The UTSA Roadrunners will host the St. Mary’s University Rattlers tonight at the Convocation Center in the resumption of a series that once stood out as a highlight of the local college basketball schedule.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
UTSA senior guard Darius McNeill, who injured his foot in a game last week, isn’t on the floor as both teams are going through warm-ups.
The two schools started playing in the 1980s, downtown, at the old HemisFair Arena in a game billed as ‘The Mayor’s Challenge Cup.’ Early games in the series drew well, with one meeting attracting a crowd of better than 7,000.
UTSA and St. Mary’s haven’t played since 2002. The Roadrunners lead the series, 9-3.
Once a powerhouse in the NAIA and a 1989 national champion in that division, the Rattlers now compete in the Lone Star Conference in NCAA Division II.
Jim Zeleznak is in his 17th year as head coach. The associate head coach is Bubba Meyer, the son of Herman ‘Buddy’ Meyer, the coach who led the Rattlers to the ’89 national title. The elder Meyer is in the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
St. Mary’s 1-1
UTSA, an NCAA Division I program since its inception in 1981, will meet St. Mary’s to close out a six-game homestand. The Roadrunners are 3-2 so far.
For the season, UTSA is 4-2 at home overall and 0-1 on the road. The Roadrunners are 3-2 against Division I teams, 0-1 against Division II and 1-0 against Division III.
UTSA opened the stretch at home against another LSC team, the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions, who upset the Roadrunners 65-62 on a 3-point, buzzer beater.
The Roadrunners followed with a pair of victories, downing the Denver Pioneers, 78-64, and IUPUI Jaguars, 60-57, before falling 77-58 to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders. In the Roadrunners’ last game, they rebounded on Nov. 24 to defeat the Lamar Cardinals, 79-73.
UTSA is still looking to find a consistent offensive rhythm. The Roadrunners are shooting 38.3 percent from the field and 28.2 percent on 3-pointers.
Dhieu Deing and Jordan Ivy-Curry lead the team, averaging 16 points per game apiece, but both are shooting less than 40 percent.
Former Brandeis High School standout Kobe Magee is the Rattlers’ leading scorer, averaging 22 points. Magee is the only St. Mary’s player to have faced the Roadrunners, having played in five games against UTSA as a member of the UTEP Miners.