Nate Davis: East Side leader ‘was always taking care of the kids’

Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Davis served his East Side community with distinction as a coach and administrator at the Davis-Scott YMCA. — Courtesy photo

By Jerry Briggs
Special report for The JB Replay

Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Davis spent most of his adult life working with children as a coach and as an administrator at the Davis-Scott Family YMCA, an institution of historical renown on the East Side of San Antonio.

The late Odie Davis Jr. founded the Alamo Branch YMCA in 1944. It later became the Davis-Scott Family YMCA. — Photo by Jerry Briggs

When Davis showed up for a day’s work, he would turn on the lights at about 9 a.m. and wouldn’t turn them out until, well, maybe 7, or 8, or even 9 p.m. Or, basically, whenever the last child was safely on the way home.

“He treated those kids like his own,” said his older brother, former major league baseball player Odie Davis III.

Stricken with a heart attack, Nate Davis passed away on Jan. 4. The personable neighborhood civic leader was 64.

In all, Davis spent 32 years working with the YMCA, including several at the end of his tenure in a fundraising capacity for all ‘Y’ branches in the city.

“He had a way of talking to people to get that money out of ‘em,” said former Davis-Scott administrator Rufus Miller. “He’d be letting ‘em know that it was for the kids. He knew how to get those funds … with the proper conversation.

“He inherited that from his dad.”

His father was Odie Davis Jr., who founded a community service organization in 1944 known as the Alamo Branch YMCA. Originally, the Alamo Y was located on Sycamore Street near St. Paul’s Square. Later, it moved into a building at 1230 E. Commerce.

Today, the Davis-Scott YMCA – named after Davis Jr. and S.T. Scott, an educator — sits on an expansive plot of land at the intersection of Iowa Street and S. New Braunfels Ave. A sign on the brick façade outside says it all, ‘Safe Place.’

The center is a neighborhood oasis, with activities for all ages, including early learning childcare and after school programs, plus education and leadership classes for teens, along with yoga and pilates and water aerobics for adults.

Back in the day, the Alamo Branch YMCA of the 1940s was equally functional. It served a variety of needs.

Not only was it a recreation center, but also, in the days of segregation, African-Americans who traveled into the city and couldn’t stay at hotels had an option — they could stay at the ‘Y’ near St. Paul’s Square.

“My dad,” Odie Davis III said, “would house ‘em and feed ‘em.”

Davis III, a shortstop who played in 17 games for the Texas Rangers in 1980, said his father told him that he worked with “dignitaries and doctors” sympathetic to the plight of African-American travelers to help fund the operation.

In the ensuing years, Odie Davis Jr. and his wife, Nadine, started a family and had three children. The oldest was Norma. Then came Odie III. Finally, Nathaniel was born a few years later, in 1957.

As the kids grew older, Odie Davis III said he and his brother bonded with sports, throwing a baseball around on the side of the family’s yard on Montana Street. Or, across the road, in a cemetary, which also served as a recreation-oriented green space.

“There was a baseball field and a football field over there,” Davis III said.

The brothers also would spend a lot of time at the ‘Y’ down at 1230 East Commerce. Before school. After school. “We spent all of our life at the YMCA with our dad,” Davis III said.

Asked about his favorite memories of growing up with his brother, Davis III said, basically, all of them. “My brother was the world to me.”

Added Davis III, “We participated in every sport that was around. Our father was trying to break that barrier (of segregation), so we mostly had to play within the YMCA system. We never got out to expose our (talents, in other leagues). So, the Y became a haven.

“Everybody used to go out to the Y camp. You had players from the West Side. They had leagues over there that my dad started. It was camp Alamo. That’s where we (played) our baseball and sports, out there.”

Life took on some dramatic changes for the Davis kids in 1975. That was the year their dad died.

Nate would leave town that same year to attend school at Prairie View A&M, while Odie III was drafted by the Rangers in 1977. Odie III would employ the work ethic taught by his father to make the major leagues with the Rangers briefly in September and October of 1980, and he played professionally through 1982.

Nate, meanwhile, returned to San Antonio to follow in his dad’s footsteps, according to the family’s obituary. Not only did he work at the ‘Y,’ he also played for and later sponsored the semi-pro Denver Heights Bears, a team that his father helped establish in the ‘50s.

In a tenure with the team that lasted some two decades into the late 1990s, Odie III said, the Bears won a city title under Nate’s leadership in 1994.

