UTSA’s Nick Allen played with a sore foot but recorded 12 points and 8 rebounds in 18 minutes in the Roadrunners’ 101-77 victory over Bethany on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 at the UTSA Convocation Center. – photo by Joe Alexander
The UTSA Roadrunners enjoyed the feeling of a 101-77 victory Monday night over the Bethany College Swedes.
A dozen Roadrunners played and 11 of them scored, as they kicked the lead up to as many as 33 points in the last few minutes at the Convocation Center.
In the aftermath, however, UTSA senior Nick Allen said he recalled a different mood in the dressing room at halftime.
It was a foul mood, in some respects.
Players were mad that they led the NAIA program from Lindsborg, Kansas, by only eight points.
Coach Steve Henson was upset about it, as well, and he let the players know it.
“He was just frustrated because I think he sees what the older guys are seeing,” senior forward Nick Allen said. “Man, we can be so good. Why are we not fulfilling our potential for 40 minutes?’ ”
In response, the Roadrunners clamped down on defense early in the second half to take charge on one end of the floor.
On the other end, they ran their offense well, at one time outscoring the Swedes 16-0 to build a 65-42 lead.
Bethany never got closer than 21 the rest of the way.
Guards Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson scored 23 points apiece to lead the Roadrunners. The two were aided by Allen, who produced 12 points and eight rebounds and Adokiye Iyaye, who added 11 points off the bench. Byron Frohnen scored 10.
“We felt good about the way we came out and started the second half. We had to get after ’em at haltime a little bit, which we didn’t want to do. We just didn’t quite have enough fight there in the first half.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson
Ties that bind
Bethany is led by head coach Dan O’Dowd, a former UTSA assistant coach. Former UTSA center Edrico McGregor is a Bethany assistant. O’Dowd, who worked under the late Brooks Thompson at UTSA, served as the initial recruiting contact for Allen.
In addition, UTSA coach Steve Henson lived in Lindsborg when he was a toddler.
With his father an athlete and a student-teacher at Bethany, Henson recalled that he once wore a “Swede outfit,” complete with a “fake beard, a helmet and a fake sword.”
Jhivvan Jackson passes to Keaton Wallace, who soars for a first-half alley-oop slam.
San Antonio connections
Bethany point guard Isiah Saenz, from St. Anthony, produced 9 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Forward Lavaris Duncan, from Judson, had 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Keaton Wallace scored a career-high 35 points to lead UTSA to a 104-74 victory over Mid-American Christian on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, at the UTSA Convocation Center. – photo by Joe Alexander
With Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson leading a rejuvenated offense, the UTSA Roadrunners blew out the NAIA Mid-America Christian Evangels, 104-74, Saturday afternoon.
Yes, it was fun for the Roadrunners to win at home again, finally, after an 0-3 start at the Convocation Center. It also felt good to produce season-highs in points and field goal percentage (60.3).
But more than that, UTSA coach Steve Henson commended the players’ focus and work ethic in practices since a deflating 69-68 home loss to Texas State last Saturday.
“I liked the entire week,” Henson said. “Certainly, this is a results-based thing that we’re involved in here and we have to find a way to win ball games. But we also have to find a way to get better every week and every opportunity. I think we really took advantage of that this week.”
UTSA — Wallace scored a career-high 35 points on 12 of 16 shooting. He was one off the school record with nine threes. Jackson produced a season-high 28 on an 11-for-21 effort.
Mid-America Christian — Char Beauregard, Jr., scored 15. Daniel William and Justin Bogle had 13 apiece.
Mid-America Christian 6-3
Henson shuffled his starting lineup, giving Jackson his first start of the season. Jackson responded with a 25-minute performance that included six rebounds, three assists and a team-high four turnovers. The move seemed to create space on the floor for Wallace, who was getting open looks consistently.
Asked what went into the decision to start Jackson, Henson said: “Today was the first day we didn’t have to monitor his minutes. We didn’t know where his conditioning would even be prior to being unrestricted. So, it was good to see that that was not a factor. Really, just to give us a jolt offensively.”
Jhivvan Jackson produced a season-high 28 points against Mid-America Christian.
Texas State players and fans celebrate a 69-68 victory Saturday afternoon at the UTSA Convocation Center.
An impromptu party materialized behind the visitors’ bench at the UTSA Convocation Center late Saturday afternoon.
For fans of the Texas State Bobcats, the celebration likely carried on late into the night following a pulsating 69-68 victory over the Roadrunners.
