The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders snapped a 13-game losing streak at the expense of the UTSA Roadrunners, scoring an 89-86 victory at home Thursday night in Conference USA.
The Roadrunners fell behind by as many as 21 points in the second half and closed with a furious rally to make it a two-possession game for much of the final minute.
But they couldn’t sustain the momentum, ending their winning streak at seven games.
Coming into the game, UTSA held the lead in the C-USA standings and had a streak that was tied for the sixth longest in the nation.
They also had two of the top scorers in the conference in Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.
As it turned out, the Blue Raiders didn’t let it bother them, limiting Jackson and Wallace to 19 of 49 shooting combined.
In addition, Middle Tennessee hit 27 of 55 from the field for 49.1 percent, the fourth-best shooting night of the season against the Roadrunners.
The UTSA defense hadn’t allowed a team to shoot better than 44 percent in 12 games, since South Dakota State hit 60 percent on Nov. 20 at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Florida.
Middle Tennessee 4-14, 1-4
UTSA 10-8, 4-1
Marshall won at home, downing Florida Atlantic, to move into first place in the conference standings at 4-0. UTSA and the North Texas Mean Green, who were idle, are tied for second place at 4-1.
“We were keyed in on a couple of their guys, and we did a decent job on them. A couple of guys that had not been making threes got real hot (and) that really had a big impact. They started feeling good, playing with confidence, and it snowballed on us.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.
Middle Tennessee — Sophomore guard Donovan Sims 24 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds. Sims hit 5 threes. Junior guard Antonio Green, the team’s leading scorer, 21 points, 6 rebounds. Senior forward James Hawthorne, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks. Hawthorne also had 5 threes. He had made only 5 of 19 on the season coming in.
UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 25 points on 10 of 28 shooting. Keaton Wallace, 24 points on 10 of 21. Wallace also had 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Byron Frohnen, 9 points, 8 rebounds. Nick Allen, 8 points on 2 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 3 from three.