UTEP uses second-half surge to run away from UTSA, 69-51

The UTSA Roadrunners will return to soul-searching mode next week after a poor performance in El Paso Saturday night. After the UTEP Miners recorded a 69-51 victory, the Roadrunners were left to ponder what to do about an 0-8 record on the road this season.

“Again, if we play the way we played tonight, we’re not going to beat anybody anywhere,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said in a zoom call. “We would have lost at home. We would have lost in the park. We would have lost in the Alamodome. It wouldn’t have mattered, if we played the way we did tonight.”

In one way, it could be argued that the Miners may have just had an edge in attitude and motivation, especially at the end of the game.

Setting the stage for what happened, UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 on Thursday night in San Antonio on the front end of a two-game set in Conference USA. In the first meeting, Roadrunners guard Jhivvan Jackson scored 32 points and Keaton Wallace had 19, to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds. The UTSA offense hummed with precision during long stretches.

In the rematch, the Miners didn’t play all that great, but they held Jackson to a season-low seven points, and they also strung together enough plays on both ends to win in crunch time. With the game tied 44-all, the Miners outscored the Roadrunners 25-7 in the last 11 minutes to account for the final margin.

During that stretch, they held UTSA without a field goal for the final 8:17, and they also made their last seven shots from the field. The outcome underscored once again the Roadrunners’ problems on the road, where they have lost 11 straight dating back to February of last season.

“I don’t think it’s a mental block,” Henson said. “I mean, we’re not ignoring it. But, we got to play better. Shoot. We got to play better. I mean, this is a pretty good team. We can’t come in here and play as badly as we did and shoot whatever we shot (29.5 percent) and expect to win. You got to make plays.

“We continue to talk about competing offensively. We’re a pretty good offensive team when we get a few shots down early, and when it’s easy, when the momentum goes the right way. But, boy, when it gets a little tough, we have trouble understanding how to get the right kind of shots, and on the road, you have to get better shots. You have to take care of the ball.

“We’ll address some things early in the week and expect to play better next game on the road.”


UTEP 8-8, 4-6
UTSA 8-9, 4-6

Coming up

UTSA at Florida International, Friday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m.
UTSA at Florida International, Saturday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m.


UTEP — Souley Boum, 20 points on 7 of 17 shooting. Jamal Bieniemy, 16 points and 10 rebounds. Keonte Kennedy, 10 points and 14 rebounds. Bryson Williams, 7 points and 9 rebounds.

UTSA — Keaton Wallace, 15 points on 5 of 16 shooting. Jacob Germany, 11 points on 4 of 9. Jhivvan Jackson, 7 points on 3 of 10 shooting.

By the numbers

UTSA’s last win on the road came on Feb. 6, 2020, in an 85-81 victory over Old Dominion … Against UTEP, UTSA’s offense hit only 18 of 61 from the field, including 8 of 29 in the second half. The Roadrunners missed their last nine shot attempts in the game … Jackson hit the first shot of the game, a nice runner from 12 feet in the lane, and then he started to struggle. In the next few possessions, the Roadrunners’ all-conference guard missed two long three-point attempts. UTSA was up 8-2 on the scoreboard when he fouled a jump shooter. Then he committed his second foul a little more than six minutes into the game and had to come out. Jackson played only 12 minutes in the first half and scored four points. He finished with seven points, only his second game this season with less than 10.

Jackson, Wallace key UTSA’s third straight victory

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior Keaton Wallace enjoyed one of his best games of the season with 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Meanwhile, UTSA scored an important C-USA victory over the UTEP Miners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Very few teams in NCAA Division I basketball have backcourts as explosive as UTSA’s duo of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.

The two seniors were at their entertaining best Thursday night in the Convocation Center.

Jackson scored a season-high 32 points and Wallace contributed 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists as the resurgent Roadrunners won their third straight game, taking down the UTEP Miners, 86-79.

Jackson befuddled the Miners with a mix of long-distance shooting artistry and mid-range finesse, hitting 10 of 20 from the field. The senior from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, nailed four three-point shots.