Nate also was an enthusiastic community organizer. He was a principal in San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Day march, one of the largest in the nation. Each year, the family’s obituary said, he promoted scholarship funds for local youth tied to the event. In 2017, he was the MLK commission chair for the 30th anniversary march.

Mostly, though, Nate loved to work with the children at the YMCA. Combined with his father’s 30 years with the organization and Nate’s own 32, the family’s influence in the community at large has been undeniable.

“I think, culturally, it was a pretty aggressive impact,” Odie Davis III said. “That’s what it was all about. My parents (were) always trying to teach us, (me, my sister) and brother, that you got to try to bring up the neighborhood. You got to try to help. It takes a village, as they used to say.

“That was one of the principles that my dad would teach us, and my brother did it, too. He was always taking care of the kids.”

Arrangements

VISITATION: Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 5-7 p.m.; WAKE SERVICE: 6-6:30 p.m..

Lewis Funeral Home

811 S. W.W. White Road

San Antonio, Tx.

FUNERAL: Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 11 a.m.

Second Baptist Church

3310 E. Commerce

San Antonio, Tx.

INTERMENT: Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 9:45 a.m.. SHELTER #5

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetary

1520 Harry Wurzbach

San Antonio, Tx. 78209

Young, 49ers fend off a Roadrunners rally to win, 62-53

Jahmir Young scored 15 and Syracuse transfer Robert Braswell added 14 Saturday as the Charlotte 49ers turned back the energetic but short-handed UTSA Roadrunners, 62-53.

Young, the leading scorer in Conference USA, hit only 4 of 13 shots from the field.

But with a well-rounded game, he helped to hand the Roadrunners their fourth straight loss with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

In a road game for UTSA played at Charlotte’s Halton Arena, only a few fans turned out due to impending bad weather and the Covid-19 threat.

The Roadrunners, playing without three starters, seemed to take advantage of the lack of energy in the building by erasing most of a 19-point deficit.

Down 32-13 early, they came back to pull within 42-37 with 10 minutes left.

In the end, without Jordan Ivy-Curry, Cedrick Alley Jr. and Dhieu Deing, they didn’t have enough firepower to sustain the momentum.

Deing (pro ball aspirations) and Alley (academics) are no longer with the team. They won’t be back this season. Ivy-Curry (Covid protocols) could return next week.

UTSA was concerned coming in that Charlotte’s offensive style, with cuts and back-cuts, would pose a problem.

While the 49ers didn’t hit a high percentage of shots from the field (34.7 percent), they did force their way to the free-throw line, where they hit 20 of 24, including 14 of 18 in the second half.

Another problem for the Roadrunners centered around decisions they made with the ball when they had it close to the basket.

A 13-1 lead for UTSA in second-chance points likely could have been an even wider margin, given a massive 19-5 edge in offensive rebounding for the Roadrunners.

Looking back, the Roadrunners probably wished they had either taken the ball stronger to the basket on the put-back attempts, or they should have dribbled out and re-started the possession.

Records

UTSA 7-11, 0-5
Charlotte 9-5, 2-0

Coming up

The Roadrunners were scheduled to return to San Antonio Saturday night. In coming days, they’ll begin preparations for a road game at UTEP on Thursday of next week.

Jan. 20 — UTSA at UTEP, 8 p.m.
Jan. 23 — UTEP at UTSA, 3 p.m.
Jan. 27 — FIU at UTSA, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — FAU at UTSA, 1 p.m.

Notable

UTSA forward Aleu Aleu apparently suffered an injury in the first half and didn’t return.

The Roadrunners shot 29.4 percent from the field (20 of 68). From three-point distance, they hit only 12.5 percent (2 of 16). Christian Tucker emerged as UTSA’s leading scorer with 10 points. Without the team’s other primary scoring threats on the floor, junior center Jacob Germany faced traps and double teams most of the afternoon, and as a result he hit only 2 of 9 shots.

Freshman Lamin Sabally and sophomore Lachlan Bofinger supplied good energy when they were on the floor. Sabally scored six points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Bofinger had six points and nine rebounds.

Old Dominion blows out UTSA, 83-51, in Norfolk

The Old Dominion Monarchs hammered the short-handed UTSA Roadrunners with a 19-2 run in the second half Thursday night en route to an easy 83-51 victory in Conference USA men’s basketball.

In the game played at Norfolk, Va., the Roadrunners were playing without starters Cedrick Alley, Jr., and Jordan Ivy-Curry and still were within 13 points with 16 minutes left.

