Ivy-Curry scores a career-high 27 as UTSA snaps a two-game skid

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Denver 78-64 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry knocked down 10 of 19 shots from the field and hit five from 3-point range in UTSA’s 78-64 victory over the Denver Pioneers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Well, how are you, coach? “Better than last night,” Steve Henson said Tuesday night with a wry smile.

Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners had just rebounded from a deflating loss to a Division II school. In doing so, they employed an offense with flow and a defense that relied some on zone looks to completely flummox the Denver Pioneers.

Dhieu Deing. UTSA beat Denver 78-64 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Dhieu Deing has reeled off four straight games in double figures to start his UTSA career. He scored 11 points and also had eight rebounds against the Pioneers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

With all that, they upended the Pioneers, 78-64, at the Convocation Center. UTSA’s first victory of the season over a Division I program served a number of useful purposes.

First, it snapped a two-game losing streak. Next, it allowed UTSA to wash the horrible taste of a Monday night loss to the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions out of its mouth.

Finally, it gave the Roadrunners a chance to go 2-1 in an early-season, three-games, in-three-days test.

UTSA (2-2) will play at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Convocation Center against the winless IUPUI Jaguars (0-4).

Against the Pioneers, the Roadrunners finished strong, turning a close game into a double-digit win by forging a 15-6 streak in the closing six minutes.

“This one feels good for a lot of reasons,” Henson said.

First and foremost, the coach said, it just feels better to win.

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat Denver 78-64 in men's basketball on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Junior center Jacob Germany produced 17 points and eight rebounds for the Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“Fortunately, right now,” Henson said, “we’ve got the good feeling of getting a (winning) result, and the really good feeling of having played much better.”

From last Friday through Monday, the Roadrunners had been pretty bad.

About as bad as they could be, actually. They had shot a near-school low 22.7 percent from the field in a 96-44 loss at the University of Oklahoma last Friday night.

Then on Monday, at home, in the first day of their own multi-team event, they were humbled again.

Just when it appeared they had found a rhythm against the Lions, forging a seven point lead early in the second half, they stumbled badly, losing the lead with sloppy play and then falling 65-62 on a buzzer-beating, three-point heave by Alphonso Willis.

As far as the Roadrunners were concerned, nothing could have felt worse.

“I couldn’t sleep,” admitted UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, who responded against the Pioneers with an effort befitting his nickname.

Harkening back to his days at La Marque High School, “Juice” hit 10 of 19 shots from the field. From long distance, he was 5 for 9.

He scored a career-high 27 points to go along with four rebounds and three steals in 34 minutes.

“Yeah,” Ivy-Curry told the team’s radio broadcast, “I had it going, but I want to give a big shout-out to my teammates, coming in with a positive mindset after a tough loss yesterday.”

What was the difference?

“We talked about it in shoot-around,” he said, “making smart plays, making better plays , taking open shots. We were focusing on that.”

Former UTSA coach Tim Carter told Ivy-Curry he seemed to be more loose and more aggressive, and he inquired what his coaches may have told him before the game.

“They just said (to) look for my teammates first,” he said. “Just be Juice (and) play my best. That’s it. They give me confidence. My teammates give me confidence. So, I just got to be Juice every game.”

Ivy-Curry had quite a bit of help.

Center Jacob Germany had 17 points and 8 rebounds. Forward Dhieu Deing had 11 points and 8 boards. Defensively, they were good as a team.

After the Pioneers started fast by hitting four of their first seven attempts on 3-pointers, the Roadrunners clamped down with perhaps their best effort of the season.

In the second half, the Pioneers hit 10 of 30 from the field (33.3 percent).

UTSA defensive highlights included sophomore forward Lachlan Bofinger chasing down a Denver guard and blocking a layup attempt from behind, off the backboard. On the other end, Deing completed a three-point play for a five-point swing.

Also, guard Erik Czumbel took a charge near the end of the game from Denver post Michael Henn. The foul sent Henn to the bench with five fouls.

Speaking with reporters afterward, Germany admitted that the loss lightened the mood in the locker room substantially.

“”Last night took a toll on everybody,” he said. “Something like that just crushes you. I think we bounced back(well). We had a good shootaround. It carried over to the game, and everyone was just happy afterward.”