As for Texas State coach Danny Kaspar, he had other plans.
“I’ll sleep better tonight,” he said.
At one juncture near the end of the game, Kaspar’s team seemed to be coming unglued.
It committed a turnover in front of the Texas State bench, and with 24 seconds remaining, UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson sank two free throws to give the Roadrunners a 68-65 lead.
Not to be denied, the Bobcats answered with 13 seconds left on a clutch, game-tying, three-point shot from the top of the arc by guard Nijal Pearson.
UTSA, in response, rushed it upcourt with its own star on the dribble.
Jackson, on the right wing, created separation from a defender with a cross-over dribble, but his three-point jumper for the lead rimmed out.
“A shot I take hundreds of times every day,” Jackson lamented.
As for the rebound, UTSA’s Byron Frohnen appeared to get his hands on it, but he lost control, and it caromed off to the side, in front of the Roadrunners’ bench.
From there, Texas State’s Jaylen Shead secured it and started his dribble upcourt.
Suddenly, UTSA’s Keaton Wallace confronted Shead, grabbing at the ball, as a referee whistled him for a foul in front of the UTSA bench.
After a clock re-set, Shead hit the first free throw for the final point of the game with 0.9 seconds left.
Remembering the moment when he heard victory cheers from the Texas State fans, Kaspar admitted that it felt good. He also said he felt fortunate to win, under the circumstances.
In discussing the final, frantic seconds, the coach said, “We got to hit a three to win the game, probably. We hit it. They’re going to have a shot to win the game. They don’t (make it), and we get a foul out of it.
“So, I got to go to church tomorrow and say thank you.”
Texas State 7-1
The I-35 rivalry
San Marcos-based Texas State, from the Sun Belt Conference, broke a two-game losing streak in the series to UTSA. The Bobcats earned a measure of redemption after blowing a late nine-point lead in a one-point loss last year at home. UTSA, from Conference USA, still leads the overall series, 35-25.
Texas State — Nijal Pearson, 26 points on 10 of 21 shooting, including 5 threes. Also seven rebounds, a block and a steal. Alex Peacock, 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting. Alonzo Sule, eight points off the bench, on 3 of 6 from the field.
UTSA — Jackson, 22 points on 6 of 18 shooting. He hit 5 of 11 from three. Keaton Wallace, 19 points. Giovanni De Nicolao, 13.
Texas State’s Nijal Pearson steps back and drills a three to tie the game with 13 seconds left.
Pearson, a 6-foot-5 junior from Beaumont Central, continues to play at a high level. He has scored 33, 25 and 26 points in his last three games, respectively.
In torching the Roadrunners, he scored in a variety of ways. On a few of his three-pointers, Pearson stepped back and swished long balls with a hand in his face.
One of his buckets in the first half came on a sweet Euro-step move, when he twisted through defenders and sank a layup (see video below).
Establishing an identity
UTSA had plenty of chances to take charge of the game but shot poorly from the field, hitting only 36.4 percent for the game, including 9 of 25 in the first half and 11 of 30 in the second half.
“We’re taking some baby steps,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “But we got a lot of work to do if we’re going to be a really, really good team. I think we’ve got the pieces to do that.
“We’ve still got to figure out what our identity is going to be. We’re not playing real, real fast. We’re not defending at a real high level. We’re kind of average in a lot of areas right now.
“If we’re going to be a really good team, we need to establish an identity.”
UTSA point guard Giovanni De Nicolao hits a wild runner in the opening minute Saturday against Texas State.
Lamenting the late miss
UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson, on his three-point shot that rimmed out: “It’s a shot I take hundreds of times every day. I thought it was a great shot, too, and the team wanted me to take it. I took it. It just didn’t fall.”
Henson seemed to think that Wallace was overly aggressive on the play the resulted in the late whistle, even though calls like that are often times not called at all.
“He went and grabbed the ball with two hands,” Henson said. “There was clearly contact there. It was right in front of me. I didn’t get a great look at it.
“It’s the kind of play, you have to let it go. As much as he wanted to go get the basketball, kinda had to let that one go.”
Guard Jhivvan Jackson said it feels “really good” to be back on the floor, playing in games again for the UTSA Roadrunners.
UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson shoots around before a Nov. 12 home game against Oklahoma. – photo by Joe Alexander
Likewise, it feels good for the Roadrunners to see their leading scorer from a year ago rounding into form.
“He’s worked so hard,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said Thursday afternoon. “He’s had such a good offseason in so many ways.”
