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.”


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


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.


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.”


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 vs. Old Dominion photo gallery

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson is fouled as he goes through the lane against Old Dominion on Thursday night at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson is fouled as he tries to go in for a driving shot against Old Dominion.

Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center.

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


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.


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


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.


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


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.

Time between games doesn’t faze UTSA’s Henson

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

UTSA coach Steve Henson and the Roadrunners host first-place Old Dominion on Feb. 28 to kick off Conference USA bonus play. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners have expressed mixed feelings about 11 days off between games during the stretch drive of the Conference USA regular-season race.

But with the team coming off a disappointing road trip that ended last Saturday at Louisiana Tech, and then not playing again until Feb. 28 at home against first-place Old Dominion, coach Steve Henson wants his players to use the time wisely.

“I like the fact that we’ve got days to take advantage of, for a lot of different reasons,” Henson said.

In a C-USA bonus play schedule announced last weekend, the No. 4 Roadrunners were matched against the first-place Old Dominion Monarchs and No. 5 UAB Blazers at home, followed by the second-seeded Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and No. 3 Southern Miss Golden Eagles on the road.

For most teams in the C-USA’s three groups, the competition starts Saturday, with Group 1 openers featuring Western Kentucky at Old Dominion and UAB at Southern Miss.

The Roadrunners will have to wait another five days before they tip off at home against the Monarchs.

Henson didn’t like the outcome of his last two games, a 7-point loss at Southern Miss and a 5-point loss at Louisiana Tech.

But he said in an interview Tuesday afternoon that he likes the opportunity to focus for a few days on fine tuning his own team before starting work next week on Old Dominion.

“We had a couple of days off coming back from the trip, which was good,” Henson said. “Our guys really came in with good energy today because of that extra day off.

“It gives us a chance to work on some things we need to work on as part of our base,” he added. “This time of year, you spend so much time working on specifics for your next opponent.

“We’ve got a few days to work on some general things … to help us be a better basketball club, and then we’ll still have time to get ready for Old Dominion.”

Group 1 schedules

Here are the schedules for teams in Group 1 of Conference USA’s bonus play. After bonus play is complete, the standings leader is the C-USA regular-season champion and the top four get first-round byes in the C-USA tournament.

1) Old Dominion (21-6, 11-3)

Saturday – Western Kentucky at Old Dominion
Feb. 28 – Old Dominion at UTSA
March 6 – Southern Miss at Old Dominion
March 9 – Old Dominion at UAB

2) Western Kentucky (16-11, 9-5)

Saturday – Western Kentucky at Old Dominion
Feb. 28 – Western Kentucky at UAB
March 3 – Southern Miss at Western Kentucky
March 6 – UTSA at Western Kentucky

3) Southern Miss (17-9, 9-5)

Saturday – UAB at Southern Miss
March 3 – Southern Miss at Western Kentucky
March 6 – Southern Miss at Old Dominion
March 9 – UTSA at Southern Miss

4) UTSA (15-12, 9-5)

Feb. 28 – Old Dominion at UTSA
March 3 – UAB at UTSA
March 6 – UTSA at Western Kentucky
March 9 – UTSA at Southern Miss

5) UAB (16-11, 8-6)

Saturday – UAB at Southern Miss
Feb. 28 – Western Kentucky at UAB
March 3 – UAB at UTSA
March 9 – Old Dominion at UAB

They said it

UTSA forward Byron Frohnen

“The time off is kind of nice, (but) it sucks because I feel like we were playing well, even though we were coming off two losses … But the time off is going to be good. Get some rest. Get caught up in class and just relax a little bit going into the home stretch.”

Baylor firms up NCAA standing after victory at Iowa State

After losing three of their last four games, the Baylor Bears started to look like a team that might be slipping below eight line in the NCAA Tournament projections.

No more.

Baylor showed some toughness and resilience on the road Tuesday night, taking down 19th-ranked Iowa State, 73-69.

The Bears were bolstered by freshman Jared Butler’s 17 points. Also, Division III transfer Freddie Gillespie came through with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Coming into the game, Baylor had been projected as a No. 8 seed and Iowa State a No. 5 in various bracket projections.

Now, such thinking could be up to debate after the Bears handed the Cyclones their second straight home loss.

“They came in here and kicked our butts,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said in an Associated Press story. “We’ve got to find a way to be tougher. That’s the bottom line.”

Butler, a 6-3 guard from Reserve, Louisiana, produced a layup and a three-point shot down the stretch.

Gillespie, a transfer from Carleton College in Minnesota, provided an inside presence that allowed the Bears to outrebound the Cyclones, 44-28.

“I’m just really proud of the way our guys responded in a tough place to play down the stretch,” Baylor coach Scott Drew told the AP.


Baylor 17-9, 8-5
Iowa State 19-7, 8-5