American Baseball Championship semifinals are underway in Clearwater

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The field in the American Baseball Championship has been trimmed to four, with the tournament semifinals set to commence today in Clearwater, Fla.

The Wichita State Shockers will play the top-seeded and regular-season champion East Carolina Pirates at 9 a.m. Central, followed by the Tulane Green Wave and the Florida Atlantic Owls 47 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

As many as four games could be contested today because the Pirates and the Owls will need to win twice to knock out their opponents.

East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin will be serving the second of a two-game suspension. If the Pirates win, he will be able to come back in the re-match.

The title game in the six-game conference tournament is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. at the BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater.

Today’s matchups

East Carolina (42-14) vs. Wichita State (31-27) – The Shockers enter the semifinals with tournament victories over the UAB Blazers (8-2) and the Pirates (14-4). Wichita State caught fire with a regular-season series win at UTSA has now won nine of its last 10 overall. The Shockers will need to win Saturday and again Sunday in the American title game to secure an NCAA tournament bid. The Pirates, based on their strong regular season, are likely a lock to make the national field. East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin will be serving the second game of a conference-mandated suspension.

Florida Atlantic (28-28) vs. Tulane (33-24) – The Tulane Green Wave look to be in good shape coming into the semis with four straight victories and a day’s rest. On top of that, the Tulane pitching hasn’t had to work quite as hard as some others this week after beating FAU 14-2 in seven innings on the run rule Tuesday. The Green Wave downed Charlotte 7-5 on Thursday. Both the Owls and the Green Wave will need to win the tournament in Clearwater to secure an NCAA automatic bid.


Both once-beaten East Carolina and Florida Atlantic stayed alive with victories on Friday.

Playing without All-American Trey Yesavage (injury) and Dixon Williams (one-game suspension), and also without coach Cliff Godwin (suspension), the Pirates beat Rice 8-7 Friday to stay alive. They opened the tournament by beating Rice, 12-4, on Tuesday and then losing to Wichita State, 14-4, on Thursday. Godwin was suspended for his actions in the 14-4 loss.

Florida Atlantic’s season has also been on the brink all week.

Sixth-seeded FAU took a 14-2 loss to Wichita State on opening day on Tuesday before bouncing back the next day to down the UTSA Roadrunners, 12-5. With new life, the Owls surged into a seven-run lead on the Charlotte 49ers Friday and then held on as Danny Trehey pitched shutout innings in the eighth and ninth to secure a 10-8 victory.

UTSA beats FAU 3-2 in 10 innings to clinch second in the American

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners scored on a catcher’s interference call in the top of the 10th inning and then held on in the bottom half to beat the Florida Atlantic University Owls, 3-2, Friday night to secure a second-place finish in the American Athletic Conference baseball race.

UTSA ace Ruger Riojas earned his 10th victory of the season when he closed the door in the last inning. With a base runner at third, he fanned FAU’s John Schroeder, who checked his swing but was called out.

Just about the same time that the UTSA-FAU game was going into extra innings in Boca Raton, the 13th-ranked East Carolina Pirates clinched the AAC title with a doubleheader sweep of the Rice Owls.

The Pirates completed their regular-season schedule by winning 15-5 on the run rule in eight innings and then adding a 6-4 victory in the nightcap. In the second game, East Carolina fell behind 4-2 but rallied to win.

In Boca Raton, UTSA led most of the way against FAU behind the pitching of Zach Royse and Daniel Garza. The home-team Owls made it interesting at the end, scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth to tie it.

Garza started the eighth and allowed a couple of hits to open the inning, putting runners at first and second base. At that point, UTSA coach Pat Hallmark called on his ace, Riojas, who replaced Garza.

Riojas appeared to have good stuff but Jalen DeBose greeted him by fighting off a pitch and blooping it into right field for an RBI single.

After a sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, Schroeder hit it hard down the line in left. The drive was caught by Caleb Hill, but it brought in the tying run to make it 2-2.

With Danny Trehey pitching for FAU, opposite Riojas for UTSA, neither team could score in the ninth inning. Trehey was good in the clutch. Following a two-out walk to Alexander Olivo, he struck out UTSA’s Caleb Hill to end the inning. Then it was Riojas’ turn, and he retired three straight.

The 10th inning was tense for both teams.

UTSA loaded the bases against Trehey on an error and a couple of walks. With two outs, injury-hobbled Tye Odom entered the game as a pinch hitter. On a 2-1 count, Odom swung and missed, but the home-plate ump called catcher’s interference.