For his part, Wallace sank 7 of 12 in a tour de force that included grit and defensive hustle from the 6-foot-3 Dallas native.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 32 for the Roadrunners. The senior guard is averaging 25.1 points in his last seven games. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Led by Souley Boum and Bryson Williams, the Miners surged into a two-point lead early in the second half. But the Roadrunners held the Miners as a team to three of 16 shooting in a 10-minute stretch of the second half.

Both Boum and Williams finished with 24 points. Williams, a 6-foot-8 post, was held to five of 11 shooting from the field.


UTSA 8-8, 4-5
UTEP 7-8, 3-6

Coming up

UTSA at UTEP, Saturday at 8 p.m.

Starting slowly

After some erratic performances in the pre-conference phase of the schedule, including a 39-point loss at Oklahoma, the Roadrunners started C-USA play by losing two games at Rice, splitting two at home against North Texas and then dropping two on the road at Louisiana Tech. After the 1-5 start in conference, UTSA has now won three straight, all at home, against Southern Miss (twice) and now UTEP to get back into contention for postseason play.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting in his first collegiate start. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Making the adjustments

The Roadrunners started the homestand with a change in the starting lineup, moving junior Adrian Rodriguez into the first five. They made another move Thursday by starting freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry. With a starting five of Jackson, Wallace, Ivy-Curry, Rodriguez and Jacob Germany, the Roadrunners singed the Miners with 56.7 percent shooting en route to a 46-38 lead.


Keaton Wallace, on the slow start to the season — “I (felt) like it was never over. Even in the past, we always start off kind of slow. Then we start figuring some things out. Then guys start meshing together on the court … Then we get rolling. That’s pretty much how it’s been ever since I got here.”

Playing good ‘D’

In the three victories, UTSA has played solid defense in extended stretches to take charge. The Roadrunners did it again Thursday night. For a stretch of more than 10 minutes in the second half, they mixed up defenses, alternating from man to zone, and held UTEP to 3 of 16 shooting. Defensive highlights down the stretch included Rodriguez taking a charge from Williams in the post and the 6-foot-11 Germany extending to block a three-point shot by Boum in the corner. After the block, Germany batted the ball off Boum’s head. It went out of bounds, with the possession awarded to UTSA.

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore center Jacob Germany produced eight points, four rebounds and a block. – Photo by Joe Alexander


Keaton Wallace, on the key stops — “Those are the detail plays that we’re making now. You know, we weren’t making those plays early in the season. Just paying attention to little details like that. Knowing when to rotate. Playing the ball. Jumping to the ball, things like that. We’re always in the right spots on defense. Jacob getting the block in the corner. That’s just (game and practice) reps. He understands where he needs to be when the ball is in the corner. And A-Rod, the big (man) was driving … You knew that charge was going to be big for us. He got down there and took it.”


The Roadrunners will try to win their first road game of the season Saturday at UTEP. They’re 0-7 on the road overall, including 0-4 in C-USA road games. The status of injured forward Eric Parrish (Achilles) is uncertain after he sat out his first game of the season. If anything, the play of Jackson and Wallace gives them hope that they can start winning away from home. Combined, the two probably played as well in tandem as they have all season.


Coach Steve Henson, on Jackson and Wallace — “They stepped up on the offensive end and delivered in a big, big way.”


UTSA vs. UTEP photo gallery

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keaton Wallace had 19 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds for UTSA on Thursday.

UTSA beat UTEP 86-79 in a Conference USA game on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Cooking up success: Germany anchors the paint for UTSA

UTSA center Jacob Germany throws down a dunk with 2:18 left to give UTSA a 69-65 lead in a 77-69 victory over North Texas on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Jacob Germany is averaging 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Roadrunners, who host the UTEP Miners tonight. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.. – Photo by Joe Alexander

After the UTSA Roadrunners defeated the North Texas Mean Green a few weeks ago, Jacob Germany’s father was on hand to help the team celebrate.

Justin Germany, a chef by trade, cooked up a feast for the squad.

“We had shrimp fettuccine, chicken alfredo, a bunch of barbeque,” Jacob said. “It was amazing. That’s one thing I do miss back home, is that cooking.”

