By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay
Coming off a dramatic, one-point victory at home, the UTSA Roadrunners couldn’t conjure up the necessary magic to win on the road Saturday afternoon.
The South Florida Bulls romped to a 14-point halftime lead and then followed through with a convincing 89-72 victory at Tampa, Fla.
South Florida beat UTSA at its own game, using the 3-point shot to win going away. The Bulls hit 18 from long distance. Averaging 10 made triples per game for the season, UTSA was limited to 10 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Even then, the total was misleading because Roadrunners made three of them in the last four minutes when the game was already out of reach.
Kobe Knox, Chris Youngblood and Jose Placer did most of the damage for the Bulls, hitting four threes apiece. As a result, South Florida won its fifth straight game and improved its record to 11-1 overall since Dec. 9.
On the scoring chart, Knox had 18 points and Placer had 16. Youngblood and Selton Miguel had 15 apiece. For the game, the Bulls hit 32 of 60 from the field and 18 of 33 from 3-point territory.
The Bulls entered the game as one of only four teams with one loss in the American Athletic Conference, so they will keep pace with the leaders. The Roadrunners, meanwhile, continued their struggle to find consistency, falling to 3-9 in their last 12 games.
UTSA had lost some close ones during the skid, including a couple of them in overtime against nationally-ranked teams, one on the road at Memphis and another at home against Florida Atlantic. On the other hand, the Roadrunners also have lost twice by lopsided margins on the road.
They fell by 29 at Tulsa and now by 17 at South Florida.
“This game and the Tulsa game are going to be the ones that are really going to stick with us for awhile,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast on KTKR AM-760. “We just didn’t compete hard enough.
“February is a monthy where if we play well and stay together, stay healthy, get Adante’ (Holiman) back at some point, I still think we can make some noise in February.”
Holiman, a sophomore guard, has missed seven games in a row with an ankle sprain.
Against South Florida, guard Jordan Ivy-Curry finished with 23 points on 8 of 16 shooting. He made 5 of 9 from long distance.
In a three-game stretch this week, Ivy-Curry scored a career-high 38 in a 112-103 overtime loss to Florida Atlantic, hit the winning bucket with 2.3 seconds left in an 89-88 victory over Tulane and then kept UTSA in the game against a South Florida team playing like a contender.
Carlton Linguard Jr., who exploded for a career-high 31 against Tulane, couldn’t find the range against South Florida. He was limted to 2 of 7 from the field and 1 of 4 from three. PJ Carter scored nine points, and Christian Tucker and Massal Diouf had eight each.
Tucker, the assists leader in the American, had six against the Bulls.
“We’ve had several games where we just don’t do a good job defending the three,” Henson said. “A lot of these were results of drive and kick, whether off penetration or zoom action turning the corner … They were kicking it for pretty good looks.
“A couple of ’em early were by guys who don’t shoot ’em great. But, man, when they started going, they were all knocking ’em in. Just not enough resistance on the defensive end.”
UTSA 8-13, 2-6
South Florida 13-5, 6-1
Rice at UTSA, Saturday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m.