Looking for road victory No. 1, UTSA plays at Lamar tonight

Carlton Linguard Jr. at UTSA men's basketball practice on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Seven-foot Carlton Linguard Jr. (middle) will lead the UTSA Roadrunners into Beaumont tonight to play the Lamar Cardinals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

After a humbling experience in Big Ten country, the UTSA Roadrunners return to the state of Texas for a road game tonight against the Lamar Cardinals of the Southland Conference. Here’s a breakdown:

UTSA at Lamar

At a glance: The Roadrunners (1-1) and the Cardinals (1-1) will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Beaumont at Neches Arena.

UTSA — Last Monday night, UTSA opened at home and won 78-68 in overtime against the Western Illinois Leathernecks. On Friday, the Roadrunners arrived at Williams Arena in Minneapolis with high hopes and were beaten 102-76 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Clearly, a UTSA team entering its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference isn’t ready to win in the Big Ten just yet even with a roster almost totally revamped from last year, so eighth-year coach Steve Henson and Co. are faced with a critical week in playing road tests closer to home at Lamar and at Texas State of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday. UTSA was 2-11 on the road last year in a 10-22 season. Leaders for UTSA include power forward Trey Edmonds (13.5 ppg, 47.6 percent shooting), forward Dre Fuller Jr. (13 ppg, eight rpg) and guard Adante’ Holiman (11 ppg, 50 percent three-point shooting).

Lamar — Alvin Brooks is back in Beaumont where he played point guard for two legendary Lamar teams. With Brooks handling the ball, the Cardinals reached the NCAA tournament in both 1980 (Sweet 16) and 1981. More than 40 years later, Brooks is the third-year head coach of the Cardinals, trying to kick start a program that has been through some hard times recently. In the coach’s first two years, the Cardinals have been 11-49. Based on early returns, Lamar might have a chance to turn the corner this season. The Cards blew out NAIA Jarvis Christian 114-66 at home last Monday. In Game 2 last Friday, the Cardinals fared well but fell 78-67 on the road at SMU. Guard B.B. Knight (13.5 ppg) leads the Cardinals in scoring. Abilene Christian University transfer Ja’Sean Jackson, a guard from San Antonio’s Wagner High School, scored nine points at SMU and is averaging 11.5. Another San Antonio connection is assistant coach Charles Harral, a 1999 Churchill graduate.

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