Bassey, Western Kentucky upset West Virginia, 63-57

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Friday night upset the West Virginia Mountaineers, 63-57, at the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Freshman center Charles Bassey produced a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Hilltoppers (3-1) advanced to Sunday’s championship game against Central Florida.

Bassey, a 6-foot-11 native of Nigeria native who played in high school at St. Anthony in San Antonio, keyed a major upset victory for Conference USA by blocking a shot and making two steals.

Asked about playing against West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate, Bassey told Brad Stephens of the Bowling Green Daily News, “I’ve played against kids like him before. I’m ready to play against anybody.”

Three Western Kentucky guards scored in double figures, including guard Taveion Hollingsworth with 13 points, Josh Anderson (12) and Jared Savage (11).

Forward Esa Ahmad had 12 points and five rebounds for the Mountaineers (1-2) of the Big 12.

The Mountaineers committed 22 turnovers, causing coach Bob Huggins to call his team’s performance “a train wreck.”

“You can’t score when you throw it out of bounds 22 times,” he told the West Virginia radio broadcast.

Trailing by six, West Virginia made a late charge to tie the game at 57-57 on a free throw by Konate.

On the other end, Desean Murray elevated and dunked with the shot clocking winding down to spark a 6-0 run to the finish for the Hilltoppers.

Montana offense sizzles in 93-66 victory over Incarnate Word

Michael Oguine scored a game-high 25 points Friday as the Montana Grizzlies overwhelmed the Incarnate Word Cardinals 93-66 at The Islands of the Bahamas Showcase.

On the opening day of the showcase, being played at Nassau, Bahamas, Incarnate Word (3-2) was within 11 points early in the second half when Montana (3-0) scored 15 straight to take charge.

Oguine was unstoppable, hitting 10 of 11 from the field and four 3-pointers. The Grizzlies hit 20 of 27 shots in the second half en route to 62.3 percent for the game.

Montana’s defense held first-year coach Carson Cunningham’s young Incarnate Word squad to 43.8 percent. Freshman guard Morgan Taylor and sophomore forward Christian Peevy each scored 12 points apiece for the Cardinals.

McGriff-led Oklahoma State shakes off slow start, routs UTSA

Cameron McGriff, Thomas Dziagwa and Lindy Waters III made sure on Wednesday night that the Oklahoma State Cowboys would not lose two in a row to start the season against teams from Conference USA.

Byron Frohnen. Oklahoma beat UTSA 87-67 on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Byron Frohnen

After dropping their opener to the Charlotte 49ers, the Cowboys cranked up the offense and pounded the UTSA Roadrunners 82-60 in their home opener at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Oklahoma State (1-1) shook off a slow start, took a nine-point lead at halftime and then shot 62.1 percent in the second half to overwhelm UTSA (0-3).

McGriff led the Cowboys with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Dziagwa added 16 points on 4 of 5 three-point shooting. Waters added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Once again, turnovers and poor shooting plagued the Roadrunners, who are playing without injured scoring whiz Jhivvan Jackson.

Playing a second-straight opponent from the Big 12, UTSA had 18 turnovers to boost a three-game total to 57.

The Roadrunners shot 33 percent from the field. Byron Frohnen led UTSA with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Coming up

UTSA will return home to prepare for the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida. UTSA will open the event Monday against UC Irvine. The Roadrunners are scheduled to play three games in three days.

Notable

Trailing by 10 points in the first five minutes, the Cowboys rallied behind Dziagwa and McGriff to take a 36-27 lead at halftime.

Dziagwa had nine points and McGriff added eight points and seven rebounds to erase what had been a 9-0 lead by UTSA.

In the early going, Atem Bior had a couple of layups in the first three minutes for the Roadrunners. Nick Allen hit a layup with 14:52 remaining to make it 13-3.

Quotable

UTSA coach Steve Henson. Oklahoma beat UTSA 87-67 on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson. — Photo by Joe Alexander


“We got to change our mindset. We’re just not playing the right way right now. We love our guys. They come to practice and they’re ready to go. But we just need so much more intensity and … physicality. We got a long, long, long way to go.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson said on KTKR radio.