The Monarchs answered by turning up the intensity behind Jaylin Hunter and C.J. Keyser to push the lead to 30, at 61-31, with 10:38 remaining.

From there, UTSA was doomed to an 0-4 start in conference, with one loss by 32, one by 28 and another by 16. Old Dominion shot 62 percent from the field on the way to a 2-0 C-USA record.

The Roadrunners shot 39 percent from the field. They hit only 1 of 13 from three-point range. Erik Czumbel scored a season-high 16 for UTSA and Jacob Germany 12.

For the Monarchs, Austin Trice had 19, while Hunter and Keyser added 16 apiece. Combined, the threesome hit 22 of 32 shots from the floor.

“Never got any rhythm going offensively, and defensively, it was pretty disappointing,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

Records

UTSA 7-10, 0-4
Old Dominion 7-8, 2-0

Schedule

Saturday — UTSA at Charlotte, noon

Pre-game

When the Roadrunners stepped on the court against the Monarchs, they were without two starters, power forward Cedrick Alley Jr. and guard Jordan Ivy-Curry.

A UTSA spokesman said in a text that Alley is out for the year because of academic eligibility. Ivy-Curry is in Covid protocols, he added.

Alley played 15 games and started 14 for the Roadrunners. He averaged 9.3 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds. With Alley out, it means that the Roadrunners have lost two starters for the season in the last two weeks.

Last week, UTSA announced that Dhieu Deing was no longer on the team and planned to pursue a professional career. Deing was UTSA’s leading scorer with 15.3 points per game.

Ivy-Curry apparently did not travel, so he will be out a minimum of two games, against Old Dominion and against Charlotte on Saturday. It’s the second time that Ivy-Curry, the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 15.1, has been in Covid protocols this season.

He also sat out two games in December.

The game at Old Dominion marked the first of three straight for the Roadrunners in conference away from home.

First half

Old Dominion built a 33-21 lead in the first half. Perhaps predictably, the Monarchs jumped on the Roadrunners early, forging leads of 7-0 and 16-2. Outside of scoring bursts from Erik Czumbel and Jacob Germany, UTSA trailed by double digits for most of the rest of the half. Forward Austin Trice hit 7 of 7 shots from the field for 15 points to lead the Monarchs. As a team, ODU hit 15 of 25 for 60 percent. UTSA was 7 of 25 for 28 percent. Czumbel hit 5 of 7 for 11 points.

Louisiana Tech nails 14 threes, scores a lopsided victory at UTSA

Lachlan Bofinger. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Lachlan Bofinger battles Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr. for a rebound Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. Lofton and the Bulldogs won 79-63 to complete a two-game, Conference USA sweep in Texas this week. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In the beginning, 6-foot-7, 275-pound sophomore Kenneth Lofton Jr. picked up a nifty steal on the perimeter and then made like a mack truck in over-drive, dribbling the length of the floor for a layup.

But in the end, it wasn’t really the Lofton show as much as it was an Amorie Archibald highlight reel.

UTSA limited Lofton to 5 of 14 shooting from the field, only to see Archibald and the Louisiana Tech perimeter players get on a red-hot shooting roll in a 79-63 victory for the Bulldogs over the slumping Roadrunners at the Convocation Center.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Jordan Ivy-Curry scored 22 points, including 13 in the second half. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Archibald, a senior guard, scored a game-high 31 points. He hit 12 of 14 shots from the field and 6 of 6 from three-point distance, helping his team sweep a two-game Conference USA road trip through Texas.

After downing the UTEP Miners in El Paso Thursday night, the Bulldogs came to San Antonio and toyed with the Roadrunners, knocking down 14 of 28 threes.

The performance sent UTSA reeling to its second-straight, C-USA loss of the week, both at home, and its fifth loss in its last six games overall.

Records

Louisiana Tech 13-3, 4-0
UTSA 7-9, 0-3

A coach’s lament

In a post-game visit with reporters, UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t sugar-coat his feelings, implying that his locker room speech to players may have been a little bit blunt.

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Kenneth Lofton Jr. finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Lofton grabbed 34 rebounds combined in victories over UTEP and UTSA this week.. – Photo by Joe Alexander

But he also tried to stay positive with three straight road games looming.

“They know I’m not going to go in there and try to make ’em feel better,” Henson said. “You know, we lost a game and didn’t make enough plays to give ourselves a legitimate chance to win. I also told them there were some stretches, some things we can build on.

“We’ve got a great deal of respect for (LA Tech). They’re one of the two or three best teams in the league. They’ve got depth. They’ve got so many good players.”