A&M-Commerce hits buzzer-beating three to stun UTSA, 65-62

Senior guard Alphonso Willis hoisted a three-pointer off the glass at the buzzer to lift the NCAA Division II Texas A&M-Commerce Lions to a 65-62 victory over the Division I UTSA Roadrunners Monday night at the Convocation Center.

Willis’ heroics came just moments after Jordan Ivy-Curry tied it for UTSA. Ivy-Curry buried a three with four seconds left to make it 62-62.

After the Lions pushed the ball upcourt, Willis fired over a couple of opponents to win the game. The Lions promptly rushed off the bench and mobbed Willis, piling on top of him in a wild celebration on the Roadrunners’ home court.

As the Lions continued their scrum, video shows one player with his head cocked back, his fists clenched at his side, screaming to the rafters.

“I’m happy for our guys,” fifth-year A&M-Commerce coach Jaret von Rosenberg told the team’s radio broadcast, “and that’s exciting for our fans.”


UTSA 1-2
A&M-Commerce 0-0
Note: game counted as an exhibition for the Lions

A tough loss

For the Roadrunners, the loss to the Lions stung. It was UTSA’s first stumble at home to a sub-NCAA Division I program in three years, since it lost 77-76 to Division II St. Edward’s in the 2018 season opener.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to A&M-Commerce 65-62 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry battles for a loose ball against Texas A&M-Commerce. He finished with 13 points – Photo by Joe Alexander

Worse yet, they were on the brink of a victory, and let it slip away. The Roadrunners held a seven-point lead on a Dhieu Deing drive with 14:27 remaining. They were up by six with 4:33 left.

And yet because of poor execution down the stretch, including a technical assessed for calling a timeout when they didn’t have any left, they lost a game they should have won.

After Ivy-Curry’s shot tied the game, UTSA coach Steve Henson said his players were in the right positions to defend the last play.

“You just got to stay between them and the bucket,” he said. “We did, and they heaved it from almost half court and it went in. Heartbreaker. Heartbreaker. So many plays prior to that. Shouldn’t have been in that position.”

Henson said the Roadrunners are struggling to run good offense.

“In the end, you got to convert and make open shots,” he said. “We had some looks, but, we’re just not moving the ball quickly enough. It’s not out of selfishness. We’re just not clicking on all cylinders. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

Individual leaders

A&M-Commerce: Alphonso Willis, 18 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. Jairus Roberson, 12 points. Clashon Gaffney, 12 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots.

Dhieu Deing. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to A&M-Commerce 65-62 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Dhieu Deing led the Roadrunners with 16 points and nine rebounds. Deing was 6 of 19 from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA: Dhieu Deing, 16 points. Jordan Ivy-Curry 13. Cedrick Alley, 13.

First half

With Clashon Gaffney controlling the paint, the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions led for much of the first half, only to give way at the end of the period to the Roadrunners, who started to execute at a higher level en route to a 31-29 edge at intermission.

Rough start

The Roadrunners opened the season last Tuesday with a 97-66 home victory over Division III Trinity University. UTSA shot 47 percent from the field to blow out the Tigers.

On Friday, UTSA was blown out 96-44 on the road at Division I power Oklahoma. The Roadrunners shot 22.7 percent from the field, just off the school record for the lowest number in school history.

Against A&M-Commerce, the Roadrunners hit only 40 percent from the floor, including 36.4 percent in the second half. Underscoring problems with ball movement and rhythm, UTSA compiled only nine assists against 17 turnovers.

Denver beats IUPUI

Guard KJ Hunt scored 22 points and forward Michael Henn added 20 as the University of Denver Pioneers downed the IUPUI Jaguars 63-47 on Monday afternoon in the opening game of a UTSA multi-team event at the Convocation Center.

B.J. Maxwell scored 14 for IUPUI, the acronym for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Tuesday’s schedule

5 p.m. — IUPUI vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
7:30 p.m. — Denver vs. UTSA

Wednesday’s schedule

1 p.m. — Denver vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
4:30 p.m. — IUPUI vs. UTSA


Steve Lutz, a 1991 East Central High School graduate, is in his first season as head coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Lutz has been a long-time Division I assistant with stops at Incarnate Word, Stephen F. Austin, SMU, Creighton and Purdue. At Creighton, he helped develop scoring whiz Doug McDermott, who now plays with the Spurs. Lutz spent his last four seasons at Purdue.