Streak

UTSA has lost 19 straight games over the past nine years against teams from the five major conferences, plus the Big East.

Oklahoma beat UTSA 87-67 Monday night in San Antonio.

The Roadrunners’ last win against a major came on Nov. 15, 2009 at Iowa, when the Roadrunners beat the Hawkeyes, 62-50.

Tribute

Before the national anthem, Oklahoma State paid tribute to two former UTSA coaches, the late Rae Rippetoe-Blair and Brooks Thompson.

Both played at Oklahoma State before going on to coaching careers that led to UTSA.

Rippetoe-Blair was killed in a motorcycle accident in Austin in 2014.

She coached the UTSA women’s basketball teams for 13 years through 2013 and compiled a 216-173 record. Rippetoe-Blair led the Roadrunners to NCAA tournaments in 2008 and 2009.

Thompson died in 2016 after an illness. He coached the Roadrunners for 10 seasons through 2015-2016, leading UTSA to the NCAA playoffs in 2011.

Nick Allen predicts ‘electric’ atmosphere for OU-UTSA

Nick Allen. St. Edward's beat UTSA 77-76 in men's basketball on Wednesday night, Nov. 8, 2018, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Nick Allen

Attendance at UTSA men’s basketball is notoriously modest.

Last year, the Roadrunners won 20 games for the first time in seven years, and the biggest crowd of the season was 2,210 for UTEP.

Historically, it’s a considered a good night when 1,200 or 1,300 fans turn out. Last year, the average was 1,146.

Crowd watchers will be on alert tonight when the Oklahoma Sooners tip off against the Roadrunners at 7 p.m.

Likely, Oklahoma is the most high profile program that UTSA has ever hosted at the Convocation Center, considering that OU plays in one of the major conferences and only three years ago was playing in the Final Four.

“It’s awesome,” UTSA forward Nick Allen said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to show that we can play at that level. There’s not really that much separation between these levels of schools.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Allen can’t wait to see what the atmosphere will be like.

“It’s going to be electric,” he predicted. “It’s going to be big time. It’ll be a lot of fun. People are going to be really into it. We’re really, really into it.

“We’re super-duper excited. I can’t wait.”

Asked what it would be like to play in front of a full house of people every night, Allen’s eyes lit up.

“That would be amazing, he said. “I think that is such an advantage when it comes to any sport. You come into someone else’s home and you feel the energy.

“You feel … not only do you play against five peoople, but I can feel a whole arena of people that do not like me and do not want me to win.”

UTSA played well against OU last year in Norman, trailing by single digits until the last few minutes. The Sooners eventually pulled out a 97-85 victory.

“It was different,” Allen said. “They had Trae Young on the floor, so they played a very different style of basketball. They played very open. The court was very, very spread.

“I think this year, it’s going to be a little bit different because they’re not going to have that. I think they’re going to play with more strength than speed and open-ness.”

OU opened its season with a 91-76 road victory at UT Pan American, while UTSA surprisingly lost at home to a Division II opponent, falling 77-76 to St. Edward’s.

Allen said UTSA has been “locked in, really focused” in practices since the opener.

“We’re not exactly OK with what happened … it put a little taste in our mouth, and we came to work, so, practices have been really good,” he said.

UTSA didn’t shoot the ball very well and, at other times, suffered from too many possessions in which they didn’t get a shot because of turnovers.

“There was some youthfulness to it, definitely,”‘ Allen said. “It’s the first game of the season, so there’s always that …. It was just little things. Like, little wrinkles. Just, attention to detail.”

UTSA hopes to contend for a conference championship


UTSA forward Nick Allen rises up to hit a corner three-pointer in practice. The Roadrunners open the season Nov. 7 at home against St. Edward’s.

Eight days before showtime, third-year UTSA basketball coach Steve Henson stopped to talk to reporters after practice Tuesday afternoon and said he wants his team to compete for a championship.

Since UTSA has been picked to finish fifth in the C-USA poll, reporters asked Henson if the goals are loftier than that, given all the talent returning from a 20-win team.

“We’re not talking about a number of wins or any of that,” Henson said. “But we’re moving in the right direction. We’re stronger than we were. We’re deep. We got some pretty good maturity, some good leadership. We’re trying to position ourselves to make a run at a league title.”