UTSA dropped to 0-3 in conference for the second straight season. Last year, the Roadrunners pulled it together and finished 9-7 in the C-USA. Can they do something like that again? Let’s just say, there is a lot of work to be done.

Assessing the Bulldogs

How good are the Bulldogs?

They entered play ranked No. 70 in the NET rankings, the tool that the NCAA uses to sort out the relative strength of its 358 Division I teams. Going up against the Roadrunners, at No. 336, they were expected to win — and they did.

At the same time, it’s never easy to sweep a road trip in the C-USA, and they did it in workman-like fashion, winning at UTEP by 12 points and at UTSA by 16. In El Paso, they held the Miners to 33 percent shooting. In San Antonio, they shot 48.4 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent in the second half.

Cedrick Alley Jr. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Cedrick Alley Jr. squeezes off a shot Saturday afternoon against Louisiana Tech. – Photo by Joe Alexander

They led by as many as 23 mid-way through the second half after Archibald came out firing after intermission. Archibald was four-for-four from long distance in the half, and he celebrated after some of them by blowing kisses to the sky.

“My coaches and my teammates just tell me to keep shooting when I’m open,” he said. “Last game, I didn’t really play to the best of my abilities. I just wanted to come out and give my team my best effort.”

Archibald said he felt like the Bulldogs “played great” the day after a long day on the road.

“Coming from El Paso, that’s a lot of traveling,” Archibald said. “But I feel like we battled through the adversity. That’s what coach talks about a lot. You know, those (road) sweeps don’t really come a lot in Conference USA. So, we took that into consideration, that we could do it, and I feel like we executed.”

Individual highlights

Louisiana Tech — Archibald, 31 points. Cobe Williams, 15 points, including 5 of 8 on three pointers. Lofton, 12 points and 16 rebounds in 27 minutes.

UTSA — Jordan Ivy-Curry, 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Jacob Germany, 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Also, 13 rebounds. Off the bench, Lamin Sabally, 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 3 on three pointers. Darius McNeil, 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 21 minutes off the bench.

Notable

The Roadrunners fell to 0-2 since they announced the departure of guard Dhieu Deing from the program. Deing had been averaging 15.3 points and 5 rebounds a game … Both Cedrick Alley, Jr., and Aleu Aleu were held to a combined three points. Pressured when he touched the ball on the perimter, Aleu went scoreless. He got off only one shot — a three-point attempt — and missed it. Alley was 1 for 7 from the field …

Darius McNeill. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior guard Darius McNeill finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Defensively, UTSA did a good job with Lofton, a 2021 Conference USA all-freshman team member. The sophomore from Port Arthur came in averaging 17.1 points. Outside of a few plays, he never found a rhythm while being shadowed by the taller Germany and banged around by Phoenix Ford and others … In bench play, UTSA got a little more production than it had been getting, with freshman Lamin Sabally and senior Darius McNeil leading the way. The Roadrunners also played well offensively in the second half, shooting 51.7 percent and scoring 37 after intermission.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Louisiana Tech shooting guard Keaston Willis. Willis played last year at San Antonio-based Incarnate Word and led the Cardinals into the Southland Conference tournament. Willis finished with 3 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He was 1 for 8 from the field. Afterward, he met with some friends wearing the UIW red and black.

Coming up

Jan. 13 — UTSA at Old Dominion.
Jan. 15 — UTSA at Charlotte.
Jan. 20 — UTSA at UTEP.
Jan. 23 — UTEP at UTSA.

Frustrated Roadrunners know they can play at a higher level

Steve Henson. men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s Roadrunners face a daunting stretch of games starting with Louisiana Tech at home on Saturday. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Plenty of questions swirled around the UTSA Roadrunners Friday morning as they prepared for a film session at noon, followed by a short practice and then an afternoon game Saturday against the powerful Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Guard Dhieu Deing, their leading scorer, has left the program to pursue professional basketball opportunities.

In addition, they’ve lost four of their last five games, including four straight against NCAA Division I competition.

Perhaps most concerning, the Roadrunners have now dropped their first two on the Conference USA schedule leading into Saturday’s 3 p.m. tipoff against Kenneth Lofton, Jr., and the Bulldogs.

It doesn’t get any easier after that as UTSA braces for three C-USA games in a row on the road.

Addressing the team’s situation after a 74-73 loss at home Thursday night to Southern Miss, UTSA coach Steve Henson acknowledged the challenge but maintained a positive outlook, given 16 games remaining on the C-USA schedule, including one Covid-related makeup.

