Ivy-Curry sinks game-winning shot as UTSA edges Tulane, 89-88


UTSA’s Jordan Ivy-Curry inbounds to Christian Tucker, who brings it up court. After a handoff, Ivy-Curry launches the game-winning, three-pointer with two seconds remaining. – Video by Joe Alexander.

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Three days after scoring 38 points on the 23rd-ranked team in the nation, UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry struggled to get anything going Wednesday night against the Tulane Green Wave. “Throughout the whole game, I couldn’t hit a shot,” Ivy-Curry said. “I just had to stay confident.”

In the game’s final, frantic moments, Ivy-Curry’s calm demeanor paid off. He took a hand off from Christian Tucker and sank a three-pointer from the right wing of the arc with two seconds left, lifting the Roadrunners to a pulsating 89-88 victory over the Green Wave.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Carlton Linguard Jr. (No. 2) scored a career-high 31 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field and six of 10 from three-point range. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I just knew it was going in when I shot it,” Ivy-Curry said. “I had put a lot of work in, (so) I knew the game was going to come back to me.”

After Ivy-Curry hit the mark on his shot, Tulane had one last chance with 2.3 seconds left. An announced crowd of 1,281 at the Convocation Center erupted in cheers as UTSA intercepted a three quarters, length-of-the-court pass.

It was over. The Roadrunners (8-12, 2-5) had snapped a troublesome four-game losing streak with their most prominent victory of the year, thanks in large part to the play of center Carlton Linguard Jr., who carried his team offensively and defensively for most of the night.

The 7-foot-1 center from Stevens High School notched a double double with a career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three blocks. The Green Wave (12-7, 3-4) had no answer for Linguard, who scored 20 in the second half.

Linguard hit 10 of 16 shots from the field and six of 10 from three.

“Carl showed up big-time for us,” Ivy-Curry said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have won. He kept us in the game. He hit some tough shots. He rebounded for us. He blocked a lot of shots for us today. I appreciate Carl.”

Tulane carried swagger into the game. Last year, the Green Wave broke through with a 20-11 season and a 12-6 record in the American Athletic Conference. It was the second straight winning record in conference for the Wave under coach Ron Hunter. The Wave also brought some momentum in, having knocked off 10th-ranked Memphis, 81-79, on Sunday in New Orleans.

As the game got underway, some of that good energy carried over as the Wave’s matchup zone defense created problems. It held UTSA to 1 for 17 shooting from the 3-point line in the first half. At one juncture, the visitors led by nine with six minutes left.

In the end, it wasn’t quite enough to beat UTSA, though guard Jaylen Forbes and forward Kevin Cross were a problem all night. Forbes sank five triples, while Cross was a constant nuisance, hitting eight of 15 from the field. Both scored a team-high 23 points.

Chandler Cuthrell. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Forward Chandler Cuthrell pulled down a team-leading 11 rebounds as UTSA beat Tulane on the boards, 48-33. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Roadrunners arrived at the arena with a businesslike attitude, intent on making amends for a 2-8 stretch in which they lost four close games to quality opponents, including overtime losses to Top 25 teams Memphis (107-101) and Florida Atlantic (112-103).

“We needed this one bad,” Linguard said. “We’ve had a lot of close games. We just had to figure out a way to win. We came together today and fought to get the (victory) … Coach kept talking about it. He’s telling us, ‘It’s going to happen. Just believe. Just keep coming to practice. Just keep fighting’ and come with the right mindset.”

UTSA coach Steve Henson was beaming in his postgame news conference, talking about how he enjoyed the night for his players, who have been through some tough times already this season.

“Really happy for our guys,” Henson said. “They’ve been fighting, hanging in there. Attitudes have been terrific. Kept their confidence as a group. We’ve been in several close games. Close games against good teams.

“I mean, Tulane’s a very good team … I think their conference record is a little bit deceiving. They’re a terrific offensive team, (and) what they do on the defensive end creates a lot of stress.”

For the Roadrunners, forward Trey Edmonds finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Forward Chandler Cuthrell came off the bench for 11 rebounds and nine points in a little more than 13 minutes. Not to be outdone, Ivy-Curry, totaled nine points, five assists and five rebounds. He finished 3 for 13 from the field and 1 for 7 from three.

Good thing for UTSA his only three-point make was the last one of the night.

First half

Following an officials review after the teams left the floor for halftime, the Roadrunners were awarded two additional points.

Tulane coach Ron Hunter. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Tulane coach Ron Hunter enjoyed a 20-11 season with a 12-6 record in the American Athletic Conference last year. His team was picked third earlier this fall in the 2023-24 preseason poll, and it had just defeated 10th-ranked Memphis on Sunday. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Initially, officials decided that a tip-in by Linguard in the last minute was interference inside the cylinder. After the review, Linguard was awarded the basket and the two points.

As a result, the Tulane Green Wave had a 41-40 lead on the Roadrunners at the break.

Flummoxed from the beginning by Tulane’s matchup zone, UTSA couldn’t get anything going from the 3-point arc. The amoeba-like defense covered up all the primary shooting areas behind the arc, leaving UTSA to shoot only 1 for 17 from distance.

At the same time, the Roadrunners did some things well, such as get themselves to the free-throw line. From there, they knocked down 11 of 13 and used their accuracy to stay within striking distance throughout the half.

Tulane had a 38-29 lead with 3:30 remaining when Kevin Cross knocked down a jumper from the side. Cross turned to face the UTSA players on the bench and ran downcourt. If he said something to the Roadrunners, it may have lit a fire.

UTSA promptly went on an 11-3 run to the intermission buzzer.

Records

Tulane 12-7, 3-4
UTSA 8-12, 2-5

Coming up

UTSA at South Florida, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Trey Edmonds. UTSA beat Tulane 89-88 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Trey Edmonds dunks two-handed and takes a blow from an opponent. from behind. No foul was called. Edmonds finished with 11 points and eight rebounds as the Roadrunners beat the Tulane Green Wave by one. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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