FAU asked for a review, but umpires upheld the original call. Florida Atlantic catcher Andrew McKenna was ruled to have interfered with Odom’s swing.

With the bases still loaded and UTSA looking to improve on its one-run lead, Trehey got out of the jam when Mason Lytle flied to right field.

Not to be outdone, FAU tried to rally against Riojas, with Brando Leroux rapping a single to right field. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a fly ball to center. At that point, Schroeder stepped to the plate.

On a 1-2 count, he tried to check his swing on a ball that appeared to veer outside the strike zone, only to be called out.

Riojas (10-3) earned the victory with three scoreless innings of relief. The sophomore from Wimberley allowed two hits and one walk and struck out three.

Trehey (3-3) was the hard-luck loser. The 6-4 senior pitched two innings, did not allow a hit and gave up the winning run, which was unearned. He walked three and struck out three.


FAU 25-27, 11-15
UTSA 32-21, 17-9

AAC leaders

East Carolina 19-8, 40-13
UTSA 17-9, 32-21

Coming up

AAC regular-season finale: UTSA at FAU, Saturday at noon
AAC tournament, Tuesday through next Sunday (May 21-26), at Clearwater, Fla.


With 14-1 and 3-2 victories at Boca Raton, the Roadrunners have clinched the series. They have won seven out of nine series in their inaugural season in the American.

Ruger Riojas keeps stacking up some staggering individual totals. In 24 appearances, he has pitched 64 and 2/3 innings. Riojas has struck out 70 batters and walked only 17. In yielding only 23 earned runs, his ERA for the season is 3.20.

He is 10-3 in the win-loss column, with seven saves. In a quick check of NCAA Division I statistics, he may be one of only two pitchers in Division I baseball with the 10-win, seven-save combination, the other being Nick Wissman of Dayton.

UTSA women down FAU 73-60 for first AAC road victory

Freshman guard Aysia Proctor led four players in double-digit scoring with 17 points Wednesday night, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners women to a 73-60 victory on the road over the FAU Owls.

Playing in Boca Raton, Fla., UTSA bolted to a 20-11 lead after one quarter and then cruised to its first road victory in the American Athletic Conference.

Proctor, from San Antonio-area Clemens High School, paced the Roadrunners with seven of 11 shooting from the floor and three of four from 3-point distance.

Elyssa Coleman scored 16 points, while guard Kyra White added 12. Maya Linton contributed 10 points off the bench.


UTSA 8-7, 2-2
FAU 5-10, 0-4

AAC men’s basketball gets an infusion of talent from Conference USA

Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May. No. 24 Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 83-64 in men's basketball on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Dusty May and his FAU Owls won the Conference USA title and advanced all the way to the NCAA Final Four last spring. The Owls are now picked to win the American Athletic Conference in their first year as a member of the league. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

With the departure of Houston, UCF and Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference, a compelling question looms. Will the glory days of AAC men’s basketball soon fade into the frayed and yellowed pages of history?

Or, with the arrival of six schools from Conference USA, including Final Four darling Florida Atlantic, has the AAC actually started to trek down a road to become a better league — from top to bottom — than it has been in recent years?

Steve Henson. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson talked to reporters Monday in Dallas at the AAC media day. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“I think we’re going to have the best roster of coaches in men’s and women’s basketball that we’ve ever had,” Commissioner Mike Aresco said at the televised AAC media day on Monday morning in Dallas. “I think this conference is deeper than it’s ever been.

“We’ll lose Houston, and they obviously did a lot for the conference. When you really think about what Kelvin Sampson (the Houston men’s coach) meant and what he did for the conference, I want to really applaud him. But this conference is now deeper, and it will be better, than it was before.”

On a local level, another weighty question is being asked.

Can UTSA, picked to finish last in its first season in the AAC, ever contend on a consistent basis in what officials hope will become a conference that annually sends multiple teams to the NCAA tournament? Or, are fans of the Roadrunners destined to feel more misery than euphoria in the years ahead?

UTSA coach Steve Henson, whose teams have finished 10-22 in each of the past two seasons, brushed off the poll results and said he’s energized with a roster of players that turned over almost entirely from last year.

“We’re excited about those new guys,” Henson told an ESPN media crew. “We set out this summer, tried to get ’em in as early as possible. It was a little bit of a challenge to get ’em signed, to get ’em all committed, get ’em on board and get ’em to class.