The offseason, for Jackson, was both painful and grueling.
Knocked out at the end of last season with a left knee injury, he underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery and spent months consumed with strength exercises, combined with basketball workouts.
Jackson sat out the first three games of the new season, but he has since returned to play the last four, averaging 15.5 points in 16.5 minutes off the bench in that span.
It’s hardly a coincidence that UTSA (2-5) has won two straight leading into a Saturday afternoon test at home against the Texas State Bobcats (6-1).
“We were struggling a little bit offensively,” Henson said. “So, it was nice to throw him into the mix. The guys are ready to embrace him in that regard, (and) he’s delivered in a huge way — basically, a point a minute.
“So, it’s pretty amazing to be out that long and step in and do what he’s doing.”
Jackson was cleared medically before UTSA’s three-games in three-days trip to Florida from Nov. 14-16 at the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Originally set to return in the first week of December, he said the doctor told him that he could play in the tournament if he felt he was ready.
Jackson said he had felt ready earlier than that but didn’t want to risk anything.
“I felt great before the first game I played,” he said. “For a couple of practices before that, I felt really great. I told the coach I was ready.”
In the early stages of his return, Jackson has been on a minutes restriction. It was 15 minutes for the three games in Florida and then 20 on Monday in an 86-82 victory at Houston Baptist.
Jackson said he’ll likely be limited to about 20 against Texas State, as well.
Regardless, he has looked good, scoring 21 points each of UTSA’s last two games.
Henson said Jackson’s defense sparked a 12-0 run that erased a six-point deficit late in the game at HBU.
“We got down, and we came out of a timeout, and he was the one that really set the tone defensively,” Henson said. “(He) picked up the ball, got a little ball pressure, ignited our defense.
“He’s a competitor. He’s tough. He’s quick. We count on him for scoring, but he can do other things, as well. Getting him back in there is helping us.”
Keaton Wallace drives on a defender in a Nov. 8 home game against St. Edward’s.
Jhivvan Jackson and Byron Frohnen scored 21 points apiece Monday night as UTSA rallied past Houston Baptist, 86-82.
Frohnen, a junior from Las Vegas, hit 10 of 12 shots from the floor, scored his career high and led the Roadrunners to their second straight victory.
Keaton Wallace had 20 points, eight rebounds and two steals for UTSA.
The game was played in Houston at Sharp Gym. Houston Baptist came in with confidence, having knocked off Wake Forest, 93-91, on the road last weekend.
Huskies guard Ian DuBose led the home team with 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Benjamin Uloko had 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting off the bench, and 6-10 center Edward Hardt scored 13 for HBU.
In a game that went back and forth all night, the Huskies led by six with six minutes left but couldn’t hold on against the Roadrunners, who scored a dozen points in a row to take charge.
UTSA hit its season-high in scoring, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field. Frohnen scored 13 in the first half. Jackson, in his fourth game back since returning from a knee injury, was limited to 20 minutes. He scored 15 points in the second half. Jackson has scored 21 in back-to-back games. Wallace hit four three-pointers, giving him eight in his last two.
“A lot of these teams have to focus on these great shooters in Keaton and Jhivvan. That just opens up some lanes for me, and I took advantage of it tonight.” — Frohnen told the team’s radio broadcast on KTKR.
Houston Baptist: 2-3
Texas State at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.
How it happened
Houston Baptist appeared to be on the verge of winning when Oliver Lynch-Daniels drove for a layup and a 72-66 lead for the Huskies with 5:45 left.
Not to be denied, the Roadrunners surged 12-0 over the next two minutes, with Jackson scoring the first eight in the run.
UTSA point guard Giovanni De Nicolao capped the streak when he sank a free throw for a 78-72 lead with 3:03 remaining.
At the end, DuBose drilled a three-pointer to pull the Huskies within two with 8 seconds left.
But Jackson was fouled on the inbounds, and he hit two free throws to account for the final points.
UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson shoots around before the Roadrunners’ game against Oklahoma on Nov. 12. – photo by Joe Alexander
Sophomore Jhivvan Jackson scored 21 points Wednesday as the UTSA Roadrunners won their first game of the season, downing Florida Gulf Coast, 76-65.
In a game for seventh place at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida, Keaton Wallace produced 19 points for the Roadrunners, who improved to 1-5.
Christian Carlyle led the Eagles with 16 points as Florida Gulf Coast dropped to 2-5.
