Jackson, Wallace named to all-Conference USA squads

UTSA sophomores Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace both have been named to all-Conference USA teams, with Jackson taking home first-team honors.

Wallace was listed as a second-team selection.

Old Dominion swept the top honors with guard guard B.J. Stith getting player of the year and Jeff Jones coach of the year.

The C-USA tournament opens Wednesday in Frisco.

For the first time in six years in the conference, UTSA has earned a first-round tournament bye, and, as a No. 4 seed, will open play Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against either UAB or Middle Tennessee.

All-Conference USA basketball
First team
Jon Elmore, Marshall, Sr., G, 6-3, 185, Charleston, West Virginia
Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion, Sr., G, 6-2, 170, Atlanta, Georgia
B.J. Stith, Old Dominion, Sr., G, 6-5, 215, Lawrenceville, Virginia
Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA, So., G, 6-0, 160, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

Second team
Jon Davis, Charlotte, Sr., G, 6-2, 200, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Brian Beard Sr., FIU, Jr., G, 5-10, 180, Rancho Cucamonga, California
Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss, Sr., G, 6-2, 180, Kissimmee, Florida
Tyree Griffin, Southern Miss, R-Sr., G, 5-10, 175, New Orleans, Louisiana
Keaton Wallace, UTSA, So., G, 6-3, 175, Richardson, Texas

Third team
Anthony Adger, Florida Atlantic, Sr., G, 6-1, 170, Anderson, South Carolina
C.J. Burks, Marshall, Jr., G, 6-4, 195, Martinsburg, West Virginia
Antonio Green, Middle Tennessee, R-Jr., G, 6-2, 190, Tupelo, Mississippi
Ryan Woolridge, North Texas, Jr., G, 6-3, 175, Mansfield, Texas
Zack Bryant, UAB, So., G, 6-2, 183, Hastings, Florida
Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU, So., G, 6-2, 165, Lexington, Kentucky

All-freshman team
Taevion Kinsey, Marshall, Fr., G, 6-5, 177, Columbus, Ohio
Umoja Gibson, North Texas, R-Fr., G, 6-1, 160, Waco, Texas
Chris Mullins, Rice, Fr., G, 6-3, 170, Grand Prairie, Texas
Efe Odigie, UTEP, Fr., F, 6-9, 280, Houston, Texas
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

All-defensive team
Brian Beard Sr., FIU, Jr., G, 5-10, 180, Rancho Cucamonga, California Osasumwen Osaghae, FIU, Jr., F, 6-7, 250, Miami, Florida
Xavier Green, Old Dominion, So., G, 6-6, 200, Williamsburg, Virginia
Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss, Sr., G, 6-2, 180, Kissimmee, Florida
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

UTSA edges Western Kentucky, 81-76, in overtime

Jhivvan Jackson scored nine of his game-high 29 points in overtime Wednesday night, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners past Western Kentucky 81-76.

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

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson (File photo by Joe Alexander)

In the game played at Bowling Green, Kentucky, UTSA survived amidst 12 ties and nine lead changes, taking over second place in Conference USA and clinching a bye in next week’s conference tournament.

For the Roadrunners, Giovanni De Nicolao scored a surprising 17 on 7 of 10 shooting, while Keaton Wallace added 13.

Jackson, the leading scorer in Conference USA, hit 8 of 22 from the field and 4 of 10 from three.

Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-11 center who played two seasons at St. Anthony in San Antonio, led the Hilltoppers with 21 points. He also added 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

UTSA will close out C-USA regular-season competition Saturday on the road against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

The C-USA will hold its tournament March 13-16 in Frisco.