“A lot of games left,” Henson said. “We got to play better, bottom line. This was an important game, because it was a home game. We talked about the early stretch (in conference) with a bunch of road games and home games against good opponents.

“So, it’s going to be important for our guys to stay together. They’re a little frustrated. We’re not playing the way we think we can. It doesn’t get any easier on Saturday. We know that. Then we go on the road for two.

“We got to keep our heads up and make progress.”

Coming up

Saturday, 3 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA.

Records

Louisiana Tech 12-3, 3-0
UTSA 7-8, 0-2

Notable

The Bulldogs ran their record in conference to 3-0 late Thursday night with a 64-52 road victory at UTEP. LA Tech smothered UTEP defensively, holding the Miners to 33 percent shooting. The Bulldogs also were aggressive in controlling the boards, 42-31.

Much of that was because of Lofton, who had 11 points and 18 rebounds. Outside of Lofton, one of the premier post players in the nation, sophomore guard Cobe Williams has evolved into a dangerous offensive threat.

Williams has scored 57 points in conference, including 22 against Marshall and 18 against Western Kentucky in home victories last week. The 6-footer from Dallas had 11 of his 17 on the Miners in the first half, when the Bulldogs surged to a 41-25 lead.

Lofton, a 6-foot-7, 275-pound sophomore, is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Golden Eagles hold off Ivy-Curry, Roadrunners, 74-73

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry produced 23 points and five rebounds, but the UTSA Roadrunners came up short, losing 74-73 to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. — Photo by Joe Alexander

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak at the expense of the UTSA Roadrunners Thursday night, making just enough plays down the stretch to emerge with a 74-73 victory at the Convocation Center.

For UTSA, it was a heartbreaking setback in the team’s first true test without high-scoring guard Dhieu Deing, whose departure from the program apparently had been percolating since early in the week but was announced just before tipoff.

“We’re not going to go into any great detail about it,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said after the game. “You know, we love him. Dhieu did a great job for us. He worked really, really hard. He competed. He loved the game. He just felt like he had some opportunities to go play professionally.

Cedrick Alley Jr.'s shot on the final play of the game. The ball did not go in and no foul was called. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Was it a foul? Nothing was called as a Southern Miss player appears to hit the arm of UTSA’s Cedrick Alley Jr. on the game’s last play. Alley finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals. — Photo by Joe Alexander

“We wish him well with that. It was pretty abrupt. I don’t know if that’s been on his mind or not. It just happened this week, and we wish him well.”

Deing, a junior college transfer who had played for South Sudan in an Afro Basket tournament over the summer, finished his 13-game UTSA career averaging 15.3 points.

In what would be his last game for UTSA, went 0-for-11 from the field and scored two points in a 28-point road loss at UAB last Saturday.

On Monday, he didn’t play at home against Dallas Christian College, and the Roadrunners rolled to an easy victory, winning 101-48.

Returning to conference play against Southern Miss, the Roadrunners played fairly well, considering that Deing had carried such a heavy load in November and December. Just not well enough to keep them from falling to 0-2 in C-USA play.

Aleu Aleu. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Forward Aleu Aleu made an impact for the Roadrunners with 11 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry led four UTSA players in double figures with 23 points. In the second half, he scored 19 and the Roadrunners shot 48 percent from the field. They also knocked down six of 10 shots from long distance.

In addition, Aleu Aleu continued to show off impressive skills, which included an offensive rebound and an up-and-under move at the hoop, a step-back, three-point shot and a pull-up jumper from the free throw line after faking a drive.

It was all included in an 11-point showing.

UTSA’s troubles started in the first half, when their defense sagged and their offense didn’t click and they fell behind by 10. Undeterred, the Roadrunners rallied behind Aleu and Jacob Germany to pull into a 32-32 tie at intermission.

After taking a five-point lead early in the second half, the Roadrunners allowed the Golden Eagles to get off the mat and make their own comeback.

Guards Jarron Pierre Jr., Rashad Bolden and center Isaih Moore led the way.

The trio helped turn a 37-32 deficit in the first minute after intermission into a 41-39 lead for when Bolden drove to the bucket in transition and converted a three-point play.

From there, Southern Miss boosted the lead to 57-49 when Pierre drained two long three-pointers, the second coming with 9:14 left. In response, UTSA rallied again.

The Roadrunners made some stops and kept chipping away and, with 1:17 remaining, cut the visitors’ lead to 72-71 on three Ivy-Curry free throws.