Germany, a sophomore center from Kingston, Okla., related the story in a zoom call with reporters on Tuesday as the team prepared for a couple of games this week against the UTEP Miners.

Asked if he had been able to pick up any of his dad’s culinary skills, Germany grinned and admitted that he had not.

“No,” he said, “I’m more the eater. He cooks it up and I eat it. I never took the time to learn a lot of it.”

If Germany gets by in the kitchen with only the basics to get him through college, nobody on the team is complaining, because he’s started to carry the squad in a lot of other ways.

Scoring around the basket. Knocking down 12-foot jumpers. Rebounding. Blocking shots. Germany, at 6-11 and 230 pounds, has started to show off multiple skills.

“His instincts are so good (with) his poise, his agility,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the eve of tonight’s home game against the Miners. “He’s got tremendous upside. You can see it right before your eyes, his development. It’s pretty fun to watch.”

Last weekend, he anchored the middle as the Roadrunners beat the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on back-to-back nights. In the two games combined, he produced 24 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks.

His two blocks in the final minute helped UTSA seal a 78-72 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Clearly, Germany has started to feel it as a college athlete. After offseason weight-room workouts, he earned a reputation as the second-strongest player on the team next to Phoenix Ford. He’s also among the fastest players on the team.

Germany said the added bulk helps him maneuver around the basket “without giving up too much position” with opposing players.

Last year, he admitted he struggled to live up to the expectations of being a highly-regarded recruit. If he played inconsistently or had a bad game, Germany said he would get down on himself.

A year later, Germany said he learned to channel his energies in a more positive way.

“I think my mentality has definitely changed,” he said. “Rather than getting angry at myself, I use it to play harder and play faster and stronger. I think I’ve really been able to use that aggression for good to help us win games.”

Coming up

UTEP at UTSA, 6 p.m.
UTSA at UTEP, 8 p.m.


UTEP 7-7, 3-5
UTSA 7-8, 3-5

UTSA’s Rodriguez relishes opportunity to contribute

Adrian Rodriguez. UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA junior Adrian Rodriguez battles for possession as the Roadrunners defeat the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Game 1 of a C-USA series last week. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Adrian Rodriguez started for the first time this season last Friday night against Southern Miss. The Roadrunners enjoyed a productive opening 20 minutes and forged a five-point lead at intermission. They ended up winning the game by six.

Same thing happened on Saturday afternoon, basically. Rodriguez started. UTSA moved out to a six-point edge at the half, and the Roadrunners beat the Golden Eagles, once again, by six.

As a result, UTSA is riding a two-game winning streak while preparing for a couple of Conference USA games later this week against the UTEP Miners.

Even though Rodriguez went scoreless with three rebounds in 36 minutes combined in the two recent victories, it doesn’t bother him at all, and that may explain why he has been so effective. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound junior from Tulsa takes his role as a defender and screen-setter and, at times, as a communicator, very seriously.

“I put myself in a mental state that whatever my position (on the team) is, I’m going to come out and give it my all — give my all to my teammates, especially, and do whatever I can to help my team win,” he said. “I’ve been pretty pleased. Whenever I’m out there, I do my job. I get people open, which is my biggest strength, you know, setting great screens, and just getting everybody to talk, getting the energy up, whether that’s in the game or on the bench.”

Rodriguez missed time earlier in the season, sitting out five games, with a back injury.

“It still gives (me) a little bit of problems, but nothing I can’t handle,” he said. “Just got to keep moving forward. Get a little treatment and just push through. You know, this time is limited. You got to make the most of it.”

The Roadrunners will need him to push through whatever discomfort he may be feeling this week against the Miners. He’ll likely be matched up at times against UTEP standout Bryson Williams, who scored 55 points combined in two games against the Roadrunners last season.

“He’s a great player,” Rodriguez said. “You know, amazing touch around the rim. Great athleticism. One of the things we’ve talked about is to be physical with him. You know, try to get him to catch it outside of the spots he’s comfortable in.

