Western Kentucky names S.A. native Steve Lutz as head coach

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

San Antonio native Steve Lutz on Saturday was named head basketball coach at Western Kentucky University.

A&M-Corpus Christi coach Steve Lutz at the UTSA Convocation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Lutz led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to a 47-23 record and two NCAA tournament appearances in the past two years. — File photo by Joe Alexander.

WKU director of athletics Todd Stewart made the announcement in a release posted on the school’s athletics website. Lutz is a 1991 East Central High School graduate.

He played basketball at East Central for Stan Bonewitz, Sr., and at Texas Lutheran University before embarking on a college coaching career, which has included stops as an assistant at the University of the Incarnate Word, Stephen F. Austin, SMU, Creighton and Purdue.

Lutz has been the head coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the past two seasons.

“We are excited to name Steve Lutz as our next head coach,” Stewart said. “He is a proven winner and a respected coach with a track record of consistent success in recruiting, player development, academics, and community involvement.”

In his only two years as a head coach, Lutz led the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders to NCAA tournament appearances following the 2021-22 and ’22-23 seasons.

Both years, the Islanders won the postseason tournament title in the Southland Conference.

This year, he won both the SLC regular-season and the postseason crowns en route to the NCAA tournament.

On Tuesday night, the Islanders beat the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, 75-71, in Dayton, Ohio, in the NCAA First Four. His team was eliminated Thursday in Birmingham, falling 96-75 to the top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide.

“I am very excited and appreciative of the opportunity to be the next head coach at Western Kentucky,” Lutz said. “This is a storied program with a rich history of success. Our teams will wear the WKU uniform with pride and represent the Hilltopper Nation in everything we do.”

Arkansas eliminates defending NCAA champion Kansas, 72-71

The season has come to an end for the defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks. For the Arkansas Razorbacks, they have advanced, and they’re heading to Las Vegas with their loyal fans for the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.

It all unfolded Saturday, when the eighth-seeded Razorbacks rallied to knock off the No. 1 Jayhawks 72-71 in a West region round of 32 game at Des Moines, Iowa.

With Davonte Davis scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half and Ricky Council IV hitting clutch free throws in the final minutes, the Razorbacks knocked out the Jayhawks, who became the second top-seed in the tournament to lose in 24 hours.

On Friday night, Farleigh Dickinson shook the basketball landscape by becoming only the second No. 16 seed in 38 years to beat a No. 1, as the Knights eliminated the Purdue Boilermakers in the East region, and now Kansas has gone down, as well.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman, celebrating with the Razorbacks’ fans, ripped off his shirt at courtside in the moments after the victory and had to put it back on for his televised post-game interview.

“I mean, that’s such an unbelievable win,” Musselman said on the CBS telecast. “I keep telling people that we’re getting better. Not many teams can get better this time of year. I’m so, I’ve never been prouder of a team like tonight.”

Asked how his team could come back from an eight-point halftime deficit against the regular-season champions in the Big 12, Musselman acknowledged that it had a lot to do with Davis, a 6-4 junior guard from Jacksonville, Ark.

“I love this kid so much,” the coach said.

Davis was in tears as he tried to explain how he met his coach’s challenge to become a leader on the team.

“I don’t know,” Davis said, bending over and pausing to compose himself. “It’s crazy. I feel real glad we came out with the win.”

Asked about the tears, Davis replied, “Putting in the work. This team has struggled, and we figured it out, and I’m glad we did at the right time. And I hope we continue to do it.”

The Razorbacks will advance to play next week against the winner between the UConn Huskies and Saint Mary’s (Calif.) Gaels, who will play Sunday in Albany, N.Y.

Despite the absence of veteran head coach Bill Self, Kansas pushed out to an early lead and held it for most of the game. Led by Davis, Arkansas gradually cut into the lead throughout the second half and eventually took over the game in the final minutes.

Self had a heart procedure and was hospitalized last week during the Big 12 tournament. He didn’t coach in the conference title game against Texas last Saturday, and then was released from the hospital on Sunday.

The coach was with the team in Des Moines but wasn’t on the bench for either Thursday’s victory over Howard or in the loss to Arkansas. Assistant coach Norm Roberts worked all three games for the Jayhawks.