The Roadrunners kick off the season at home against St. Edward’s, an NCAA Division II team from the Heartland Conference, on Nov. 7. On Nov. 12, UTSA will welcome coach Lon Kruger and the high-powered Oklahoma Sooners.

A starting lineup could consist of Nick Allen and promising newcomer Atem Bior in the post positions, with Byron Frohnen at wing and Keaton Wallace and Giovanni De Nicolao at the guard spots.

UTSA is expected to have one of the better backcourts in the conference, especially when sophomore Jhivvan Jackson is cleared to play.

Jackson, UTSA’s leading scorer last year, is recovering well from a knee injury and is tentatively set to play in early December, Henson said.

A promising newcomer

Henson said he has been particularly pleased with the play of Bior, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound power forward from Brisbane, Australia, who will bring a physical style under the glass.

“He’s a strong guy,” Henson said. “He’s extremely quick, rebounds the ball above the rim. You know, we got a bunch of guys that box out and chase after rebounds, but you notice him getting rebounds up higher than the other guys.”

Bior, who played last year at New Mexico Military Institute, averaged 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in leading the Broncos to an 18-12 record.

He started 29 of 30 games, shooting 48 percent from the field and 76 percent at the free-throw line. Bior is classified as a junior.

UTSA power forward Atem Bior hails from Brisbane, Australia.

UTSA basketball: throwing down a few dunks for the fans

The UTSA Roadrunners showed off for the fans Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.

Coming off a 20-win season, UTSA will open the new year on Nov. 7 at home against St. Edward’s.

The Roadrunners host the Oklahoma Sooners on Nov. 12.

UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson expected to return in December

High-scoring guard Jhivvan Jackson’s return from a knee injury is now projected for “early December,” UTSA men’s basketball coach Steve Henson said Tuesday.

Late in the summer, Henson and his staff were hopeful that Jackson would be able to play in the Nov. 7 season opener against St. Edward’s.

Jhivvan Jackson

But the coach confirmed the new timetable after putting his team through its first official practice at the Convocation Center.

“The doctor, in studying that data, just changed his philosophy a little bit,” Henson said. “It pushes his return back. Which increases his chance for a full recovery, which is what we want.

“But we’ll miss him in some of those games now.”

The Roadrunners will play seven games in November, a schedule that includes a Nov. 12 home date against the Oklahoma Sooners.

They’ll play another six games in December, including a Dec. 15 game in North Little Rock against Arkansas.

Conference USA play opens Jan. 3 at home against the UTEP Miners.

Last season, Jackson set the school’s freshman scoring record with 534 points and led the team with 18.4 per game.

He suffered the injury on Feb. 24 in a home game against Louisiana Tech and sat out the remainder of the season, during which UTSA finished 20-15.

It was UTSA’s first 20-win season since 2011.

The former Puerto Rico junior national team guard had surgery in the third week of March.

High expectations

UTSA is expected to be strong again this season, with a backcourt including returning standouts Jackson, Keaton Wallace and Giovanni De Nicolao.

Before Jackson returns to the lineup, Henson could go with a starting guard personnel that would include Wallace, De Nicolao and Byron Frohnen, who swings between the wing and power forward.

Or, he could plug in one of his two freshmen standouts — Adokiye Iyaye or Tamir Bynum.

Senior Nick Allen leads a contingent of post players that include Adrian Rodriguez, newcomer Atem Bior and Toby Van Ry.

Giovanni De Nicolao. UTSA beat Lamar 76-69 on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at the UTSA Convocation Center in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Photo by Joe Alexander

Giovanni De Nicolao

Quotable

“We’re a veteran team right now. I think we can step up and show what we can do this year. Of course, we can still shoot from three. We can run. We just got to improve on some defensive things.” — UTSA junior guard Giovanni De Nicolao.

Calgary edges UTSA 70-69 in Costa Rica exhibition

The University of Calgary hit a 3-point shot with seven seconds left Monday for a 70-69 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners. It is the first of three exhibitions for the Roadrunners in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Statistics

Guard Keaton Wallace led UTSA with 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Wallace hit 6 of 13 shots from the field.