“Maybe make him take one more crab dribble, to give the defense a little more time to react. Just switching guys on him. Different coverages. You know, I’m not going to guard him the same way Phoenix (Ford), Ced (Cedrick Alley, Jr.) will. Just give him different looks.”

Coming up

UTEP at UTSA, Thursday, 6 p.m.
UTSA at UTEP, Saturday, 8 p.m.


UTEP 7-7, 3-5
UTSA 7-8, 3-5

UTSA forward Luka Barisic opts out for the rest of the season

Senior forward Luka Barisic has taken the Covid-19 opt out and will not be with the UTSA Roadrunners for the remainder of the season as he attempts to complete requirements for his academic degree, Coach Steve Henson announced Tuesday afternoon.

Luka Barisic had 18 points and 10 rebounds as UTSA beat Lamar 88-66 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Luka Barisic had his best game of the season on Dec. 22 when he produced 18 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“We certainly wish him well. He was a big part of what we were doing. But we certainly understand where he was coming from and wish him nothing but the best,” Henson said.

Barisic, a 6-foot-10 post from Osijek, in Croatia, joined the team before the 2019-20 season as a transfer from Highland (Ill.) Community College. He played in 32 games with 21 starts for the Roadrunners last year and averaged 6.6 points and 3 rebounds. This year, he played in 14 of the team’s 15 games, all off the bench. He averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Asked how difficult a decision it was for Barisic, Henson said he thinks “a lot of things” went into it.

“You know, it’s always hard for the kids to have those conversations,” he said. “It’s disappointing. I want every one of our student-athletes to come in here and have a great experience and leave feeling really good about things. So it’s disappointing. I’m disappointed for him. I’m not disappointed in him. I’m disappointed for him that … but I also understand.

“So much has been going on. He’s two classes away from graduating, and to be able to do that from wherever he is…He said he was going to look for a flight to get home. He hasn’t been home in a long time. So I got to think that had something to do with it, as well.”

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring, all NCAA Division I basketball players have been granted an additional year of eligibility, but Henson said he doesn’t expect Barisic to return.

“We didn’t discuss that,” the coach said. “My guess is that he’s ready to get that degree and explore things back home. He might still have the opportunity to play back home in one of the leagues there. So that would be my guess. Coming out of here … with a good degree in hand … I wouldn’t anticipate him coming back here or playing anywhere else in college. I think if he continues to play it would be at the professional level.”

Coming up

UTEP at UTSA, Thursday, 6 p.m.
UTSA at UTEP, Saturday, 8 p.m.


UTEP 7-7, 3-5
UTSA 7-8, 3-5

UTSA wins 78-72 to take two from Southern Mississippi

UTSA's Jacob Germany blocks a shot by Southern Miss' Jaron Pierre Jr. with 18 seconds left in the game. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Jacob Germany blocks a shot by Southern Miss’ Jaron Pierre Jr. with 18 seconds left in the game. — Photo by Joe Alexander

For the UTSA Roadrunners, the stakes were high coming into a weekend series against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Sitting in last place in the Conference USA West division standings, the Roadrunners couldn’t afford to lose either of two games at home in the Convocation Center.

Lifted by the scoring of Jhivvan Jackson and a team effort that included clutch plays from two underclassmen, the Roadrunners completed their first C-USA sweep of the season Saturday afternoon with a 78-72 victory over the Golden Eagles.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 24 points and hit six three-point shots Saturday afternoon. — Photo by Joe Alexander.

Jackson scored 24 points and passed for six assists. Sophomore Jacob Germany blocked two shots in the last minute and, not to be denied, precocious freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to help fend off the visitors from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

UTSA coach Steve Henson was pleased to win two but he lamented his team allowing Southern Miss to make it so close down the stretch. The Roadrunners led by 15 with nine minutes remaining and then had to scramble at the end to avoid what might have been a crushing loss.

“It was a little more drama than we really needed,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Both games, really. We had too many good stretches to make it that difficult.”

Looking at it another way, the Roadrunners felt much better about themselves after their fourth series in the C-USA’s regular season. Two losses at Rice, followed by a split at home against North Texas, followed by another two road losses at Louisiana Tech had them buried at 1-5 and searching for answers.

