The UTSA Roadrunners were looking for a reason to celebrate after an erratic start to their 40th season of basketball.
They nearly pulled it off, but they couldn’t hold on at the end.
The Oregon State Beavers rallied late in the game behind guard Ethan Thompson for a 73-61 victory at Gill Coliseum.
In the contest played in Corvallis, Ore., the Roadrunners started fast with a 13-0 lead.
They led 34-30 at intermission and 51-46 with 7:22 remaining when Luka Barisic hit a three off the wing.
At that point, UTSA’s first victory over a power conference team in 11 years seemed well within reach.
But the home team didn’t want any part of that history, and Thompson scored five straight points to fuel a 12-1 run for the Beavers, who play in the Pac-12 Conference.
The 6-foot-5 guard finished with 22 points to lead all scorers.
Oregon State 3-3
UTSA remained winless on the season against NCAA Division I competition, falling to 0-3 with losses to UT Rio Grande Valley, Oklahoma and Oregon State.
In addition, UTSA dropped to 0-11 against teams from the five major, revenue-producing conferences in Coach Steve Henson’s tenure with the Roadrunners.
UTSA has now lost 23 in a row against teams from conferences that include the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pac-12, the ACC and the SEC. The Roadrunners’ last win against a power conference team came 11 years ago, in November of 2009, at Iowa.
The Roadrunners out-hustled the Beavers for most of the afternoon, but failed to get their offensive stars going. Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace combined for 4 of 29 shooting from the field.
“Well, it was maybe the most promising game we’ve had in terms of effort. I really liked the way our guys competed defensively. On the glass. Getting after loose balls. The effort, we were locked in. Was very, very pleased with that … We just never could get it going offensively.” — Steve Henson, on the team’s radio broadcast.
By the numbers
It was a tough day for Jackson and Wallace, two of the best scorers in UTSA history.
Jackson missed all 10 of his shot attempts in the first half and then misfired on his first three after intermission.
He finally hit for the first time with 14:45 left in the game on a 10-foot pull-up. Jackson, UTSA’s all-time leading scorer, finished 3 of 18 from the field for 10 points.
Wallace also started slowly, 1-6 in the first half. Saddled with foul trouble in the second half, he was 0-5 after intermission to finish 1 of 11.
He fouled out with 39 seconds left after producing five points, three rebounds and three assists.
The Roadrunners led in rebounding 27-16 at the half, including a 10-5 edge on the offensive end.
After intermission, the taller and bigger Beavers started playing harder and emerged with a 36-36 tie on the boards for the game.
Our Lady of the Lake University at UTSA, Sunday, 3 p.m.