Guard Adokiye Ayaye scored 12 on five of 10 shooting.

Forward Atem Bior had eight points and 12 rebounds, including 10 on the defensive end.

The Roadrunners struggled from long distance, misfiring on 20 of 23 three-ponters.

Zach Yeadon places seventh in 800 freestyle at U.S. nationals

Former Reagan swimmer Zach Yeadon beat his entry time by more than six seconds and placed seventh in the 800-meter freestyle relay Sunday on the last night of the Phillips 66 National Championships.

It was the third top-10 finish of the week for Yeadon, 19, a 6-foot-5 rising sophomore at Notre Dame. The meet was held at the Woolett Aquatics Center in Irvine, California.

Competing for Alamo Area Aquatics and swimming for coach Lou Walker, Yeadon notched a 10th-place showing in the 1,500 freestyle on Wednesday. He added a fourth place in the 400 free on Saturday.

Finally, he took seventh in the 800 with a time of 7 minutes and 56.32 seconds. It was a significant drop from his entry time of 8:02.52. Yeadon was seeded 15th coming into the meet.

Zane Grothe won in 7:44.57 for his second victory in two nights. Grothe claimed the title in the 400 free on Saturday.

Texas notables

Former O’Connor swimmer Mikey Calvillo was 16th in the 800 at 8:02.18.

Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics two years ago, set a U.S. open record in winning the 50 free in 24.10 seconds.

Manuel, 21, from Sugar Land, also claimed first place in the 100 free last week. A swimmer at Stanford, she was fifth in the 200 after not competing in the event last year.

Evie Pfeifer, 19, a rising sophomore at the University of Texas, placed fourth in the 200 individual medley.

Yeadon races into conversation for Tokyo in 2020

I first met Zach Yeadon three years ago.

He was entered in most of the freestyle races when the U.S. junior and senior nationals were held at the Northside Swim Center.

Yeadon, formerly of Reagan High School, has come a long way since then.

He placed a surprising fourth Saturday night in the 400-meter free at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

The U.S. summer nationals are being held in Irvine, California.

Trailing in third place early in the race, Yeadon made a move and surged into the lead at the 200-meter mark.

But in the final 200, the 19-year-old rising sophomore at Notre Dame couldn’t hold on.

Zane Grothe, who took the lead at 250 meters, went on to win in 3 minutes and 46.53 seconds.

Grant Shoults claimed second in 3:46.90. Chris Wieser swam 3:48.92 for third place, followed by Yeadon in 3:49.09.

Yeadon, known primarily as a distance specialist, placed 10th in the 1,500-meter free on Wednesday.

He entered the 400 on Saturday with the 22nd-best qualifying time — a 3:53.10 — and broke it twice.

First, he swam 3:51.01 in the morning preliminaries for the No. 8 time of the session to claim a spot in the championship finals.

Next, Yeadon competed against the nation’s best in the night finals and lowered his time by another two seconds.

In the first 200 meters, he had the lead at 1:52.81. In the second half, he faded. But, still, Yeadon had executed another 2-second time drop.

So, what’s in store for this young man?

If Yeadon gains enough stamina in coming years to kick at the end of the 400 as well as he starts it, he could challenge for a spot on the next U.S. Olympic team.

Notable

Yeadon is swimming the national meet for Alamo Area Aquatics under the guidance of coach Lou Walker (pictured in photo above).

Former O’Connor star Mikey Calvillo, 17, also made his mark in the 400 free. He swam 3:55.56 for fourth place in the ‘D’ consolation final.

Notre Dame highlights

Yeadon, a Reagan graduate, was named Notre Dame men’s swimming Most Valuable Swimmer in 2017-18.

He equaled the best Notre Dame finish at the NCAA championship, placing fourth in the 1,650-yard freestyle to claim first-team, All-America honors.

Yeadon established program records in the 500 (4:12.74), the 1000 (8:51.16) and 1,650-yard (14:34.60) freestyle.

Reagan highlights

Yeadon won a state championship as a Regan High School senior in 2017. Swimming the final individual race of his prep career, he claimed a gold medal in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:19.13. He also took third in the 200 free.