On the next possession, the Golden Eagles seized the upper hand with the help of what arguably could be called a little luck.

Defended well on the wing by the Roadrunners’ Aleu Aleu, Pierre hoisted a three-point shot from the corner that was long.

Darius McNeill. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior Darius McNeill played 17 minutes and scored seven points on 3 of 7 shooting. — Photo by Joe Alexander

If the Roadrunners could have grabbed the rebound, they could have come up the court with about a minute remaining with a chance to take the lead.

Instead, Pierre’s miss skipped off the rim, caroming long and into the waiting hands of Bolden, who was fouled. Headed to the line facing a one-and-one situation, he made both for a 74-71 edge with 47.3 seconds left.

On the other end, UTSA moved to make up for the missed opportunity, taking only about 12 seconds to score. Ivy-Curry found Cedrick Alley Jr., who went up strong to the hoop for a layup, bringing the Roadrunners to within 74-73.

On the Golden Eagles’ last possession, Walyn Napper misfired on a runner in the lane, giving the Roadrunners one last chance.

Ivy-Curry pushed it up court again. Once again, he dished under the basket to Alley. This time, Alley drew contact. His attempt was batted away at the buzzer by Moore, a 6-foot-10 St. John’s transfer.

“We were going to try to get a stop and push it, which is exactly what we did,” Henson said. “We got it to Juice. We wanted to attack before they got their defense set.

He drove it hard to the outside, and he had a chance to turn the corner. (But) he didn’t. He really kept his composure and got back in the middle and made a real nice play to Cedrick. We had a shot right at the basket. We just couldn’t convert it.”

Christian Tucker. men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Christian Tucker started at point guard and finished with four points and four rebounds. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Asked if he could see contact from a defender on the play, Henson shrugged, declining an opportunity to suggest that the home-team Roadrunners deserved a call at that critical juncture.

“It was the right play for us to make,” the coach said. “They challenged the shot. They’ve got good length in there. We had a lot of shots that looked just like that through the course of the game. We just weren’t able to convert.

“I’d have to look at film to see if there was contact. We just don’t want to be in that position.”

Records

Southern Miss 5-8, 1-0
UTSA 7-8, 0-2

Coming up

Saturday, 2 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA.

Jacob Germany. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany hits the floor in a scramble for the ball against Southern Miss. Germany had 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA announces Dhieu Deing’s departure from the team

Dhieu Deing. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

High-energy guard Dhieu Deing (No. 3) has left the UTSA basketball program. Deing was the team’s leading scorer at 15.3 points per game. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Thursday night update

UTSA announced Thursday night that guard Dhieu Deing is no longer on the team.

“Dhieu Deing is no longer going to be a member of our basketball program,” a statement from UTSA athletics said. “He has elected to pursue professional basketball opportunities.”

From Wednesday

UTSA coach Steve Henson says that guard Dhieu Deing, the team’s leading scorer, will not play when the Roadrunners host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a Conference USA game Thursday night at the Convocation Center.

“We’ll put out a statement on him in the next couple of days,” Henson said Wednesday. “I’m just going to leave it at that, for now. He will not be in uniform tomorrow night.”

Asked if Deing might also be out for Saturday afternoon’s home game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the coach declined comment.

The loss of Deing has emerged as the latest in a string of challenges for the Roadrunners, who have been erratic in their level of play all season and have had a mix of setbacks ranging from injuries, to players in Covid protocols.

Deing’s absence is not Covid-related, but it might be the toughest to overcome, especially if he is out for an extended period of time.

The 6-foot-5 junior, a newcomer, is one of the team’s best athletes.

Even though he has been mired in a slump, shooting 0-for-11 from the field in a 28-point loss last Saturday at UAB, Deing has averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 13 games played.

He sat out his first game of the season on Monday night when the Roadrunners pounded the Dallas Christian Crusaders, 101-48, in non conference.

In trying to adjust without him, Henson said the Roadrunners will miss his energy and his rebounding, but he said he hopes his players can use it as an “opportunity” to continue work on getting better shots in the offense.

“Southern Miss is a good defensive team,” Henson said. “It won’t be easy to get those good shots. Hopefully we can find a way to move it one more time. Get one more ball reversal. Get one more paint touch and a high percentage shot.”

UTSA had lost three straight games before beating Dallas Christian.

As the Roadrunners move into the thick of the conference schedule, they’ll look to center Jacob Germany (14.4 points), point guard Jordan Ivy-Curry (13.9) and Cedrick Alley (9.4) and others to fill the scoring void for as long as Deing is out.