Conference USA
Group 1 standings

Old Dominion 13-4, 23-7
UTSA 11-6, 17-13
Western Kentucky 11-7, 18-13
Southern Miss 10-7, 18-11
UAB 9-8, 17-13

Wednesday’s scores

UTSA 81, Western Kentucky 76, overtime
Southern Miss 59, Old Dominion 52

Notable

UTSA played shorthanded in the post against Western Kentucky. Starting forward Nick Allen, who has an injured toe on his right foot, didn’t play. In addition, Atem Bior fouled out and Adrian Rodriguez went to the bench in the second half with a bloody nose.

Quotable

‘The theme of the game was toughness. I thought our guys fought like crazy. I looked over and we’ve got guys jamming blood-sticks up their nose. (Trainer) Josh (Modica) was working on Adrian (Rodriguez), and Jhivvan needed some tape on his shoulder and Gio was cleaning his own bloody knee. We fought like crazy. I can’t say enough about those guys.’ – UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

Notable

With 20 seconds left in regulation, Jackson hit a long three to put UTSA up by one. Western Kentucky’s Lamonte Bearden had a chance to win it but missed the first of two free throws with six seconds left. Jackson, a 6-foot sophomore, scored nine of UTSA’s 13 points in overtime.

Quotable

‘We just got to give credit to Gio (De Nicolao) in the first half and our bigs. Our bigs played great (against Charles) Bassey. He’s tough to defend. We tried to limit the passes inside, just by really bothering the passes. We did that, and down t he stretch, we just got some stops.’ — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson.

. .

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 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

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 defeats FAU for its 10th straight win at home

Everyone, it seems, wants to know the real nickname for the UTSA tandem of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.

Roadrunners coach Steve Henson admits he doesn’t know.

“I don’t,” he said. “I’ve been calling them the Dallas Duo. Other people have been calling them the Dynamic Duo. Somebody’s got to come up with something pretty good for ’em. They’ve been doing some special things.”

If they continue to play at their current level for the next three weeks, the issue may resolve itself by default.

By the first week of March, the nickname could become something mundane. Something like, say, “Conference USA champions.”

Jackson and Wallace scored 24 points each Saturday, pacing UTSA to an 86-74 victory over the Florida Atlantic University Owls.

The win was the 10th straight at home for the Roadrunners, who remained a half game back of first-place Old Dominion.

Records

Florida Atlantic 14-11, 5-7
UTSA 15-10, 9-3

C-USA leaders

Old Dominion 10-3, UTSA 9-3, North Texas 8-4, Western Kentucky 8-4, Southern Miss 7-5, UAB 6-6, Marshall 6-6. (The top five in the standings after next weekend qualify for the the top tier of the conference’s four-game bonus round.)

Title chase rundown

In other games involving the conference’s leaders, Old Dominion won on the road at Middle Tennessee, 55-50, to maintain a half game lead on UTSA. Western Kentucky claimed a 62-59 victory over North Texas in Denton.

Individuals

Florida Atlantic — Kevaughn Ellis 14 points, 4 of 6 on three-pointers. Anthony Adger 12 points, 11 rebounds. Michael Forrest 13 points, 4 assists.

UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson 24 points, 6 of 12 on three-pointers. Also, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Keaton Wallace 24 points on 5 of 13 from three. Also, 8 rebounds, 2 assists. Giovanni De Nicolao 10 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds. Off the bench, Atem Bior 9 points, 3 rebounds.

Second-half surge

With the game tied 53-53 early in the second half, UTSA reeled off 16 straight points to take control.

The UTSA defense sparked the spree by forcing FAU into seven straight missed shots and four turnovers.

De Nicolao ignited it offensively with a three-pointer. Nick Allen finished it with a driving layup to make it 69-53 with 9:21 remaining.

UTSA battled with Florida Atlantic throughout a physical first half and emerged with a seven-point halftime lead. Jackson scored 16 and Wallace 14 for the Roadrunners.

UTSA fans booed the visiting team and the referees on a few controversial plays before halftime.

On one, as seen below, Jackson drove into traffic, drew contact and fell to the floor but did not get a call.