Forward Jalen Wilson scored 20 points for Kansas and center K.J. Adams added 14. Guards Kevin McCullar, Jr. and Dajuan Harris., added 13 and 12 points, respectively.

McCullar left the Texas Tech Red Raiders after last season and transferred to play as a senior at Kansas. He formerly was one of the best players in San Antonio for the Wagner High School Thunderbirds.

Midwest Region
Round of 32

No. 2 seed Texas 71, No. 8 Arkansas 66, at Des Moines
No. 1 seed Houston 81, No. 9 Auburn 64, at Birmingham

TCU’s dramatic victory over Arizona State boosts Big 12 to 5-2 in the NCAA tournament

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

I’m still undecided on whether to buy into the concept that the Big 12 Conference is the best league in men’s college basketball this year.

I know the Big 12 has had more teams jammed into the Top 25 rankings than anyone.

But, I just haven’t seen enough of their games to know for sure.

So far, teams from the conference are doing a pretty fair job of living up to the hype in the NCAA tournament.

The Big 12 has won five and lost two in the tournament’s round of 64, capped late Friday night by the TCU Horned Frogs’ dramatic 72-70 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils.

With the game tied and the clock ticking under 10 seconds to play, Arizona State double-teamed TCU star Mike Miles Jr., who passed across the top of the three-point circle to JaKobe Coles.

Coles dribbled past a defender and lofted a 5-foot runner over the outstretched arm of forward Desmond Cambridge Jr. It swished for the game-winner with three seconds remaining.

Winners out of the Big 12 in the first round of the tournament included West region No. 1 seed Kansas, Midwest No. 2 Texas, South No. 3 Baylor, East No. 3 Kansas State and TCU, the No. 6 seed in the West.

Losers were Midwest No. 6 Iowa State and South No. 9 seed West Virginia. Here’s a glance at how Big 12 teams have fared thus far:

Thursday’s results
Round of 64
South: 8) Maryland beat 9) West Virginia, 67-65
West: 1) Kansas beat 16) Howard, 96-68
Midwest: 2) Texas beat 15) Colgate, 81-61

Friday’s results
Round of 64
South: 3) Baylor beat 14) UC Santa Barbara, 74-56
Midwest: 11) Pittsburgh beat 6) Iowa State, 59-41
West: 6) TCU beat 11) Arizona State, 72-70
East: 3) Kansas State beat 14) Montana State, 77-65.

Saturday’s games
Round of 32
West: 1) Kansas vs. 8) Arkansas, 4:15 p.m., CBS
Midwest: 2) Texas vs. 10) Penn State, 6:45 p.m., CBS

Sunday’s games
Round of 32
East: 3) Kansas State vs. 6) Kentucky, 1:40 p.m., CBS
South: 3) Baylor vs. 6) Creighton, 6:10 p.m., TBS
West: 6) TCU vs. 3) Gonzaga, 8:40 p.m., TBS


Next season, in 2023-24, the Big 12 is shaping up to be a men’s basketball juggernaut.

In July, the Houston Cougars will transition into the league along with Cincinnati and Central Florida from the American Athletic Conference. In addition, BYU will also join. Meanwhile, Texas and Oklahoma will compete in the league for the last time before they bolt to the Southeastern Conference.

So, how many top four seeds will that give the conference in the 2024 NCAA men’s tournament? I’m guessing four or five, at least.

McCullar returns to the lineup as top-seeded Kansas routs Howard

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Kansas coach Bill Self wasn’t in the arena for an NCAA tournament opener at Des Moines, Iowa, but guard Kevin McCullar, Jr. was.

With San Antonio’s McCullar returning to the lineup after sitting out a Big 12 title-game loss to Texas, the top-seeded Jayhawks stormed to a 96-68 victory over the Howard University Bison Thursday in a round-of-64 West region game.

The victory allowed the top-seeded Jayhawks to advance to play the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks in the round of 32 on Saturday. Arkansas downed ninth-seeded Illinois, 73-63.

Self’s status for the next round remains in question following a heart procedure and hospitalization last week.

The setback caused him to miss last Saturday’s Big 12 championship game, a 76-56 loss to Texas in Kansas City.

Though he was released from a Kansas City-area hospital on Sunday, the two-time NCAA championship coach wasn’t on the bench for the Jayhawks as they took the floor in Des Moines for the tournament opener.