“But the majority of them were around (campus) in the summer. We anticipated needing to do some team bonding, to facilitate some chemistry. But they kind of handled all that on their own. So that was exciting. That was issue No. 1, getting those guys to gel.”

Once coaches started to work with the new group, which features three strong post defenders, a few quick point guards and some wings that can run the fast break, the identity of the squad came into sharper focus.

“We like our versatility,” Henson said. “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.”

Asked about the program in general, Henson said it’s an exciting time to be in UTSA athletics.

“It’s just an exciting time to be at UTSA,” he said. “We’re a young university. A young athletic department (with) a young football program that’s absolutely crushing it. Football in Texas — it’s kind of a big deal. We just try to piggy-back off that momentum. It’s a good basketball city with the Spurs traditionally. Renewed interest there with (rookie Victor Wembanyama) coming to town.

UAB coach Andy Kennedy. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Andy Kennedy and the UAB Blazers are picked to finish fourth in the AAC. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“So, it’s a great place to live. It’s a thriving university. If you drive near our campus, (there’s) construction everywhere. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. People don’t realize we’re the seventh-largest city in the country. Sounds like we’re closing in on No. 6. It’s just a fun place to be right now. A lot of excitement.

“People talk about the River Walk, which is great. If you visit San Antonio, you’re going to go to the River Walk. We’ve got our own separate area around our campus, which is thriving like crazy.”

At one time, Roadrunner basketball was thriving under Henson, who is entering his eighth season at the school. The team posted winning records in three of four seasons in one stretch and finished in the upper division of C-USA with Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace leading the way. Despite the Roadrunners’ recent struggles, Henson firmly believes UTSA basketball can become a contender again.

“Our kids are going to play extremely hard,” he said. “You know, the polls (picking UTSA for last place) are out. We’re not going to have to do a lot of putting that up on the walls. You know, our kids are going to see it. They’re going to use that as motivation. We won’t over-do that with them.

“They’re going to be hungry. They’re motivated. We literally had one kid cry when we offered him a scholarship, he was so thrilled to come in. (But) this group’s going to play hard. We’ve always played fast. This team is built to play fast. We have shooters. We’ve got three big guys on the interior that are all defensive-minded and talk. We’re excited about it.

“Again, this group will use the polls as motivation.”

Last year, the postseason tournaments served as a reminder that Conference USA teams entering the American would be competitive. For instance, after FAU won the C-USA, it turned around and beat AAC champion Memphis in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Columbus, Ohio. Then it went on to win 35 games en route to the school’s first berth in the Final Four.

Furthermore, both North Texas and UAB won berths in the National Invitation Tournament, and both kept winning until they met in the finals in Las Vegas. Once in the title game at the Orleans Arena, North Texas downed UAB, 68-61. In addition, Charlotte won the College Basketball Invitational, downing Eastern Kentucky, 71-68, in the finals at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Combined, the four teams posted a combined record of 117-35. In the AAC preseason poll, FAU was picked to win, with Memphis second, Tulane third and UAB fourth. UAB Blazers coach Andy Kennedy told ESPN on Monday afternoon that the new-look AAC will need to earn its respect in November and December.

“Ultimately, you make your hay in the non-league (games),” Kennedy said. “We’ve certainly challenged ourselves, and I’ve looked around at the other schedules around the league, and a lot of our teams are going to challenge themselves early. We have to win some of those games, so that when we get into the gauntlet of league play …

“People ask me all the time, I’ve coached in the Big East. I’ve coached 12 years in the SEC. And they say,
What’s the hardest league in the country?’ I say, ‘It’s the one you’re in.’ That’s how coaches look at it. So the league is going to be very, very challenging.

“I think if we can do what we need to do as a group, heading into conference play, we’re going to put ourselves into a position to be a multi-bid league.”

AAC Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Florida Atlantic (11) 167
2. Memphis (3) 159
3. Tulane 142
4. UAB 128
5. East Carolina 105
6. North Texas 100
7. SMU 97
8. Wichita State 90
9. South Florida 62
10. Tulsa 59
11. Rice 56
12. Temple 49
13. Charlotte 46
14. UTSA 14

Notes: First-place votes in parentheses. Florida Atlantic, UAB, North Texas, Rice, Charlotte and UTSA are set to play in the AAC for the first time this year after splitting away from Conference USA.

Aggressive guard play sparks UTSA in winning two in a row

Kyra White. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Kyra White hit two quick threes and scored 13 of her 22 points in the first half Thursday night when UTSA rolled to an 18-point intermission lead. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Not too long ago, it wasn’t all that cool to be a fan of women’s basketball at UTSA. After a long and frustrating string of losing seasons, the game had lost its luster. Not any more.