Later, Wallace drove and got nailed, landing hard on his back and elbow. Wallace was awarded free throws, but FAU was not charged with a flagrant foul.

Notable

Jackson boosted his season average to 22.7 points per game. Wallace is averaging 21.0. They rank Nos. 1 and 3 on the updated C-USA scoring chart … Wallace’s five three-pointers gave him 101 for the season, a UTSA record … Forward Nick Allen received six stitches to repair a cut above his nose at halftime. He returned to the court with 15:56 left in the game and played most of the rest of the second half.

Jackson scores a career-high 46, but UTSA loses in overtime

Jared Savage knocked down three 3-point shots in overtime Thursday night as Western Kentucky Hilltoppers subdued the UTSA Roadrunners, 96-88, in Conference USA.

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

Jhivvan Jackson scored a career-high 46 points, the third most in UTSA school history.

In the game played at Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Hilltoppers overcame a career-high, 46-point effort from UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson.

UTSA’s Keaton Wallace scored 26.

Charles Bassey led the Hilltoppers with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Western Kentucky point guard Lamonte Bearden had 22 points and seven assists.

But it was Savage, a junior from Bowling Green, who hit the shots that mattered in the extra period.

His third in the overtime lifted the Hilltoppers into a 91-85 lead with 1:38 remaining.

UTSA made a crucial turnover in the final seconds of regulation that allowed Western Kentucky to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Byron Frohnen inbounded to Jackson, who tried to pass it back to Frohnen. But Bearden stepped in to make the steal.

Fouled on the play, Bearden went to the line and made one of two free throws, tying the game at 78-78.

The Roadrunners still had a chance as they rushed the ball upcourt, but a Giovanni De Nicolao runner was off the mark.

Record-setting effort spoiled

The loss negated one of the greatest individual performances in UTSA history.

Jackson hit 16 of 31 shots from the field, including 8 of 14 from three. The 6-foot sophomore from Puerto Rico was 6 of 8 on free throws.

In the end, he finished with the scoring record for an opposing player at E.A. Diddle Arena, the second most points in C-USA history and the third most in UTSA history.

Jackson drove for a layup and made a couple of free throws early in the overtime, but in the face of intense pressure from the Western Kentucky defense, he missed his last three attempts.

For Western Kentucky, Bassey sank 7 of 8 from the field and pulled down four rebounds off the offensive glass.

The 6-11, 245-pounder from Nigeria played two years at San Antonio’s St. Anthony Catholic High School before transferring to Aspire Academy in Louisville last season.

Records

Western Kentucky 12-10, 5-4
UTSA 12-10, 6-3

Notable

The Roadrunners had a four-point lead with a little more than a minute left in regulation and couldn’t close out the game. As a result, they were knocked out of first place in the C-USA standings.

Quotable

“(I’m) sick for our guys. You know, we got to find a way to win that game. Just finish it. We turned it over, missed a free throw, turned it over again. We put ourselves in a position (and then) they make a couple of threes, bank in a three, and we lose. That just can’t happen. We gotta find a way to win that game.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson, in comments aired on the team’s radio broadcast.

Western Kentucky coach on UTSA: ‘They’re 6-2 for a reason’

Calling UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace “two of the better guards … in the country,” Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury said it’s not surprising that the Roadrunners have surged into a tie for first place in Conference USA.

The coach made his remarks on the eve of his team’s C-USA home game tonight against the surprising Roadrunners in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“They’re 6-2 for a reason,” Stansbury said. “They’ve got two of the better guards — not just in this league — in the country.

“When you’ve got guys … that can shoot it like that, you can come back from 17 down with three minutes and 45 seconds left.”

Trailing by 18 points with 4 minutes and 43 seconds remaining last Saturday in San Antonio, UTSA wiped out the deficit and beat Old Dominion, 74-73.

Perhaps more remarkably, the Roadrunners were behind by 17 with 3:45 left and still beat the Monarchs, thanks to the shooting of Jackson and Wallace.