Led by assistant coach Norm Roberts, the Jayhawks steadied themselves after a shaky start, shot 52 percent from the field in a fast-paced game and blew out the Bison. Jalen Wilson scored 20 points and freshman Gradey Dick added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Kansas.

McCullar, a former standout at San Antonio’s Wagner High School, enjoyed a solid game across the board with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It was McCullar’s first NCAA tournament game with the Jayhawks after an offseason transfer from Texas Tech.

In his first season at Kansas, he was named to the Big 12’s all-defensive team and helped the Jayhawks to the conference’s regular-season title. Kansas finished 13-5 in conference, a game ahead of Texas and two games in front of Kansas State and Baylor.

Islanders ousted

A spirited run by the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders ended Thursday in Birmingham, Ala. The top-seeded Alabama Crimson Tide, backed by a home-state crowd, blew out the Islanders 96-75 in the South region round of 64.

Islanders coach Steve Lutz, an East Central High School graduate, led his team to a 24-11 record and the first NCAA victory in school history.

Point guard Jalen Jackson, from Wagner, scored 22 on Tuesday night in a round-of-68 victory over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Dayton, Ohio. Jackson couldn’t get it going against the Crimson Tide, finishing with four points and three assists.

San Antonio’s Lutz, Jackson return to NCAA tournament with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Islanders coach Steve Lutz. A&M-Corpus Christi beat UTSA 77-58 on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Islanders coach Steve Lutz, a 1991 East Central High School graduate, has notched NCAA tournament berths in each of his first two seasons as a college head coach. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders are returning to the NCAA tournament.

Looking for the first NCAA victory in program history, Steve Lutz-coached A&M-Corpus Christi will play in one of the First Four games at Dayton, Ohio. The Islanders (23-10) will take on the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (19-16) at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday on truTV.

A&M-Corpus Christi guard Jalen Jackson playing at the UTSA Convocation Center on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi guard Jalen Jackson played in San Antonio at Wagner High School and led the Thunderbirds to the 2019 Class 5A state title game. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Lutz, a San Antonian and a 1991 East Central High School graduate, is two-for-two in his head coaching career, leading the Islanders to back-to-back postseason titles in the Southland Conference.

After claiming the SLC trophies, he has also earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament each time.

Last week, San Antonio’s Jalen Jackson emerged as the SLC tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Jackson, a senior point guard from Wagner High School, had 17 points and six assists in the title-game victory over Northwestern State (La.).

The rise of the Islanders under Lutz has been impressive. A&M-Corpus Christi had lost 73 games over four seasons before the school hired Lutz, a former player at East Central and Texas Lutheran and an assistant coach at the University of the Incarnate Word.

In 2021-22, his first team at A&M-Corpus Christi finished 23-12. They finished fourth in the SLC regular season and then won three games in three days for the postseason crown. Going on to Dayton for an NCAA First-Four matchup against Texas Southern, a battle between No. 16 seeds, the Islanders lost 76-67.

This year, with essentially the same core of players — forward Isaac Mushila and guards Terrion Murdix, Trevian Tennyson and Jackson — A&M-Corpus Christi backed up last year’s strong finish with a 23-win season, and counting

In the SLC race, the Islanders went 14-4 to finish first in the conference, earning a double-bye though the tournament. In the tournament, at Katy, they defeated McNeese and Northwestern State to claim back-to-back bids to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

Their only previous NCAA appearance came in 2007 when they swept to a postseason SLC crown and lost to Wisconsin, 76-63, in the round of 64.

This year, the Islanders hope to win their first NCAA game against a Southeast Missouri State program that finished the regular season with a 15-16 record, before reeling off four victories in four days for the Ohio Valley Conference postseason crown. The winner between SEMO and A&M-Corpus Christi will advance to play Alabama, the top seed in the NCAA South region and the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, on Thursday night in Birmingham, Ala.

Lutz paid his dues in the profession to snag his first head coaching job in NCAA Division I. He worked as an assistant coach at UIW, Garden City Community College (Kan.), Stephen F. Austin, SMU, Creighton and Purdue.

At Creighton of the Big East, he worked on Greg McDermott’s staff and helped lead the BlueJays to four NCAA appearances.