In Southern Miss, UTSA will need to defend against a low-post, oriented offense.

Isaih Moore, a 6-10 transfer from St. John’s, leads the Golden Eagles with 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Junior Tyler Stevenson averages 12.1 points and 8.4 rebounds. Southern Miss has lost six straight.

Coming up

Thursday, 7 p.m. — Southern Miss at UTSA
Saturday, 2 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA

Records

Southern Miss 4-8, 0-0
UTSA 7-7, 0-1

Notebook

Cedrick Alley and reserve center/forward Phoenix Ford are expected to return to action Thursday. Alley fell in the road game at UAB last Saturday, and, consequently, Henson held him out Monday against Dallas Christian. Ford has been out for the last three games, including the trip to Illinois State on Dec. 21 for personal reasons. On Christmas Eve, his girlfriend gave birth to the couple’s first child. Since then, Ford has missed the UAB and Dallas Christian games in Covid protocols.

Deing, a native of Louisiana who grew up in North Carolina, played for two colleges before joining the Roadrunners this summer. He also played for South Sudan in a FIBA Afro Basket tournament last summer. At one point earlier in the season, he had four games of 20 or more points in a string of six outings. Recently, he has slumped, hitting only 8 of 45 shots from the field in his last three outings.

The Golden Eagles suffered a tough break in late November when they lost their leading scorer, Tae Hardy, to a shoulder injury.

Coach Jay Ladner’s team has since lost six in a row. They’re playing their first game since Dec. 21 when they lost by one at East Carolina. After a holiday break, they returned to campus only to have both of their first two conference games — against Western Kentucky and Marshall — postponed due to COVID protocols.

Louisiana Tech (11-3, 2-0) is regarded as one of the favorites to win the C-USA title. The Bulldogs won two at home last week, downing Marshall by 23 points and Western Kentucky by one. LA Tech is led by forward Kenneth Lofton, Jr. Lofton, who played on a USA national basketball team last summer, averages 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds.

Two UTSA women’s basketball games are postponed

UTSA has announced that its Conference USA women’s basketball games scheduled for Thursday at Southern Miss and Saturday at Louisiana Tech have been postponed due to COVID-19 related issues within the Roadrunners’ program.

The teams will work with the conference to reschedule the games for later in the season, if it fits in the teams’ schedules, according to a news release.

The Roadrunners will return to action on Jan. 13 against Old Dominion at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

UTSA (4-9, 1-1) split its first two conference games last week, falling to Middle Tennessee, 85-56, and then rebounding to defeat the UAB Blazers, 68-60, in overtime.

UTSA routs Dallas Christian and halts a three-game losing streak

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Dallas Christian 101-48 on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry sank five of UTSA’s 17 three-point baskets Monday in a blowout victory over the Dallas Christian Crusaders. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners needed a game to rediscover their offensive rhythm, and they seized it on Monday night by passing for 21 assists in a 101-48 non-conference victory over the Dallas Christian College Crusaders.

In snapping a troublesome three-game losing streak, the Roadrunners shot 48.7 percent from the field, including 52.9 percent in the second half, to rout the outmanned visitors from the National Christian College Athletic Association.

Only two days ago, the Roadrunners were humbled in a Conference USA game in Alabama.

They lost 87-59 on Saturday to the powerful UAB Blazers. While the Crusaders play at a few levels below the 14 teams in the C-USA, the home game at the Convocation Center still represented a chance for UTSA to work on execution for an offense that has been erratic at best.

Lamin Sabally. UTSA beat Dallas Christian 101-48 on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Lamin Sabally produced 15 points and six rebounds. Sabally was 4 for 4 from the three-point arc. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“A lot of positives,” Coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “A lot things we can take away from it. The 21 assists (were) good. I thought we turned down some pretty good shots for some great shots.

“(In) rebounding (UTSA, 63-28), we kind of expected that (with our size advantage).”

UTSA entered the Dallas Christian game shooting 37.5 percent, including a cool 32 percent over losses to UT Rio Grande Valley, Illinois State and UAB. The Roadrunners responded against the Crusaders by making 19 of 42 afield in the first half, and 18 of 34 down the stretch.

Jordan Ivy-Curry knocked down five 3-point shots as UTSA hit a season-best 17 in 37 attempts from distance for the game.

Ivy-Curry scored 17 points to lead five UTSA players in double figures. Freshman Lamin Sabally scored a season-high 15 points, while Aleu Aleu and Darius McNeill added 13 apiece. Jacob Germany scored 10.

