Guard Isaiah Joe hit six free throws in the final 29 seconds and scored a game-high 21 points Saturday night as Arkansas turned back an upset bid by the UTSA Roadrunners, 79-67.
The Roadrunners led the Razorbacks by four points with nine minutes remaining and trailed by two with 2:23 left on the clock, but couldn’t finish off what would have been the program’s biggest victory in years.
In a game played at North Little Rock, Arkansas, Jhivvan Jackson scored 20 and Keaton Wallace 18 for UTSA.
The Roadrunners return home to play on Monday night against the Bethany College Swedes.
“Really proud of our guys, the way we fought and the way we competed, the way we prepared all week,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “That was my message to ’em just now. If we had played our best game, we would have won.
“You know, if one of our key guys had gotten really, really hot — Jhivvan and Keaton made some plays — but they didn’t get hot like they can. If someone else had caught fire for a little stretch, we had a chance to win, because of the way we did everything else.”
With the victory, Arkansas extended UTSA’s nine-year streak of losses against power conference competition in men’s basketball.
The Roadrunners have lost 20 in a row since 2009 against teams from the major revenue-producing conferences.
UTSA’s last victory against a power program came in 2009, when the Roadrunners downed the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten, 62-50, in Iowa City.
Three UTSA starters fouled out. Nick Allen, Jackson and Giovanni De Nicolao all picked up their fifth fouls down the stretch. Allen was on the bench for much of the second half with four.
“It was a good team (we played) and we didn’t quite get done what we were trying to accomplish.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson
Turning the tide
Jackson hit a three-pointer with 2:23 remaining to pull UTSA with two of the Razorbacks, who promptly outscored the visitors 15-5 down the stretch to clinch the victory.
In it until the end
UTSA still had a chance in the final minute, with Wallace missing a couple of threes on one possession that would have cut the lead to two again. Arkansas expanded the lead when UTSA was forced to foul.