At Purdue of the Big Ten, under Matt Painter, he coached in three more NCAAs including one run to the Elite Eight in 2019.

Jackson was a four-year starter at Wagner and, under coach Rodney Clark, the two helped propel the Thunderbirds to the 2019 Class 5A state championship game. In a heartbreaker, Wagner lost the state title match, 77-64, to Mansfield Timberview at the Alamodome.

Transitioning to college basketball, Jackson started his career at North Texas. He spent two years in the program and was part of the 2021 squad that won the Conference USA postseason title. The No. 13 seed Mean Green upset the fourth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers in the first round.

For the 2021-22 season, Lutz took the job at A&M-Corpus Christi and Jackson joined him. In their time together, the Islanders have posted a 46-22 record, with two NCAA berths. Now they have a chance to make a little more history Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio.

San Antonio-area players

In the NCAA men’s basketball tournament

Zach Clemence, Kansas, a 6-10 sophomore forward from Antonian HS, Findlay Prep (Nev.) and Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) Upcoming: Top-seeded Kansas plays Howard Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. Clemence played as a freshman at Antonian in the 2017-18 season before going to prep school. In two years with the Jayhawks, he has played 42 games, including 18 this season. This year, he averaged 1.4 points in 5.9 minutes.

Vincent Iwuchukwu, Southern Cal, a 7-foot-1 freshman center, formerly of Cole HS, La Lumiere, Ind., Montverde Academy, Fla., Southern California Academy. Upcoming: Tenth-seeded Southern Cal will play No. 7 Michigan State Friday in Columbus, Ohio. After suffering a medical scare last summer, Iwuchukwu returned in January to play 14 games for the Trojans, averaging 5.4 points. He hasn’t played in a few weeks because of a reported back injury.

Jalen Jackson, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a 5-11 senior guard from Wagner HS, transfer from North Texas. Upcoming: A&M-Corpus plays Southeast Missouri State in a battle of 16 seeds on Tuesday in Dayton. The winner advances to play top-seeded Alabama on Thursday in a round-of-64 game at Birmingham, Ala. Jackson started at point guard and averaged 7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Langston Love, Baylor, a 6-5 redshirt freshman guard, formerly of Steele HS, Montverde Academy, Fla. Upcoming: Third-seeded Baylor plays UC Santa Barbara on Friday in Denver in an NCAA South region game. Utilized primarily off the bench, Love averaged 6 points and 2.2 rebounds in his first season after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. He hasn’t played since Feb. 27 with an eye injury.

Kevin McCullar, Jr., Kansas, a 6-6 senior guard, formerly of Wagner High School, a transfer from Texas Tech. Upcoming: Top-seeded Jayhawks plays the Howard University Bison Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, in the NCAA West region. In his first year on the team, McCullar has been one of the key players on the Jayhawks, averaging 10.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals. He sat out the Big 12 tournament final with back soreness.

Austin Nunez, Arizona State, a 6-2 freshman guard from Wagner HS. Upcoming: Arizona State will play as an 11-seed against Nevada in the First Four in Dayton on Wednesday. The winner advances to face six-seed TCU in Denver on Friday in the round of 64. Nunez played in 28 games for the Bobby Hurley-coached Sun Devils in his first year out of high school. He averaged 4.5 points in 16.3 minutes. Nunez has not played since Feb. 18 at home against Utah and has been out the last six games, including two in the Pac-12 tournament, with a concussion.

(Players with San Antonio roots who attended high school out of the area)

Micah Peavy, TCU, a 6-7 junior forward from Duncanville, transfer from Texas Tech). Upcoming: Six seed TCU will meet either Arizona State or Nevada on Friday in Denver in the round of 64. Peavy is the son of Duncanville coach David Peavy, an Alamo Heights HS grad who attended UTSA and graduated from Incarnate Word. Micah Peavy led Duncanville to a 6A state title in 2019 and in 2020 was the state’s player of the year. Now in his second year at TCU under Jamie Dixon, he’s averaging 7.3 points and 3.1 rebounds for the Horned Frogs.

