Forward Dre Fuller Jr. enjoyed his best game of the season Monday night, producing 24 points and four rebounds for the UTSA Roadrunners as they won on the road, downing the Houston Christian University Huskies, 89-87.
Guard Christian Tucker had another solid performance, going for 15 points, eight assists and five boards. As Fuller and Tucker rolled, so did the Roadrunners, who shot a season-high 49 percent from the field to help them snap a troublesome three-game losing streak.
With UTSA set to host the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks Friday at noon, Coach Steve Henson took time out after practice Wednesday afternoon to address a few topics.
First, with a group of five players averaging in the neighborhood of 10 points a game, is he looking for someone like Fuller to break out as a go-to scoring leader to carry the team?
Not necessarily, Henson said.
“Not so concerned with someone stepping up and scoring 16 a game, 15 or 20, or whatever,” the coach said. “Not that part. Just more (of) can you play at a high level every night. Tuck’s kind of done that. Trey Edmonds has done a pretty good job of that most nights.
“(But) Dre has scored it very well in stretches. I still think he’s going to be a pretty good facilitator for us. He doesn’t have that many assists right now. That’s what I thought, prior to (the season), he was going to be our leading assist guy.”
While Fuller leads the Roadrunners in scoring at 12.6 points, Tucker is the assists leader at 6.0 per game. Tucker, a junior, is also averaging 11.4 points and 3.0 rebounds. He’s been something of a revelation so far this season in his first as a scholarship player.
“He’s making it happen,” Henson said.
Other questions are looming as UTSA is set to play on back-to-back days for the first time this season. After playing the Gamecocks on Friday, they’ll take on the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals, their Division I cross-town rival, on Saturday.
Will they go with a small lineup again? Will it be Edmonds, Fuller, Isaiah Wyatt, Tucker and Adante’ Holiman, as it was on Monday night at Houston Christian? Maybe. But, maybe not. Henson said after Wednesday’s workout that he hasn’t decided.
Whatever the case, he said he won’t be managing minutes in the Jacksonville State game. Henson said he’ll try to do everything he can to win Friday and then worry about Saturday’s game plan when the time arrives.
The Cardinals, under first-year coach Shane Heirman, have won three in a row.
On Wednesday night at UIW, the Cardinals held an 18-point lead early in the second half, blew all of it and then some, falling behind by four with less than a minute to play, only to rally in the final seconds to beat the Gamecocks from Jacksonville, Ala., 67-66, on a buzzer-beater by Shon Robinson.
Led by veteran coach Ray Harper, who once played guard for the Texas Longhorns, the Gamecocks have lost four straight. Three of the losses — to Utah Tech, North Alabama and UIW — have been by a combined five points.
UTSA season in review
Western Illinois, W, 78-68 (OT)
@ Minnesota, L, 76-102
@ Lamar, L, 82-90
@ Texas State, L, 62-72
@ Houston Christian, W, 89-87
The Roadrunners have limited opponents to 40.5 percent shooting and 31.9 percent from three, both to the liking of UTSA coach Steve Henson. UTSA has also turned it over only 52 times. Another good number.
UTSA is minus 30 in total rebounds, with opponents grabbing 235 of them to only 205 for the Roadrunners. Free-throw shooting differential is also a problem, 116 for 167 for opponents to only 86 of 124 for UTSA.
Dre Fuller, Jr. — Team-leading 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists. Graduate senior forward from North Carolina, who last played at Central Florida, is shooting 40 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from three, 79.9 percent on free throws.
Christian Tucker — 11.4 points, team-leading 6 assists, 3 rebounds. Junior guard from Arizona, 31.1 percent field goals, 15.4 percent from three, 84.4 percent on free throws.
Adante’ Holiman — 11.4 points, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals. Sophomore from Oklahoma, a transfer from UT Rio Grande Valley, 34.6 percent field goals, 31 percent from three, 70.6 percent free throws.
Trey Edmonds — 9.6 points, 7.4 rebounds. Junior center from Colorado, a transfer from Utah Tech, 51.4 percent field goals but only 46.2 percent on free throws. Edmonds hasn’t shot a three.
P.J. Carter — 8.8 points. Junior guard from Georgia, a transfer from Georgia Highlands, 47.2 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from three, 66.7 percent on free throws.
Jacksonville State (1-4) at UTSA (2-3), Friday, noon
Incarnate Word (3-2) at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.
Jacksonville State vs. Incarnate Word, at UTSA, Sunday, 3 p.m.