Aleu Aleu. UTSA beat Dallas Christian 101-48 on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Aleu Aleu started for the second straight game and ignited UTSA with two 3-point shots in the first two minutes. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Point guard Christian Tucker led the Roadrunners in assists with six in 24 minutes. Tucker also scored five points and pulled down nine rebounds. Lachlan Bofinger also started and produced a team-high 10 rebounds. Off the bench, 6-foot-9 freshman Josh Farmer had nine points on 4 of 7 shooting and nine boards.

UTSA rolled to a 12-point lead in the opening minutes, bumped it to 43 at the halftime break and increased it to as much as 56 at the end.

While a few players sat out for various reasons, the Roadrunners were looking for any and all players to take advantage of the opportunity to play. Aleu made the most of it, hitting two early threes to get the team going.

“I think I can be the energy guy,” Aleu told broadcasters Andy Everett and Tim Carter on the post-game show. “On defense, come in, guard, get rebounds. (On offense), make wide-open shots. Just kind of that role, whatever is needed.”

First half

The UTSA Roadrunners opened with back-to-back, 3-pointers from Aleu. They went on to hit 12 threes in 24 attempts in building a 55-12 halftime lead.

Darius McNeill. UTSA beat Dallas Christian 101-48 on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior Darius McNeill had 13 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Playing with a decided advantage in size and athleticism, the Roadrunners seized momentum by scoring 12 points in a row at the outset. A few minutes later, it was 20-2, and a dozen minutes into the game, they were still rolling, leading 37-4.

Several Roadrunners contributed in the opening minutes, Sabally with nine points, Ivy-Curry with eight, and Aleu and McNeill with seven each. Sabally was 3-for-3 from three-point range.

The offensive outburst, even against an inferior opponent, was a welcome sight for the Roadrunners who have struggled on offense this season. UTSA came into the game averaging 67 points, while shooting 37.5 percent from the field. The Roadrunners were hitting only 26.1 percent from three-point territory.

Notebook

For Dallas Christian, which plays in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association, it was the team’s fifth exhibition against an NCAA Division I program.

The Crusaders have been beaten previously by Texas A&M, Tarleton, Northwestern State (La.) and the University of the Incarnate Word. UIW downed Dallas Christian 90-45 on Sunday afternoon in San Antonio.

Late in the first half, McNeill was helped off the court, assisted by a trainer. The senior transfer from SMU returned to play in the second half. UTSA’s Dhieu Deing, Cedrick Alley Jr. and Phoenix Ford did not play.

Records

UTSA 7-7
Dallas Christian 1-4

Coming up

Thursday, 7 p.m. — Southern Miss at UTSA
Saturday, 3 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA

UTSA women rally past UAB, 68-60, in overtime

The UTSA women’s basketball program celebrated New Year’s Day on Saturday with a comeback victory over the UAB Blazers.

Trailing by 10 points with seven minutes left in regulation, the Roadrunners rallied to win 68-60 in overtime at the Convocation Center.

The Blazers, at one point, appeared well on their way to victory when Lindsey Dullard sank a 3-pointer for a 45-35 lead with 7:06 left in the fourth period.

From there, the Roadrunners staged a dramatic rally, outscoring the Blazers 18-8 down the stretch to send the game into overtime.

A follow shot by UTSA’s Elena Blanding with 56 seconds remaining tied it, 53-53.

Relying on defense, the Roadrunners stopped UAB from scoring twice down the stretch and nearly won at the end, only to have Leslie Hunter misfire on a three at the buzzer.

In overtime, UTSA rode the shooting of Jadyn Pimentel and Charlene Mass to a five-point lead.

Undeterred, UAB came from behind, pulling to within 62-60 on a Margaret Whitley three with 29 seconds left.

UTSA steadied itself by scoring the game’s last six points, as Pimentel, Chantel Govan and Hailey Atwood sank a pair of free throws each to clinch it.

It was a signature win for the Roadrunners and the first for Coach Karen Aston at UTSA in a C-USA contest.

Records

UAB 8-5, 1-1
UTSA 4-9, 1-1

Individuals

UAB: Zakyia Weathersby 14 points, Margaret Whitley (13), Lindsey Dullard (10). Weathersby, 16 rebounds.

UTSA: Jadyn Pimentel, 21 points, LaPraisjah Johnson (16), Chantel Govan (11). Johnson, 11 rebounds, including six offensive.