Chalk this one up as a missed opportunity.
Jhivvan Jackson was on fire. The UTSA Roadrunners were up by six with just under 10 minutes left. And the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were without injured leading scorer Kalob Ledoux.
It didn’t matter. The Bulldogs shut down the Roadrunners’ offense down the stretch and cruised to a 77-66 Conference USA victory at the Thomas Assembly Center, in Ruston, La.
Louisiana Tech closed on a 21-4 run in the final 9:18, improving to 10-4 on the season and to 3-2 in the C-USA. On the cusp of what might have been its first road win of the year, UTSA nevertheless fell to 5-7 and 1-4.
Amorie Archibald led the Bulldogs with 19 points, followed by Jacolby Pemberton with 18. Boosting the play of the two guards, 6-foot-10, 260-pound center Andrew Gordon scored 14 off the bench, including 10 in the last five minutes of the game.
Jackson, NCAA Division I’s leader in career scoring among active players, finished with 25 points to lead the Roadrunners. Keaton Wallace had 18. Jacob Germany, UTSA’s third leading scorer behind Jackson and Wallace, was held to two points.
UTSA’s offense was humming, having hit six shots in a row, when a drought cost the team the game. The Roadrunners connected on only 2 of 13 in the final 9:21. UTSA didn’t enjoy the best of fortune during the fateful stretch as Jackson hoisted three or four that looked like they were going in, only to dance around on the rim and then lip out.
UTSA coach Steve Henson said it was a “difficult stretch” during which he thinks the Roadrunners lost some of their composure. “Just didn’t get good shots,” he told the team’s radio broadcast. “I mean, Jhivvan had the hot hand. Obviously, we tried to keep riding that when we could. Sometimes when a guy takes over like that, then everybody gets caught watching. We needed him to keep going. But we needed someone else to step up there. We couldn’t get that done.
“We talk about our concerns defensively. We got to be a better defensive team. I get frustrated with our offense. We’re in a position to win a game on the road against a great team. We come down there and don’t compete, don’t execute for a good shots. Again, Keaton and Jhivvan can hit shots that look hard. But we still got to get the ball moving and take the right types of shots in those situations.”
By the numbers
Among the UTSA starters, Jackson and Wallace combined for 43 points. But the three others — Jacob Germany, Eric Parrish and Erik Czumbel — scored only four between them. Cedrick Alley Jr., who has missed time lately with a groin injury, returned to play 17 minutes. He scored eight points on 3 of 5 shooting. Freshman guard Jordan Ivy-Curry finished with nine points on 4 of 7 shooting. He also had three rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes. With the loss, UTSA fell to 0-6 on the road. In conference play, UTSA has two road losses at Rice, a split at home against North Texas and now another road loss at Louisiana Tech.
UTSA 5-7, 1-4
Louisiana Tech 10-4, 3-2
UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Saturday, 6 p.m.