For every punch they took, the Oregon State Beavers countered with more sock than UTSA could handle, rumbling past the Roadrunners 88-78 in a non-conference NCAA basketball game at Houston.
In a contest played at the Toyota Center, UTSA fell behind by 16 twice early in the second half, only to rise up and pull within six twice down the stretch.
A couple of free throws by NCAA scoring leader Jhivvan Jackson pulled the Roadrunners to within 68-62 with 6:45 remaining.
Undaunted, Oregon State made a few plays, hit some free throws and didn’t allow the opposition to get any closer, leaving the Roadrunners shaking their heads at what they need to do to beat a power conference program.
UTSA was in position to win, and couldn’t finish off the rally.
“That’s the thing that’s a little disappointing,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said later. “You make 15 threes in the game, you (think) you’d have a chance to win …
“I’m proud of our guys for hanging in there and fighting back and making a game of it. We just dug a big hole (for ourselves) in both halves.”
The Roadrunners did some good things, hitting a season-high 15 threes, scoring 44 points in the second half and out-rebounding the Beavers 37-35.
But they allowed the Beavers to shoot 55.8 percent from the field and fell to 0-22 in games against power conference foes since 2009.
The streak includes 21 straight losses against teams from the football/basketball oriented power five of the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Pac-12, plus one loss to a Big East foe.
UTSA hasn’t defeated a team from the power elite since November of 2009 when it knocked off Iowa of the Big Ten, 62-50, in Iowa City.
The Roadrunners are 0-9 against power programs in a little more than three seasons under Steve Henson.
Oregon State 9-1
By the numbers
UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson led all scorers with 28 points, including 20 in the second half. He hit 7 of 8 from the field after intermission. Keaton Wallace scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half. The Roadrunners nailed 15 of 33 from three. In a positive sign, they’ve hit 29 from long distance in their last two games.
Oregon State — Seven-foot center Kylor Kelley had 23 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Ethan Thompson had 23 points, four assists and two steals. Beavers scoring leader Tres Tinkle, the preseason Pac-12 Player of the Year, was in foul trouble and was held to 11 points.
Oregon State seemed to live at the free-throw line, hitting 25 of 39 to UTSA’s 9 of 16. Three UTSA big men, including Adrian Rodriguez, Jacob Germany and Atem Bior, all fouled out.
UTSA and Oregon State met in the first game of a tripleheader at the Toyota Center, the home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. It was part of Battleground 2K19, featuring Baylor, South Florida, Utah State and UT Martin.
UTSA returns home to face Illinois State on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. The game will tip off at 3 p.m.