Adrian Rodriguez started his second game in a row, both Roadrunners victories, as UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Adrian Rodriguez started his second game in a row, both Roadrunners victories, as UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Last week, Henson said he felt like the Roadrunners weren’t that far away from turning around their fortunes. He was right on that point. Against Southern Miss, Jackson flashed the form that has led to all-conference designations each of the past two seasons. On Friday, he had 25 in a 70-64 victory, and then he went off again on Saturday.

Playing in front of the home fans, his showmanship has become almost routine until you consider that he has scored 2,328 points in a little more than three years, boosting him into a tie for 139th in NCAA basketball history, according to a list published by sports-reference.com.

On Friday, Jackson was aggressive, drawing contact that put him on the free-throw line 13 times. On Saturday, he launched from long distance, nailing six of 10 from beyond the arc. More than anything, Jackson is buoyed by the improvement of a team desperate to get back into the mix of contenders in the C-USA.

“Like I was telling ya’ll yesterday, we need every win we can get,” Jackson said. “We fought hard today on defense. We didn’t make a lot of shots today — down the stretch, especially. But our defense kept us in. Free throws, as well. Today was more defense than offense.”


UTSA 3-5, 7-8
Southern Miss 3-5, 7-8

Coming up

UTEP at UTSA, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry drives it on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The freshman from La Marque had 22 points combined in victories Friday and Saturday. — Photo by Joe Alexander


Two young players on the UTSA roster stepped up when the team needed them most. Just as the rest of the C-USA was about to write off the Roadrunners who were 1-5 in conference coming into a two-game series against Southern Miss, sophomore Jacob Germany and freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry helped lead the team to a couple of much-needed victories. Germany had a double-double on Friday night and came back with 13 points and eight rebounds Saturday afternoon. Germany, a 6-11 center, added two blocks in the final minute. Ivy-Curry nailed a clutch three to stop a late Southern Miss run in Game 1, and then followed with 14 points and four rebounds in Game 2. The player known as “Juice” added an exclamation point by knocking down two free throws with 14.3 seconds left Saturday.


“We talked last year about Jacob’s poise … Some of those non-conference games against high major opponents, he was relaxed. Comfortable. Very, very poised. Juice is very, very comfortable. You know, the moment is certainly not going to be too big for him. The three-pointer that Juice hit last night was huge. Southern Miss had gone zone (on defense). We ran the play exactly the way we wanted the first zone possession and Jhivvan missed a three. Then we turned it over … All of a sudden, it was going to start wearing on us, and Juice was open, bangs a three and that was a huge play in the game … Jacob makes game-winning plays (with blocks, both games) … Juice just plays.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson.


UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 24 points on 8 of 18 shooting, including 6 of 10 from three. He also had four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Jordan Ivy-Curry, 14 points, including 3 of 5 threes. Jacob Germany, 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Eight rebounds. Two blocks. Keaton Wallace, 12 points on 4 of 19 shooting. Five rebounds. Four assists.

Southern Miss — LaDavius Draine, 19 points on 5 of 10 from three. Tyler Stevenson, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jaron Pierre Jr., 12 points on four of eight shooting. Four rebounds. Two assists. Two steals. DeAndre Pinckney, 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks.


The Roadrunners were able to hang on Saturday in spite of making only two field goals in the final 8:48. One of the buckets can be seen in the video below:

In a key second-half play, UTSA forward Cedrick Alley, Jr., runs the wing, takes a pass from Jhivvan Jackson and slams it on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

UTSA vs. Southern Miss photo gallery

Phoenix Ford. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA junior Phoenix Ford (center) played 14 minutes off the bench and contributed four points and four rebounds and giving a strong effort on the defensive end.

UTSA Roadrunners beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA men’s basketball action at the UTSA Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

The Roadrunners are 2-0 with the big starting lineup of Jhivvan Jackson, Keaton Wallace, Eric Parrish, Adrian Rodriguez and Jacob Germany. UTSA got off to a fast start both games against Southern Miss.