The 18-point comeback is said to be the second largest point differential ever erased in NCAA Division I for a team trailing with less than five minutes on the clock.

The record is believed to be a 19-point deficit that was wiped out by the Nevada Wolf Pack in 2017, when they beat New Mexico, 105-104, in overtime and on the road.

For the Roadrunners, the performance against ODU was the third double-digit deficit that they have erased this season in a winning effort.

Previously, they knocked off Houston Baptist after falling behind by 11. They also beat UTEP after trailing by 10.

Stansbury pointed out that the Roadrunners nearly did it at Middle Tennessee, two weeks ago, as well.

In that game, the Roadrunners were down by 21 in the second half and ended up losing by three.

“They’re a really explosive team, offensively,” Stansbury said. “Jackson and Wallace can score that ball in bunches, in a hurry. When you’ve got guards that can do that, you got a chance against anybody on a given night.”

Jackson is leading C-USA, averaging 22 points per game. Wallace is fifth at 18.9.

Two freshmen, Taveion Hollingsworth and Charles Bassey, lead Western Kentucky and make the Hilltoppers one of the most dangerous teams in the conference.

Hollingsworth leads the Hilltoppers with 15.2 points per game.

Bassey, a 6-foot-11 native Nigerian who played at St. Anthony in San Antonio, averages 14.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.

In what should be a revealing trip for UTSA, the Roadrunners play at Western Kentucky tonight and at Marshall, in Huntington, West Virginia, on Saturday.

Marshall was the C-USA’s representative in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Records

UTSA 12-9, 6-2
Western Kentucky 11-10, 4-4

UTSA’s Adokiye Iyaye making the most of his opportunities

On a first-half breakout Thursday night against Charlotte, UTSA reserve guard Adokiye Iyaye sped down one sideline and stationed himself in the corner.

He looked up to see a bullet pass coming his way.

UTSA freshman Adokiye Iyaye is averaging 5.7 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting for the season. –Photo by Joe Alexander.

After making the catch, he knew exactly where he wanted to go with the ball.

Straight to the basket.

Iyaye flashed down the baseline and scored on an easy layup before the 49ers’ defense had time to rotate.

Even though Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace have led the Roadrunners offensively all year, plays like this have started to happen much more frequently lately for the Roadrunners, who will host the Conference USA-leading Old Dominion Monarchs Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

Iyaye has hit 14 of 19 shots from the field over his last five games, helping UTSA surge into a tie for second place in the conference race.

In an 88-43 rout of Charlotte, the program’s most lopsided victory in conference play in 28 years, Iyaye hit 5 of 6 shots from the field and tied a career high with 12 points.

Teammates say that Iyaye has always had the ability but is just now developing more confidence as he moves along in his first year of college basketball.

“We know that he’s going to make the right decision, make the right plays, take the right shots,” Wallace said. “In practice, he’s been picking it up. Better defensively, better offensively.

“We just expect good things out of Adokiye.”

Jackson said Iyaye has “stepped up big” in the team’s pursuit of a conference title.

“We want him to do that,” Jackson said. “He can do that every night, if he just plays the way he did (against the 49ers). He’s getting more confident. We just tell him to keep going. We tell him to take more shots if he’s open.

“He’s (also) helped us on the defensive end, putting pressure on the ball. Just making plays.”

Last year, Iyaye was the man for his high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He averaged 18 points per game and led Putnam to the Class 6A title.

This year, it’s been a new experience for him, both in coming off the bench and in facing bigger and faster players.

Now he’s picking up the nuances of the college game at a rapid pace, as evidenced by his recent statistics — 7 points per game and 73.6 percent shooting in his last five.

Not bad for a kid from Tulsa who just turned 19.

“I’m finding my groove a little bit,” Iyaye said. “My teammates, they’re always on me, telling me that I’m going to be fine.”

