UTSA men need to ‘keep building’ in a rematch with Lamar

PJ Carter. UTSA defeated Incarnate Word (UIW) 90-80 in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard PJ Carter came off the bench to average 13 points on 50 percent shooting in home games last week against Jacksonville State and Incarnate Word. He scored a season-high 17 against UIW last Saturday afternoon. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Last week, the hot-and-cold nature of UTSA Roadrunners men’s basketball was on full display. Two victories in a three-game stretch. A few minutes of cohesive play at one moment in time, followed by a stretch of mind-boggling inconsistency.

During a two-point victory at Houston Christian University, a head-scratching 15-point home loss to Jacksonville (Ala.) State and a bounce-back victory 24 hours later on the same floor against Incarnate Word, attention to detail on defense would come and go.

The UTSA offense would click nicely in one 10-minute stretch, and then it would suddenly short-circuit and stagnate.

“We’re still searching offensively,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said after knocking off Incarnate Word, 90-80, on Saturday afternoon. “We’ve got to identify … what can we expect every night. With Adante’ (Holiman) and Dre (Fuller), we need those guys to be playmakers, in addition to (being scorers). We need an occasional post up. We need a back door. Just keep building. As we learn more about our team, I hope our offense will get better.”

Coming off their first two-win week of the season, the Roadrunners will return to action tonight at the UTSA Convocation Center. First, Coach Karen Aston’s women’s team hosts the Texas State Bobcats at 5 p.m. Next up, Henson’s men’s team will take on the Lamar Cardinals at 8 p.m.

The men’s game will serve as an opportunity for UTSA (3-4) to take another crack at Lamar (4-3). It’s a chance for the Roadrunners to show some growth after allowing the Cardinals to clobber them on the boards and on the scoreboard on Nov. 14 in Beaumont.

In the earlier meeting, Lamar registered a 90-82 victory. In that game, a smaller and quicker team out-hustled UTSA in winning the rebounding battle, 57-45. On the offensive glass, the Cardinals claimed a shocking 25-12 advantage. Not even a 22-point explosion from UTSA guard Holiman could make up the difference.

Tonight in the rematch, the Roadrunners will need to contain the Cardinals duo of 6-foot-9 Adam Hamilton and 6-6 Terry Anderson, who combined for 13 offensive boards between them. The two also combined for 36 points. Meanwhile, UTSA will also need to keep an eye on guards B.B. Knight and Ja’Sean Jackson.

Jackson, from San Antonio’s Wagner High School, hurt UTSA at the end of both halves. In the first half, he made a 45-foot, three-pointer at the buzzer. In the last few minutes of the game, he created a layup by dishing for an assist and then knocked down four straight free throws to ice the victory.


Texas State at UTSA women, 5 p.m.
Lamar at UTSA men, 8 p.m.

Coming up

The UTSA women (4-2) are playing two games in four days. After tonight’s game against the Bobcats (3-2), they’ll host the UTEP Miners at noon on Sunday before they take a pause in the schedule. They won’t play again until they host the Houston Cougars on Dec. 14.

For the UTSA men, the Lamar game is the last one they’ll play until after the break. They’ll be back on the court for a Dec. 10 home game against Arkansas-Fort Smith.


Doing a couple of things more consistently, running consistent offense to get open looks on long-distance shots and generating easy baskets, might solve a lot of problems for the UTSA men. As it is, they’re shooting 40.8 percent from the field for the season. The percentage ranks 13th of 14 teams in the American Athletic Conference. The Roadrunners are hitting only 30.1 percent from three, which ranks 10th. UTSA has made only 52 threes in seven games, for an average of 7.43. They hit a season-high 10 against UIW.

UTSA’s Holiman: ‘We knew we had to bounce back. It was a bounce-back game for us.’

Adante' Holiman. UTSA defeated Incarnate Word (UIW) 90-80 in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Adante’ Holiman scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as the UTSA Roadrunners pulled away from the UIW Cardinals for a 90-80 victory. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners lost Friday afternoon at home by 15 points and felt horribly about it. But they weren’t about to allow a bad-hair experience against Jacksonville State (Ala.) turn into two homecourt losses in two days.

After trailing for most of the first half Saturday against the University of the Incarnate Word, they broke from a tie score and stormed to a 90-80 victory at the Convocation Center.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA defeated Incarnate Word (UIW) 90-80 in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Carlton Linguard Jr. came off the bench for 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA shot 54 percent from the field and hit eight three-point shots after intermission to secure the win.

Sophomore guard Adante’ Holiman, who hit five threes and scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, said players knew what had to be done from the moment they arrived at the Convo for the morning film session.