Thanks to second-year Coach Karen Aston and the resurgent Roadrunners, the lights seem brighter, the crowds bigger and the fans louder. The sizzle is definitely returning to the Convocation Center.

Karen Aston. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Karen Aston received a nice ovation from the fans before the game for winning the 300th game in her career Monday night in Denton against North Texas. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA won its second game in a row and improved to 5-3 over its last eight outings on Thursday night, rolling to a 25-point lead in the opening minutes after halftime and then holding on in the fourth quarter to down the visiting FAU Owls, 77-61.

“Gosh, that’s about as good of a half of basketball as we’ve played all year long,” Aston said about her team’s opening 20 minutes. “The last two home games that we’ve played…I mean, Rice, I look back at that one and our first half is really good.

“I think we’re starting to get the gist of how to start a game. Obviously, I can hammer the third quarter (tonight), but I’d rather just skip over that and say that I thought we adjusted in the fourth and did the things that we needed to do.”

Conference USA Player of the Year candidate Jordyn Jenkins led the Roadrunners with 26 points on eight of 11 shooting from the field. Kyra White added a career-high 22 points, including 13 in the first half when the Roadrunners broke the game open.

“Terrific performance by Kyra,” Aston said. “You know, it just opens up a whole lot of things when we have guards who are aggressive. The last two games we’ve played, we’ve looked completely different because of our guard play. I could go back to the Rice game, also.

“I think we’re starting to get an understanding of complete basketball. I’m looking forward to continuing this.”

Sidney Love. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sidney Love hit two clutch buckets in the fourth quarter to help the Roadrunners hold on against the FAU Owls. Love had 11 points on five of nine shooting. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA (9-18, 7-11 in C-USA) clearly has too many losses on the ledger to avoid another losing season.

But, with their inspired play over the past few weeks, which includes a victory over the first-place Middle Tennessee State Lady Raiders, the Roadrunners may be evolving into a group that opponents might not necessarily want to see in the first round of the C-USA tournament.

White was asked if she thought UTSA might be taking on that identity. “I would hope so,” she said. “I think we’re … I mean, I wouldn’t say an underdog, because I know what we’re capable of (doing).

“But I feel like in the realm of sports and just in the conference right now, I would consider us an underdog,” White said. “People know that we’re going to come in and play hard, so I would … I’m just going to say, ‘Yes.’ ”


FAU 12-14, 5-12
UTSA 9-18, 7-11

Coming up

FIU at UTSA, Saturday, noon


Over UTSA’s last eight games, the Roadrunners own victories over Louisiana Tech (on the road), Middle Tennessee State and Rice (both at home), North Texas (on the road) and now the FAU Owls (at home). Middle Tennessee, Rice and LA Tech all figure to get byes past the first round and into the C-USA quarterfinals.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

After scoring a career-high 40 points Monday at North Texas, Jordyn Jenkins scored 26 against the FAU Owls. Jenkins needs 29 points to tie and 30 to break the school record for points in a single season. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins has scored 554 points this season, a total that is 29 shy of the school’s record of 583. Former UTSA guard Tammy Rogers established the UTSA single-season scoring record in the 1990-91 season. Jenkins leads the conference averaging 20.5 points a game. That, too, is close to the school record of 20.7 by Starlite Williams in 1986-87.

For UTSA, freshman guard Sidney Love scored 11 points, including two big shots to stem the FAU momentum in the fourth quarter.

After the Owls pulled to within nine, Love buried a 15-footer with 6:33 remaining. The Owls were still hanging around with under six minutes left when the former Steele High School standout did it again, banking in a 10 footer off the glass. That bucket pushed the UTSA lead to 13 with 5:32 left.

As usual, White’s energetic play allowed her to fill up the statistics sheet. Not only did she make eight of 15 from the floor and three of eight from 3-point range, but she also had five assists, three blocked shots and two steals.

For FAU, guard Aniya Hubbard scored 20 points on eight of 13 shooting from the field. Six-foot-two forward Amber Gaston had 13 on five of five shooting. Gaston scored seven in the third quarter when the momentum shifted back to the Owls. In addition, 6-foot guard Joiya Maddox also scored six of her 13 in the fourth period.

First half

Led by White, the Roadrunners blasted the Owls with a 20-3 run over the final 8:33 of the second quarter to take a 35-17 lead at halftime.