Jackson scores 25, UTSA hangs on to defeat Southern Miss

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 25 points, including seven in the last two minutes, as UTSA pulled out a victory over Southern Miss. — Photo by Joe Alexander

After downing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 70-64 Friday night, the UTSA Roadrunners gave themselves a chance to dream of pulling off a compelling first this season.

For the first time, they can win both ends of a two-game, Conference USA series if they can just dig down and do the little things again Saturday afternoon. Game time between West Division rivals is set for 3 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson said he felt good about one of his team’s better defensive efforts this season. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA senior Jhivvan Jackson said it would mean “everything” if UTSA could complete the double against Southern Miss.

“Right now, we need every win we can get,” said Jackson, who led the Roadrunners with 25 points. “Our players know that. Everybody knows, we’re last (place) right now. Everybody’s seen it because we got the standings right outside the locker room.

“You know, we’re not a team to be last. We understand that. But, it takes a lot (to win). You know, it takes playing defense.

“I feel like ya’ll get tired of me saying ‘play defense.’ But that’s all that’s stopping us from getting wins. Regardless if we shoot bad, or, we have a bad shooting night, we’re still one of the top offensive teams in the league.

“At the end of the day, we got to come back tomorrow and play better defense than we did today.”

Playing better on the defensive end than they did Friday could be a tall order. The Roadrunners, who, statistically, rank as one of the poorest defensive teams in the C-USA, held the Golden Eagles to 5 of 20 shooting from the field in the first 14 minutes of the game.

Southern Miss, led by guard Tyler Stevenson, ended up making it a very competitive game. What was once a 17-point UTSA lead in the first half was whittled to five at halftime and to one twice late in the second half.

Nonetheless, the Roadrunners held the Golden Eagles to 37.1 percent shooting for the game, which was the difference as the Roadrunners snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It was close,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “We had an opportunity (in the second half) to pop it open and couldn’t do it … But overall, very, very pleased with our intensity, our fight, our effort. You could see our guys came out with the right mindset in the first half. One of our better defensive games.”


UTSA 6-8, 2-5
Southern Miss 7-7, 3-4

Coming up

Southern Miss at UTSA, 3 p.m. Saturday


Injured starting guard Erik Czumbel didn’t play for the Roadrunners. As a result, UTSA went with Jackson, Keaton Wallace and Eric Parrish on the wings, with Adrian Rodriguez (in his first start) at one forward and Jacob Germany in the post. Czumbel banged his knee in a collision with another player in practice on Thursday, and it was decided that he wouldn’t play. Henson is hopeful the sophomore from Italy can be ready for Saturday.


“(Czumbel) is one of our toughest guys. He’ll play through anything. He just couldn’t do it. I saw him on my way to do the radio … The doctor looked at him. He’s feeling better every hour. He was moving better after the game than he did earlier today. So hopefully, we can get him back out there … He looked good 15 minutes ago,” Henson told reporters on a zoom conference.

UTSA by the numbers

With the victory, the Roadrunners improved to 6-1 at home in the Convocation Center … Jackson hit season highs in free throw makes (11) and attempts (13). His production in both of those categories is down from last year, when he was the nation’s second-leading scorer … Interestingly, history shows that UTSA has been up and down in the first seven games of the C-USA schedule under Henson, whose first year with the program was 2016-17. In his first year, he was 4-3, followed by 2-5, 5-2, 3-4 and now 2-5 again … In 2017-18, the first season at UTSA for guards Jackson and Keaton Wallace, Henson’s Roadrunners bounced back from the 2-5 start to finish 11-7 and tied for second in the conference …


UTSA — Jackson, 25 points, on 6 of 15 from the field. Also, 2 of 7 from three and 11 of 13 at the line. Wallace, 18 points, including 3 of 8 from three. He also had eight rebounds. Jacob Germany, 11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots.

Southern Miss — Tyler Stevenson, 23 points and 10 rebounds. He hit 8 of 18 from the field. Jaron Pierre, Jr., 10 points, three assists. LaDavius Draine, eight points on three of eight shooting.

UTSA vs. Southern Miss photo gallery

Jacob Germany blocked five shots on Friday as UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany blocked five shots on Friday in UTSA’s victory over Southern Miss.

UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.