Other SA-area players

On NCAA Division I rosters

Marco Anthony, Utah, a 6-6 senior guard from Holmes, formerly of Virginia and Utah State

Adam Benhayoune, LSU, a 6-5 sophomore guard from O’Connor HS

Trey Blackmore, Cal State-Fullerton, a 6-2 freshman guard from Cole HS

Marques Gates, Houston Christian, a 6-0 redshirt freshman guard from Clemens HS

Ja’Sean Jackson, Abilene Christian, a 6-0 sophomore guard from Wagner HS

Ellis Jefferson, Lamar, a 6-0 senior guard from Brandeis HS

Gerald Liddell, Detroit Mercy, a 6-8 senior forward from Steele HS; transfer from Texas, Alabama State

Carlton Linguard Jr., UTSA, a 7-foot junior center from Stevens HS, transfer from Temple JC and Kansas State

Silas Livingston, University of the Incarnate Word, a 5-9 freshman guard from Cole

Jayden Martinez, North Texas, a 6-7 senior forward from Steele; transfer from New Hampshire

Jordan Mason, Texas State, a 6-2 freshman guard from Clark

Ze’Rik Onyema, UTEP, a 6-8 sophomore forward from Jay HS

Dre Ray, Incarnate Word, a 5-9 freshman guard from Cole HS

Brendan Wenzel, Wyoming, a 6-7 guard from O’Connor HS; a transfer from Utah

Dalen Whitlock, Texas State, a 6-4 sophomore guard from Clark HS

Florida Atlantic men, Middle Tennessee State women win in C-USA tournaments

Top-seeded teams in both Conference USA basketball tournaments emerged Saturday as postseason champions, with both the Florida Atlantic University men and the Middle Tennessee State women claiming automatic bids into their respective NCAA tournaments. The C-USA’s tournaments were held at The Star in Frisco.

All UTSA sports teams will transition from the C-USA into the American Athletic Conference next season.

Men’s title game

The FAU Owls bolted to a 19-point halftime lead and cruised to the C-USA postseason title on Saturday night. Alijah Martin led the Owls with 30 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. UTSA entered the tournament as the No. 11 seed and lost in the first round last Wednesday against No. 6 Rice, 72-71. A potential game-winning shot by Japhet Medor was initially counted and then waved off because it was released after the buzzer.

Women’s title game

Top-ranked Middle Tennessee State defeated No. 2 Western Kentucky, 82-70, on Saturday for the C-USA postseason championship. Jalynn Gregory made 5 of 5 3-pointers and scored 24 points for the Lady Raiders. Sixth-seeded UTSA went 2-1 in the tournament. Karen Aston’s Roadrunners beat No. 11 Florida Atlantic 69-68 in the first round and No. 3 Rice 62-54 in the quarterfinals before bowing out of the semifinals Friday night, falling 70-55 to the Lady Toppers.

WKU eliminates UTSA from the C-USA women’s tournament

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The Western Kentucky Lady Toppers hit four three-point shots in a dominant third quarter Friday night, blowing open a close game and then rolling to a 70-55 victory to eliminate the UTSA Roadrunners in the semifinals of the Conference USA women’s basketball tournament.

A key sequence came when WKU’s Teresa Faustino hit one from long distance, followed moments later by two in a row from Karris Allen. After Allen’s long ball swished through the nets, the Lady Toppers had a 48-34 lead with 4:26 left in the period.

WKU widened the lead to as many as 21 points early in the fourth, and UTSA never recovered. As a result, the Lady Tops will move on to play for the title Saturday against the Middle Tennessee State Lady Raiders.

UTSA will return home, its season ended on an off night when its star player couldn’t avoid foul trouble. Jordyn Jenkins, the C-USA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, played only 19 minutes before fouling out in the fourth quarter with seven points and seven rebounds.

After the game, played at The Star in Frisco, second-year Roadrunners coach Karen Aston expressed some bittersweet feelings. She felt bad for her players, who were playing mostly on heart in their third game in three days.

But in another sense, she expressed pride that her team reached the semifinals of a postseason tournament, a level that the UTSA program hadn’t attained since the 2009 Southland Conference championship season.

“We ran into a better team today, for sure,” Aston said, in an interview with JJ Perez of InsideRunnerSports.com. “They probably had fresher legs, and we just ran into a buzz saw, to be honest with you.”

For the game, the Lady Tops hit 11 three-point shots as they raced to their fifth win in a row and their second in two days in Frisco.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm, when you run into a team like that, and you don’t have probably all the gas in your tank that you need,” Aston said. “I think this is also a learning experience for us, how to handle being in the third round. How to handle your emotions as you get through the tournament.