“We knew we had to bounce back,” he said. “It was a bounce-back game for us. Today was a day to prove ourselves. That was the mindset of the whole team.”

The two programs are the only ones in San Antonio playing in NCAA Division I. While UTSA is more established, having competed in D-I for more than 42 years, UIW is entering only its 11th season at the highest level.

Coming in riding a three-game winning streak, the Cardinals were clearly energized and intent on beating the Roadrunners for the first time in school history.

During warmups, they were chanting and clapping. When the game started, they started to defend and run and score, riding the inspired play of guard Sky Wicks to build as much as an eight-point lead at 19-11.

“I thought there’d be some pace to the game,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Thought we’d have some opportunities in transition, but we had to take care of the basketball. We turned it over nine times in the first half, and you saw what happened.”

What happened was, UIW kept blunting UTSA’s efforts to get the ball into the paint and ran off all the broken plays at a frenetic pace.

At the end of the first stanza, UTSA rallied to tie it, 43-43. Second half? It was a different story completely after intermission as the Roadrunners settled down and started to run better offense.

In general, the ball moved better, players seemed to relax and play with more fluidity, and the shots just started to fall. Particularly for Holiman, a 6-foot transfer from UT Rio Grande Valley.

Holiman, who was 0 for 3 from the three-point arc in the first half, responded in the final 20 minutes to knock down 5 of 9 from distance.

By the time it was over, five Roadrunners finished in double figures, including Holiman, PJ Carter (17), Carlton Linguard Jr. (16), Christian Tucker (11) and Isaiah Wyatt (10).

Coming off the bench, Linguard was a force defensively, blocking three shots. The 7-footer from Stevens High School in San Antonio also pulled down 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.

Wicks led UIW with 24 points on 10 of 26 shooting from the field. Josh Morgan scored 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Dylan Hayman added 13 and Elijah Davis 10.


UIW 3-3
UTSA 3-4

Coming up

UIW vs. Jacksonville State (Ala.), Sunday, 3 p.m., at UTSA
Lamar at UTSA, Thursday, 8 p.m.

Sky Wicks. UTSA defeated Incarnate Word (UIW) 90-80 in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Sky Wicks had 24 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the UIW Cardinals. Wicks also had four steals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA men turn their attention to an old rival — the Texas State Bobcats

Adante' Holiman. UTSA beat Western Illinois 78-68 in overtime in men's basketball on Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Adante’ Holiman leads the UTSA Roadrunners into San Marcos tonight against the Texas State Bobcats. Holiman is UTSA’s leading scorer at 14.7 points per game. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

For the UTSA Roadrunners, the challenges are clear — travel up the road to San Marcos and try to win on the home floor of a regional rival. It won’t be easy. A game against the Texas State Bobcats is always hotly-contested.

Oh, and, a couple of other things on UTSA’s to-do list come to mind — No. 1, try to box out and get some rebounds and, No. 2, don’t let a modest losing streak grow from two to three.

UTSA at Texas State

At a glance: The Roadrunners (1-2) and the Bobcats (1-2) will play Friday at 7:15 p.m. in San Marcos at Strahan Coliseum.

UTSA: After a season-opening, 78-68 overtime victory at home against Western Illinois, the Roadrunners have dropped the first two games of a four-game road trip. First, they were blown out 102-76 at Minnesota. In Beaumont earlier this week, they were beaten, 92-80, by the Lamar Cardinals. Though it’s early in the season, a few trends have developed. Obviously, points against UTSA on the road is a problem. But also, they have been out-rebounded in all three games and have been beaten on the offensive glass in two of the three, against both Western Illinois and Lamar. Employing hustle and quickness, Lamar turned 25 offensive rebounds into enough extra possessions to win. Another area of concern for UTSA is three-point shooting. The Roadrunners are allowing opponents to shoot 36 percent (31 for 86) from deep. On the other end, they’re hitting 30.7 percent (23 of 75) from distance. One historical note favorable to the Roadrunners? UTSA coach Steve Henson is 4-1 in his career against Texas State.