UTSA entered the tournament in Florida coming off losses to Division II St. Edward’s and to Division I powers Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Jackson, coming off knee surgery, did not play in any of the games as he completed his rehabilitation from ACL knee surgery.
Cleared to play before the road trip to Florida, he competed in all three games, with his playing time restricted to 15 minutes.
He scored 10 points in a 65-56 loss to UC Irvine and then had another 10 (on 2 of 11 shooting) in a 99-79 loss to South Dakota State.
Against Florida Gulf Coast, Jackson scored his season high on 7 of 15 shooting from the field and 5 of 10 from three-point range.
Wallace, also a sophomore, played well with 19 points, including four three-pointers.
Last year, Jackson and Wallace emerged as two of the keys in UTSA’s resurgence as a basketball program.
The Roadrunners produced a 20-15 record for their first 20-win season in seven years.
Florida Gulf Coast center Ricky Doyle played against his father’s alma mater. Doyle had 2 points, a rebound and an assist for the Eagles. His father is Rick Doyle, who was UTSA’s first great center. Doyle played for the Roadrunners from 1982-84. He teamed with Derrick Gervin to lead UTSA to its first 20-win season in 1983-84. Doyle was a fifth-round draft pick by the Detroit Pistons and went on to play professionally in France for 11 years. Ricky Doyle was born in Pau, France, in 1996. Rick was in the stands to watch the game, an FGCU spokesman said.
“It was a good trip for us in terms of learning. (We played) three really good teams. Those three teams we played will all be the favorites in their conference. I told our guys just now I’m happy for them. We got the win. We’re making progress. I really liked the way they responded yesterday at halftime. You know, down, and came out and fought. Some good signs there.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson, on the team’s trip to Florida. (Interview on KTKR radio).
UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson shoots around before the Roadrunners’ game against Oklahoma on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. – photo by Joe Alexander
Sophomore guard Jhivvan Jackson scored 10 points in 15 minutes Monday afternoon in his return to basketball for the UTSA Roadrunners.
A good sign, indeed, for UTSA.
But with Jackson’s playing time limited, the UC Irvine Anteaters held off the Roadrunners 65-56 at the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Jackson led the Roadrunners in scoring last year with 18.4 points per game before he went down in late February with an injury to his left knee.
The injury knocked him out of tournament play, and it also kept him out of the first three games this season.
But after UTSA’s 82-60 loss at Oklahoma State last Wednesday and before the team left for Florida over the weekend, Jackson was cleared to play.
“It wasn’t a surprise that he’d be able to come in there and give us a boost,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the UTSA radio broadcast. “He had been practicing at a high level. We’re excited to have him out there.”
Jackson entered the game mid-way through the first half and, in a couple of three-minute stretches, he missed a couple of shots.
In the second half, the former standout for Euless Trinity High School and the Puerto Rico junior national team scored on a breakaway layup and a three-pointer to get the cold-shooting Roadrunners moving.
Trailing by 25 at one point, UTSA put together a 16-2 run fueled by Jackson and Keaton Wallace to cut the lead to 11.
The free-flowing scoring spree was a welcome sight for Henson, whose team had been struggling in losses to St. Edward’s, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with Jackson watching from the bench.
“Scoring (those) points in 15 minutes is great,” Henson said. “But it (also) makes other guys more comfortable. It opens up things for other people. It allows us to play a little faster. It has more effect (on the team) than just him scoring.”
Wallace scored a season-high 23 points, which was likely not a coincidence.
With Jackson running the floor and the defense spread, Wallace found his shooting stroke in the second half.
“We’ve got spacing when we’ve got those two guys out there together,” Henson said on KTKR radio. “When one of those guys is not on the floor, people are (playing) them pretty tight …
“When they’re in there together, the floor spacing is better and it helps Keaton.”
UTSA (0-4) plays South Dakota State (3-2) on Tuesday and an opponent to be determined on Wednesday, before returning home.
UC Irvine (5-0) is picked to win the Big West Conference. The Anteaters have registered wins early against Texas A&M annd Santa Clara.
Jackson initially was credited with 13 points. But the final boxscore indicated he scored 10 points on 3 of 7 shooting from the field.
He also hit 2 of 3 from three-point territory. Playing with energy, Jackson had three rebounds, one assist and a steal.
Coming into the game, Wallace had made only 14 of 47 from the floor. He was 8 of 16 against Irvine.
UTSA’s other four starters continued to struggle. Byron Frohnen, Atem Bior, Nick Allen and Giovanni De Nicolao were a combined 4 for 28 afield.
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.
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.
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
“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.