“This team hasn’t been here before (so) this is a tremendous amount of progress for this program. I hope we’ve gained some respect from some people, including you guys (in the media), and I hope that people will continue to follow our team.”

Entering the C-USA semifinal on a six-game winning streak, including two in the last two days at the tournament, the Roadrunners never got their game untracked. They shot 38 percent from the field and hit only one of 14 three-point attempts.

Moreover, they couldn’t sustain possessions, turning the ball over 20 times to offset their 47-27 rebounding advantage. Sidney Love was the only UTSA player in double figures with 13 points. Freshman forward Maya Linton finished with nine points and six boards.

Elyssa Coleman, in foul trouble in the first half, pulled down 10 rebounds for the game but scored only five points. Kyra White, a junior guard who transferred with Jenkins from Southern Cal to UTSA in the offseason, played 37 minutes and finished with two points and five rebounds.

Forward Jaylin Foster led the Lady Tops with 13 points, while guards Acacia Hayes and Hope Sivori scored 10 apiece.

In the first half, Jenkins was whistled for two offensive fouls in the first three and a half minutes of the game and went to the bench. In the second quarter, both Jenkins and Coleman were on the bench with two apiece as WKU maintained the lead in a close game.

Late in the third quarter, as WKU was surging, Jenkins was whistled for her third and fourth fouls only 47 seconds apart, forcing Roadrunners coach Karen Aston to take her out again.

Jenkins scored five points in the fourth period before getting called for her fifth, fouling out with 25 seconds remaining.

It was a tough way for the season to end for the 6-foot transfer from Southern Cal, who set the school’s single-season scoring record and led the C-USA with an average of 21 points per game.


WKU 19-12
UTSA 13-19

C-USA women’s tournament
At The Star, in Frisco

Saturday’s game

No. 1 Middle Tennessee State (27-4) vs. No. 2 WKU (19-12), 4:30 p.m.

Campos says Henson will return next season to coach the UTSA men’s basketball team

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

Steve Henson will return to coach the UTSA Roadrunners men’s basketball program next season, said Lisa Campos, the university’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Campos released a statement to the media in the wake of back-to-back 10-22 seasons under Henson.

“After careful evaluation of our men’s basketball program, including candid and open discussions with Coach Henson on the team’s performance and his leadership, he will remain as head coach for the 2023-24 season,” Campos said in a statement.

“Coach recognizes that we have high expectations at UTSA for all of our athletic teams and that this year’s men’s basketball season did not meet those expectations,” Campos added. “He is committed to substantive improvement, has already begun a complete evaluation of the program and will make the changes necessary to enable success next season.”

After being hired in the spring of 2016, Henson, a former assistant coach at Oklahoma, has served as head coach of the Roadrunners for seven seasons.

In 2018, UTSA extended his original contract by three seasons through 2023-24, raising his base salary from $280,000 to $325,000 per year.

UTSA men’s basketball, in its 42-year history, has never enjoyed sustained success. The program has qualified for the NCAA tournament only four times. The Roadrunners haven’t been to the NCAA since 2011.

Prior to Henson’s arrival, the program had suffered four straight losing seasons. The Roadrunners were 10-22, 8-22, 14-16 and 5-27 through 2015-16, the last of Brooks Thompson’s 10 years as the school.

Henson’s chief accomplishment to this point has been his recruitment and development of guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.

Both joined the team in 2017 and, by the time they departed in 2021, both had became the top two scorers in school history. UTSA had winning seasons overall and in conference play in three of their four seasons.

The Roadrunners have struggled the past two seasons without the two high-scoring guards. Especially in conference play. This year, they finished in last place in Conference USA at 4-16. UTSA will move into the American Athletic Conference next season.