Trey Edmonds. UTSA men's basketball beat Trinity 100-70 in an exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Trey Edmonds is averaging 13 points and 7.3 rebounds. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Texas State: In their home opener, the Bobcats are looking to bounce back from a lopsided loss to Oklahoma and hang a loss on UTSA, its chief, non-conference regional rival. UTSA leads the series 37-25 and has won four of the last five. The last win for Texas State in the series was a 69-68 victory on Dec. 1, 2018 in San Antonio. When hosting the Roadrunners, the Bobcats are 12-17 in the series. Their last win at home against the Roadrunners was Dec. 2, 2015. In that contest, they romped, 76-53. This season, the Bobcats opened with a three-game road trip, losing by five at Little Rock, winning by 10 at Miami, Ohio, and then losing by 39 at Oklahoma on Tuesday night. Six-foot-five forward Tyrel Morgan (14.0, 8.0 rebounds) leads Texas State. Morgan did not play in the 93-54 loss at OU. Other threats include Brandon Love (10.7 points) and freshman guard Kaden Gumbs (10.0).

Historical note

UTSA has won two straight and four of five in the series against Texas State. During that stretch, in December of 2018, the Bobcats won a thriller at the UTSA Convocation Center. Roadrunners star Jhivvan Jackson scored 22 for the Roadrunners. But the Bobcats countered with guard Jaylen Shead, who had seven points, eight rebounds and eight assists and scored the winning point on a free throw with less than a second remaining.

Jhivvan Jackson. Texas State beat UTSA 69-68 on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Former UTSA star Jhivvan Jackson (left) fights for possession against Texas State’s Jaylen Shead (right) on Dec. 1, 2018 in San Antonio. The Bobcats won the game 69-68. It was the last win for Texas State against UTSA in the I-35 rivalry. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Show time: UTSA men host Western Illinois in season opener

Adante' Holiman. UTSA beat McMurry 125-84 in a men's basketball exhibition game on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore Adante’ Holiman is expected to start in the backcourt for the UTSA Roadrunners Monday night when they host the Western Illinois Leathernecks. The former prep star from McAlester, Okla., played a season at UT Rio Grande Valley last year and then elected to transfer. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners blew out a couple of non-scholarship opponents recently, scoring 225 points combined in two lopsided exhibition victories. Now the regular season looms. UTSA will kick off its 43rd campaign in NCAA Division I men’s basketball when it hosts the Western Illinois Leathernecks Monday night at the Convocation Center.

“We’re trying to get that first real one,” sophomore guard Adante’ Holiman said. “Trying to get that first real one out the way. Everybody’s excited to get that jersey on, like everybody else. You know, we’ve seen the same bodies (in practice) for a while. The exhibitions (against Trinity and McMurry) helped us out a little bit. But now, getting to see a different opponent, a Division I opponent, everyone’s excited to see that.”

Holiman said he wants the fans, particularly the students, to turn out in force so that they can make a push for a winning season.

“We’re trying to get that (fan support) going a little early,” Holiman said. “(We want to) get some dubs, get some people in here. Hey man, I can’t wait. Just the feeling of it, the adrenaline at game time obviously is going to be crazy. We’ve been waiting for this for a while. Some of us have been here since May, waiting for this day. It came quick.”

After a second straight season of 22 losses concluded last March, UTSA lit up the transfer portal with 10 players electing to leave in search of better opportunities. Roadrunners coaches responded with a massive effort to re-tool the roster, signing 10 newcomers.

Based on the early returns, UTSA fared well in the remake. Several first-year players in the program have raised eyebrows with their talents, including Holiman, Dre Fuller Jr., Chandler Cuthrell — all transfers — and freshman Nazar Mahmoud.

Against Trinity, one player who was in the program last season but did not play stepped up to show in the first exhibition that he wants to make an impact. Seven-foot Carlton Linguard Jr. led eight players in double figures with 20 points and nine rebounds against Trinity.

In addition, the Roadrunners took liberties driving into the paint and kicking out to the perimeter, where they made 15 three-point baskets.

McMurry, meanwhile, more or less stayed home to defend perimeter shooters, but UTSA’s offense adjusted by driving it inside for easy baskets at the rim and scoring in transition (with 29 fast-break points). As a result, the Roadrunners shot 65 percent from the field in the first half and 55 percent for the game.

“We like our versatility,” Henson said recently. “We’re an older group. We’re not alone in saying that, in this day and age. There’s a lot of older teams right now. But we think this group’s got a chance with our versatility and hunger and desire to do something special.”

Coming up

Monday — Western Illinois at UTSA, 7 p.m.
Friday — UTSA at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m.

UTSA players to watch

Carlton Linguard, Jr. — Seven-foot center from Stevens HS, a transfer from Kansas State, is set to play a regular-season game for the first time since the spring of 2022 after sitting out last season at UTSA. Linguard had 29 points and 21 rebounds in two exhibitions.

