over Cajuns

The Texas State Bobcats on Saturday won their 22nd game of the year and moved into sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference.

They also did it in dramatic fashion, building an 18-point, second-half lead, falling behind by a point and then grinding out a 64-62 victory at home over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Guard Nijal Pearson hit a three with 1:21 remaining for the final points of the game.

After the last regular-season home game of the season, Bobcats coach Danny Kaspar took the microphone at courtside and thanked fans at Strahan Arena for their support.

Texas State closes its regular-season schedule with three road games — at Troy and South Alabama and at UT-Arlington.

The Bobcats (22-6, 11-4) hold a one-game lead on the Georgia State Panthers (19-9, 10-5) in the race for the Sun Belt title.

Coastal Carolina, playing at home in Conway, South Carolina, beat Georgia State 95-82 on Saturday.

Records

Texas State 22-6, 11-4
Louisiana 16-11, 7-7

Individuals

Texas State — Tre Nottingham, 17 points. Nijal Pearson and Eric Terry, 13 apiece.

Louisiana — Cedric Russell, 25.

Old Dominion, UAB post C-USA bonus play victories

The Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday took another important step toward a Conference USA regular-season championship.

Trailing by three with 1:25 remaining, the Monarchs rallied with seven unanswered points down the stretch to defeat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 67-63, at Norfolk, Virginia.

It was the first game of the C-USA’s Group 1 bonus play, a new scheduling twist employed this season to boost the conference’s appeal in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee.

Other teams in the group include the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, the UTSA Roadrunners and the UAB Blazers. UAB won on the road, defeating Southern Miss 76-72 in overtime in another Group 1 game later Saturday.

UTSA was off.

Group 1 teams will continue the stretch drive for the C-USA title Thursday night, when the Jhivvan Jackson- and Keaton Wallace-led Roadrunners host the Monarchs at the UTSA Convocation Center.

UAB will host Western Kentucky.

Down by three against Old Dominion, Western Kentucky made a late push when Josh Anderson hit a couple of free throws and Lamonte Bearden scored on a driving layup.

Bearden’s bucket put the visitors up 63-60 with a little more than a minute remaining.

A that point, Old Dominion reversed the momentum and tied the score with an Xavier Green three-point jumper.

On the other end, Dajour Dickens blocked a shot by Hilltoppers’ freshman center Charles Bassey.

Green promptly knocked down another shot, a two-point basket, to give the Monarchs a 65-63 lead with 16 seconds left.

Western Kentucky went to Bassey again, and the former San Antonio high school standout got fouled.

A free throw miss and a turnover by Bassey gave the ball to the Monarchs and allowed B.J. Stith to clinch it with two free throws for the final points.

C-USA Standings
Group 1

Old Dominion 12-3, 22-6
UTSA 9-5, 15-12
Southern Miss 9-6, 17-10
Western Kentucky 9-6, 16-12
UAB 9-6, 17-11

Note: Each team in Group 1 has four games in bonus play. At the conclusion of the bonus-play schedule, the standings leader is the C-USA regular-season champion. The top four get first-round byes in the C-USA tournament.

Saturday’s results

Old Dominion 67, Western Kentucky 63
UAB 76, Southern Miss 72, overtime
UTSA is off

Thursday’s games

Old Dominion at UTSA
Western Kentucky at UAB
Southern Miss is off

North Carolina routs top-ranked Duke, 88-72

Forward Luke Maye produced 30 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night as eighth-ranked North Carolina won decisively on the road against an old rival, toppling the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils, 88-72.

North Carolina’s Cam Johnson also enjoyed a big game with 26 points and seven rebounds at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke played most of the night without star freshman Zion Williamson, who fell and suffered a knee injury only 36 seconds into the action. He did not return.

Subsequently, the Tar Heels ran solid halfcourt offensive sets and rolled behind Maye and Cam Johnson to a 10-point lead at halftime.

North Carolina outscored Duke 17-5 in the first four minutes of the second half to take a 22-point lead.

Johnson capped the streak when he hit a layup with 15:58 remaining to make it 59-37.

Duke closed to within 13 points with 2:44 remaining, when Cam Reddish hit a three.

But the Tar Heels steadied themselves and held on, breaking the Blue Devils’ nine-game winning streak.

Records

North Carolina 21-5, 11-2
Duke 23-3, 11-2

Notable

Williamson suffered the injury on his first touch of the game. On the wing, he drove into the key and went down when the shoe on his left foot came apart. Replay showed him clutching the back of his right leg above the knee.