“I wasn’t making shots early, but they keep telling me to shoot and give me a lot of encouragement. They’re like my big brothers.

“Hearing that every day, it makes me feel like, if I have a bad game, I’ll do better next time.”

Jackson scores 28, as UTSA rolls past Charlotte, 88-43

Sophomore guard Jhivvan Jackson steps back behind the three-point line to hoist a shot. Jackson hit six threes against the Charlotte 49ers. — Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners didn’t like the feeling of losing two in a row in Conference USA.

In response, they took out their frustrations on the Charlotte 49ers, rolling to an 88-43 victory Thursday night at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Coming on the heels of road losses at Middle Tennessee and UAB, it was UTSA’s largest winning margin against an NCAA Division I program in three seasons under Coach Steve Henson.

It was also the program’s widest margin of victory in a C-USA game since joining the conference for the 2013-14 season.

Sophomore Jhivvan Jackson led the way with 28 points on an efficient 11 of 19 shooting from the field. He hit six three-pointers.

UTSA led by 25 at intermission and boosted it into the 30s four minutes into the second half.

The lead expanded into the 40s with two minutes left and grew to 45 on the last bucket of the night, a layup by reserve forward Adrian Rodriguez, with 19 seconds remaining.

Records

Charlotte 5-14, 2-6
UTSA 11-9, 5-2

Notable

Previously, UTSA’s largest margin of victory in a C-USA game (21) came three years ago against Southern Miss. The Roadrunners beat the the Golden Eagles 74-53 on Feb. 20, 2016 at the Convocation Center.

Quotable

“We were really locked in defensively. Then Jhivvan got hot. We did some good things offensively anyway, and then he got real, real hot, and we popped the game open in the first half.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson.

Coming up

UTSA will host the C-USA title-contending Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday at 3 p.m. Old Dominion downed the UTEP Miners, 50-48, Thursday in El Paso.

With the win, the Monarchs improved to 16-5 and 6-2 in the C-USA. They lead the conference standings over Marshall, North Texas, UTSA and UAB, all at 5-2.


Jackson hits one of his five first-half three pointers. He swished this one after a defender put a hand in his face. Jackson created some space between him and the defender with a slight lean to his right.

First half

Jackson scored 21 points in 18 minutes in the first half for the Roadrunners, who rolled to a 44-19 lead on Charlotte at intermission.

Jackson was 8 of 13 from the field and was particularly deadly from long distance, hitting five of nine.

He hoisted his last trey from a spot directly in front of the Charlotte bench (see video above).


Sophomore Keaton Wallace breaks free for a floater in the lane as UTSA scores off an out-of-bounds play in the second half.

Taking an early lead

Charlotte was in the game for the first five minutes. The 49ers took an 8-6 lead when guard Jon Davis sank a driving layup.

After that, UTSA responded with a 16-0 run, capped by three consecutive threes from Jackson.

The last one made it 22-8 with 10:52 remaining.

Sub-plots

Jackson effectively bounced back from two erratic shooting nights on the road. He hit a combined 18 of 49 from the field last week against Middle Tennessee and UAB … The Roadrunners have won eight of their last 10 games overall … They connected on 55.7 percent from the field for a season best against a Division I opponent … In addition, they also established a season high by limiting the 49ers to 29.6 percent … Jon Davis, Charlotte’s scoring leader, was held nine points under his average. He finished with 12.

Individuals

Charlotte — Jon Davis, 12 points, 5 of 11 shooting.

UTSA — Jackson, 28 points on 11 of 19 from the floor and 6 of 12 from three. Keaton Wallace, 15 points and three assists. Adokiye Iyaye, 12 points, 5 of 6 shooting, three offensive rebounds.


Jackson scores his final basket with 6:46 remaining as he picks up a loose ball in the lane and lays it in. The ball popped out when two Charlotte players fumbled the rebound, emblematic of a tough night for the 49ers.