UTSA men's basketball player Carlton Linguard Jr. at the Convocation Center on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. - photo by Joe Alexander

Carlton Linguard Jr. played in high school in the local area at Stevens. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Trey Edmonds — Power forward with a 6-10, 255-pound frame played the last two seasons at Utah Tech. He’ll be asked to supply rebounding, defense and a physical presence.

Dre Fuller Jr. — A small forward at 6-6 and 220 pounds will play for the first time since 2022 when he attended Central Florida. Fuller is adept at driving into the paint and either finding shooters on the perimeter or finishing at the rim.

Christian Tucker — The 6-foot-3 guard, in his third season at UTSA, will take on his biggest role since he’s been a Roadrunner. He’ll be tasked with pushing the pace and finding gaps to drive it inside.

Adante’ Holiman — A UTSA newcomer, at 6 feet, has shown ability to hit shots from the perimeter and score at the rim. The sophomore from Oklahoma shot 43 percent from three, including 50 percent in conference play, last year at UT Rio Grande Valley.

Chandler Cuthrell — Another newcomer who is expected to play a major role this season. The 6-8 forward, from Baltimore via Odessa College, can spring off the floor for rebounds — he had five off the offensive glass in each of the team’s two exhibition games — and can ignite emotions with his dunking ability.

PJ Carter — A lithe, 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 16.3 ppg last year at Georgia Highlands. He hit four 3-point shots combined in two exhibitions.

Nazar Mahmoud — The freshman from Leander, who played in prep school last year in Plano, has come on strong in two exhibitions with 26 points combined in two games. Mahmoud looks extremely comfortable launching shots from the three-point line.

Isaiah Wyatt — Native Ohioan played last year at Division II Chadron State. A 6-4 guard, he played a little tight in the exhibition against Trinity but calmed down and enjoyed a solid outing against McMurry.

Massal Diouf — Returning starter from last year likely will be utilized off the bench. The 6-9, 240-pounder is rounding into form after battling through knee rehabilitation this summer. If he can play with aggression and not foul, he’ll see consistent playing time.

Eye on opening night

Western Illinois is coming off a 16-14 season, the program’s first winning record since 2012-13. Returning starters are Jesiah West and Quinlan Bennett. Sixth man KJ Lee and reserve JJ Kalakon also return. James Dent Jr., Drew Cisse, Joe Petrakis and Ryan Myers highlight the newcomers. WIU reloaded the roster with eight transfers. Chad Boudreau takes over as Leatherneck head coach, being promoted from associate head coach last spring. Boudreau was the lead WIU assistant the past three seasons.

Nazar Mahmoud. UTSA beat McMurry 125-84 in a men's basketball exhibition game on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Nazar Mahmoud had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists against McMurry last Monday night. – Photo by Joe Alexander

New-look UTSA hosts Trinity tonight in exhibition opener

Adante' Holiman. UTSA men's basketball practice on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore point guard Adante’ Holiman, a transfer from UT Rio Grande Valley, is expected to play a major role in the backcourt this season for the UTSA Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Hoping for a fast start with a new-look roster, the UTSA Roadrunners will host the non-scholarship Trinity University Tigers in an exhibition opener tonight at the Convocation Center.

“I just want to see what we can carry over (from practices),” eighth-year UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “They’ve worked hard. I like the pace that we’ve had. There are certain actions that we’re defending pretty well.

PJ Carter. UTSA men's basketball practice on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Junior college transfer PJ Carter is perhaps the most improved newcomer on the team after coming in from Georgia Highlands College. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“It doesn’t mean we’ll see that from Trinity tomorrow. Probably will be some surprises. Always just curious about what will transfer. We’ll play a bunch of guys and see what our conditioning looks like.

“Hoping to see a great defensive effort. A great rebounding effort. Hope we’ve got some pace. The offense will take care of itself if we’re locked in on the other end of the floor.”

After tonight, the Roadrunners will continue practicing before hosting McMurry University next Monday to wrap up the exhibition schedule. The regular season opener is Nov. 6 at home against Western Illinois.

For the fans, the exhibition against Trinity will serve as an opportunity to take their first look at the Roadrunners since the roster was almost totally revamped during the offseason.

First-year players in the program who are expected to see action tonight include the likes of Adante’ Holiman, Dre Fuller, Jr., Nazar Mahmoud, PJ Carter, Isaiah Wyatt, Chandler Cuthrell, Trey Edmonds and Josh Reid.

Another player making his UTSA debut will be seven-foot center Carlton Linguard Jr., who is eligible for the first time after rectifying academic issues following a transfer in the summer of 2022 from Kansas State University.

Returning players from last year’s squad include Christian Tucker and Massal Diouf.