Steve Henson’s record

2016-17 — 14-19 and 8-10 in Conference USA
2017-18 — 20-15 and 11-7 C-USA
2018-19 — 17-15 and 11-7 C-USA
2019-20 — 13-19 and 7-11 C-USA
2020-21 — 15-11 and 9-7 C-USA
2021-22 — 10-22 and 3-15 C-USA
2022-23 — 10-22 and 4-16 C-USA
Overall: 99-123
x-UTSA played in the CIT postseason tournament in 2018

UTSA women have excelled lately even when Jenkins struggles

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA women’s basketball team is built around junior forward Jordyn Jenkins, the Conference USA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA women's basketball beat No. 21 Middle Tennessee 58-53 on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

C-USA Player of the Year Jordyn Jenkins played through foul trouble and scored 22 points in 25 minutes Thursday against Rice in the conference tournament quarterfinals. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Ask anyone why UTSA has been able to forge a 9-3 record over the past six weeks, after starting the season with 15 losses in 19 games, and you will hear all about Jenkins, the best player in the program since Monica Gibbs led the 2008 and 2009 teams to a pair of conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances.

Just this week, however, fans have started to realize that UTSA is not a one-woman show.

The Roadrunners have started to blossom into a team that can play championship-caliber basketball even when Jenkins isn’t on her game or is saddled with foul trouble. Just yesterday, Coach Karen Aston’s ball club pulled itself out of a 15-point deficit to win its second game in two days at the C-USA tournament, rallying to beat the Rice Owls, 62-54.

In victories over Florida Atlantic and Rice in the past two days, Jenkins has played only 21 and 25 minutes, respectively. When she was not on the floor, the team did not cave in as sometimes happened back in November and December. The team keeps playing. Thus, UTSA will play tonight in Frisco against the WKU Lady Toppers in the C-USA semifinals.

Here is a look at a few players not named Jordyn Jenkins who have elevated the team into one of the four still alive and vying for the C-USA title:

Freshman point guard Sidney Love

Sidney Love. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sidney Love keeps the defense honest with her ability to drive to the bucket. She’s also cut down on turnovers drastically over the last four games. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Love is playing with confidence and doing what she does best, which is scoring. Utilizing her quickness and ability to dribble drive either to the right or left, the freshman from Steele High School hit eight of 16 shots from the field against Florida Atlantic and five of eight against Rice. She’s scored 33 points in the tournament, none more important than the 11 in the fourth-quarter comeback yesterday against Rice.

Junior guard Kyra White

Ms. Versatility is also one of the most competitive kids I’ve ever seen. White handles the ball, distributes, plays defense, rebounds. Everything. Even with a shaky first-half performance against Rice, she pulled herself together and continued to play hard in the third and fourth quarters. She even got a few shots to go down. Looked to me like she just willed it to happen, and it did.

Kyra White. UTSA women's basketball beat No. 21 Middle Tennessee 58-53 on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Kyra White produced nine points, eight rebounds and five steals against the Rice Owls. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore center Elyssa Coleman

The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Atascocita has 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots in two games at Frisco. Going back to the start of UTSA’s 9-3 push toward respectability, she’s been a defensive force. Not quite as fast as Jenkins, she can run the floor well and always causes problems for opponents driving the ball. Coleman isn’t always highly involved in the offense, but when she is, she seems to deliver. She was four of eight from the field against Florida Atlantic and four of 11 against Rice.

Guard Hailey Atwood

Hailey Atwood has emerged as Coach Karen Aston’s go-to defender against the opponent’s best perimeter threat. Atwood also brings a tremendous amount of energy. She started off slowly this year as she worked her way back in injury rehabilitation, but she is now entrenched as a valued starter. Other players in the rotation during the tournament have included Deb Nwakamma, Siena Guttadauro, Maya Linton, Queen Ulabo and a cameo yesterday by Madison Cockrell. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyleigh McGuire or Alexis Parker tonight against WKU, either.

Elyssa Coleman. UTSA beat Rice 66-53 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA sophomore Elyssa Coleman is a post player who made the C-USA’s all defensive team. — File photo by Joe Alexander


Looks to me like center Nissa Sam-Grant will be a solid contributor next year. She is 6-4 and can run pretty well. She’s a transfer who sat out all this season.

C-USA women’s tournament

Friday’s semifinals

No. 1 Middle Tennessee (26-4) vs. No. 4 UTEP (20-10), 4:30 p.m.
No. 2 WKU (18-12) vs. No. 6 UTSA (13-18), 7 p.m.

Saturday’s championship game

Friday’s winners, 4:30 p.m.