Jordan Ivy-Curry, Justin Thomas and Juan Reyna, who are all scheduled to sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules, are not expected to play against Trinity. It’s possible that they could be cleared at some point, but it would require a waiver from the NCAA. So, those three, along with guard/forward Blessing Adesipe, who is rehabilitating an injury, won’t be on the floor against Trinity, the coach said.

Initially, UTSA fans might notice lineup combinations in the frontcourt that will have more heft, if not more height, than last year.

In the interior, Henson might play Linguard (7-foot, 225 pounds) in the post along with Diouf (6-9, 240) or Edmonds (6-10, 255). A more traditional set could feature any of the three big men, paired with Cuthrell (6-8, 220) at power forward.

In addition, the Roadrunners also could go smaller on the front line with the versatile Fuller (6-6, 220).

In the backcourt, the Roadrunners believe they have some speed with the likes of Holiman and Tucker, both of them point guards, along with a grouping of wing players who will be tasked with running the floor, shooting and defending.

That group would include Carter, Mahmoud, Wyatt and also Fuller, a former three-year veteran from the Central Florida Knights who sat out all of last year following the death of his mother.

Henson said it’s possible that he might play both Tucker and Holiman, possibly one of the most natural scorers on the team, together.

“They both earned the right to be out on the court, so we’ll play them together quite a bit, I would anticipate,” the coach said. “Christian’s done a really good job for us. He’s taken a good step (forward) for us on both ends of the floor. He’s the (player) most familiar with what we’re doing, the most experienced in our program. So, yeah, both of those guys will play a lot.”

Asked to identify the newcomer who has made the biggest jump from his time of arrival earlier this summer, Henson didn’t hesitate in saying that it has been Carter, a 6-foot-5 wing player from Atlanta, who averaged 16.3 points and shot 43 percent from three last year at Georgia Highlands College.

“He’s doing now what we saw on film, what we anticipated,” Henson said. “When he first got here, he wasn’t in very good condition. I don’t think he did a lot in the spring. He was finishing up his academics. I don’t think he was on the court a lot certainly with intense game action of any kind.

“His condition (in the summer) prevented him from playing the way we anticipated. We were concerned early on, but his condition just got better and better. He’s been a good, solid player. Versatile. Good feel for the game. High IQ guy. He’s been really good since he got in shape.”

Another player who has made significant strides, the coach said, has been Wyatt. Last week, the 6-4 Ohioan who shot 46.9 percent from beyond the arc last year at Division II Chadron State, Neb., went on a six for seven, three-point shooting binge during a 15-minute full court, full-speed scrimmage.

“He had a lot to do academically this summer and that was wearing him down,” Henson said. “But once he got through that, we had to work on his conditioning. We knew he could shoot the ball well. He’s picked up on our schemes defensively. He’s improved on that end a lot.”

Players that have been better than expected? Henson talked about Edmonds, who played last year at Utah Tech. Edmonds is expected to be a defender and a rebounder, primarily. “He’s such a conscientious player who wants to do things right, on and off the court,” Henson said.

The coach also mentioned Mahmoud, a 6-5 freshman guard from the Austin area.

“We started recruiting him several years ago, Henson said. “I loved him when I first saw him. We were fairly aggressive with him, I guess, it was the summer before his junior year. I thought he had terrific upside. He’s a little better than I anticipated. He’s got some work to do defensively. But he knows (offensively) how to set his man up, make cuts, reads defenses and shoots it with confidence.”

After putting in all the work, UTSA players are anxious to test themselves against an opponent. Wyatt said that, with Trinity at the Division III level, he wants to see the Roadrunners win by at least a double-digit margin.

“We worked our butts off to get to this point, and now we’re heading into the season,” Wyatt said. “I already know, a lot of people have a different narrative about how UTSA basketball is, and we definitely want to change that.

“We’ve got quite a few new faces, and a lot of them have been through junior colleges, he added. “If anyone knows anything about junior colleges, we all have a chip on our shoulder. We all have something to prove.”


UTSA has played Trinity in exhibitions each of the past two seasons. Two years ago, the Roadrunners rolled to a 97-66 victory and last year, they shot the ball poorly but still won easily, 74-47.

The Tigers enter the game under the direction of fourth-year coach Jimmy Smith, who is expected to depend heavily this season on returning all-conference guards Tanner Brown and Jacob Harvey.

Harvey averaged 12.4 points per game for the Tigers last year. He hit 68 three-pointers and shot at a 42-percent clip from beyond the arc. Brown averaged 11.6 points and 4.5 rebounds. Trinity is 53-15 under Smith, who is entering his fourth season at the university.