UTSA women engineer a monster comeback to win again in Frisco

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Basketball is their game, and they all play on the same team, but it has become clear in the last month or so that the UTSA Roadrunners are more than that. Way more. They’re a group of women who keep getting more remarkable by the day.

Karen Aston. UTSA beat Rice 66-53 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Karen Aston’s UTSA Roadrunners have rebounded from a 4-15 record to win nine of their last 12 games, including six in a row. – File photo by Joe Alexander

They started the season with a string of frustrating losses, and now here they are, one win away from playing for the Conference USA postseason title.

“Gosh, it’s hard to put into words how proud I am of this group,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said Thursday, after her sixth-seeded Roadrunners rallied from a 15-point, first-half deficit to stun the three-seed Rice Owls, 62-54, in the C-USA tournament quarterfinals.

With the victory, UTSA claimed its sixth win in a row and made a little bit of school history by winning for the second time in two days in the tournament being contested at The Star in Frisco.

Not only did the Roadrunners earn a spot in Friday night’s semifinals against the two-seed WKU Lady Toppers, but they also became the first UTSA women’s basketball team to win multiple games at a conference postseason tournament in 14 years.

The last one to do it? The Monica Gibbs-led 2009 Roadrunners, who swept three games in Katy to claim the Southland Conference postseason title and a No 15 seed in the NCAA tournament.

This time, it was Sidney Love, Kyra White, Jordyn Jenkins and others who created the magic. They stayed focused against the Owls even when it appeared as if they were more likely to be on the bus ride home to San Antonio later in the evening, rather than having dinner together and preparing a game-plan for the semifinals.

“The coaches said it in the locker room later,” Aston said. “The players kind of checked themselves at halftime. We didn’t play very well in the first half. We played … sort of how we played early in the year, and somewhere in the second half they sort of found themselves again. And remembered who they really are.

“I just thought we dug really deep,” the coach added. “Started to get stops. Obviously, got more aggressive. I thought Kyra and Sidney’s aggression in the second half was really the difference in the game. It opened up some stuff for the other players. So, really it was just a mindset. We changed our mindset in the second half.”

White, a junior guard from Judson, sat next to her coach in the postgame interviews and put her own spin on what she thought it was that changed for her teammates.

“The want to not go home,” she replied. “We just all wanted to be as connected as we could in the last 20 minutes and fight for one another. It’s too early to go home for us. So we just kept that in mind and kept (focusing) on the bigger picture.”

White’s inference might make some in the C-USA administration a bit nervous.

Could a team with a 13-18 record win two more games in Frisco and claim the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAAs? Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing, considering the talents of Jenkins, Love, White and others.

Jenkins, a 6-foot junior transfer from Southern Cal, brushed off foul trouble to finish with 22 points and seven rebounds. In the fourth quarter, the C-USA Player of the Year took over with 12 points, including nine in the last two minutes.

Backcourt mates Love and White also were very good when it mattered. Love had 11 of her 13 points in the fourth, including one stretch when she scored eight in a row. White finished her day with nine points, eight rebounds and five steals.

The 22-win Owls played well early, running off to a 29-14 lead with 3:56 left in the half. They also led 31-19 at intermission and 42-34 at the end of three quarters. But as it turned out, their tournament came to a close, as did their five-game winning streak.

India Bellamy and Ashlee Austin led Rice with 14 and 10 points, respectively.


Rice 22-8
UTSA 13-18

C-USA women’s tournament
At The Star, in Frisco

Thursday’s quarterfinals

Middle Tennessee State 84, Charlotte 53
UTEP 64, Louisiana Tech 54
WKU 71, UAB 67
UTSA 62, Rice 54

Friday’s semifinals

No. 1 Middle Tennessee (26-4) vs. No. 4 UTEP (20-10), 4:30 p.m.
No. 2 WKU (18-12) vs. No. 6 UTSA (13-18), 7 p.m.

Saturday’s championship game

Friday’s winners, 4:30 p.m.


The Roadrunners have had their struggles this season, starting out 2-7 in the nonconference phase of the schedule. Entering C-USA play, things didn’t get much better. They played the first half of a 20-game conference slate and put down a 2-8 record. In the second half, the Roadrunners started to click, winning seven of their last 10. Now that they’ve beaten Florida Atlantic and Rice on back-to-back days at the tournament, it means that since the last weekend of January, they are 9-3.