White, a junior from Judson, produced 13 points and three assists. In one of her better halves of the season, the transfer from Southern Cal hit five of 10 shots from the field and three of six from the 3-point arc.

Jenkins, who scored a career-high 40 points in a Monday night victory at North Texas, had a quiet eight points in the first half.


Conference USA women’s basketball programs promoted Black History Month, with both UTSA and Florida Atlantic wearing themed T-shirts during warmups.

UTSA coach Karen Aston honored for 300 wins. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Karen Aston honored in the pregame for 300 wins. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Karen Aston honored for 300 wins. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

The coach salutes the fans – Photo by Joe Alexander

Surprising UTSA women hope to keep it going against FAU

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

The UTSA women’s basketball team has a dual mission tonight — make amends for a poor performance earlier this season and keep alive its late-season push in the Conference USA standings.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA women's basketball beat No. 21 Middle Tennessee 58-53 on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins has scored 528 points, 55 shy of the UTSA school single-season record held by Tammy Rogers, who produced 583 in 1990-91. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Surprising UTSA is 4-3 in its last seven games going into tonight’s home test against the struggling Florida Atlantic University Owls. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Last month, the Roadrunners traveled to Florida and got swept in a two-game C-USA road series, losing at FAU 81-66 and at Florida International, 51-48. A week later, on Jan. 26, they returned home and dropped another close game to North Texas, 54-51.

After losing to the Mean Green, UTSA dropped to 4-15 and 2-8 in the conference.

Since then, the ball club has caught a tail-wind, winning four out of seven games, including victories over Louisiana Tech (on the road), Middle Tennessee and Rice (both at home) and North Texas (on the road).

As a result, the Roadrunners have improved to 8-18 on the season and 6-11 in the C-USA.

The latest victory may have been the most dramatic. Playing in Denton on Monday night, UTSA squandered a nine-point fourth quarter lead before riding Jordyn Jenkins to a 68-67 decision over North Texas in overtime.

In boosting veteran coach Karen Aston to the 300th victory of her career, Jenkins hit 12 of 20 shots from the field, including three of five from 3-point distance. The 40-point showing not only was her career-high, but with 11 rebounds, she also notched her ninth double-double of the year.

If history is any indication, FAU could be a problem tonight for UTSA despite Jenkins’ talents. The Owls dominated the Roadrunners last month, with guard Aniyah Hubbard lighting it up for 21 points. The 5-8 guard also had four rebounds, three assists and four steals.

Defensively, the Owls were effective, holding the Roadrunners to 31 percent shooting. They also out-rebounded the visitors, 27-21. The margin wasn’t that much, but it was one of the few times during the conference schedule that an opponent out-rebounded UTSA.

Lately, FAU has fallen on hard times, losing four straight, dropping the Owls to 12-13 and 5-11, a half game below the Roadrunners in the C-USA standings. Right now, UTSA is ninth in the standings and FAU 10th.

All 11 C-USA teams qualify for the C-USA tournament next month in Frisco, but, generally the higher a team can finish in the regular season, the easier it is to win games and advance.

It’s likely that UTSA will need to win four games in four days to win the C-USA title and make the 64-team NCAA field.


FAU 12-13, 5-11
UTSA 8-18, 6-11

Coming up

FAU at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
FIU at UTSA, Saturday, noon


UTSA hasn’t won as many as nine games in a season and six games on its conference schedule since the 2017-18 season, when the Roadrunners finished 9-21 and 6-10…Jordyn Jenkins, a UTSA newcomer after transferring from Southern Cal, is 55 points shy of the school record held by Tammy Rogers.

No. 24 Florida Atlantic rides strong bench play to an 83-64 victory over UTSA

Christian Tucker. No. 24 Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 83-64 in men's basketball on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Christian Tucker started at point guard in the absence of injured Japhet Medor against the Conference USA-leading FAU Owls. Tucker finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

First, a bad omen emerged. UTSA point guard Japhet Medor didn’t come out for warmups. Then, the alarm bells, metaphorically speaking, started to go off. A few minutes before game time, Medor stepped onto the court at the Convocation Center, wearing a walking boot on his right foot.

With the team’s leading scorer injured and unable to play on a foot sprain, the end result was all too predictable.

Japhet Medor. No. 24 Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 83-64 in men's basketball on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA starting point guard Japhet Medor (at right) sat out with a foot sprain and is tentatively listed as doubtful to play Saturday at home against the FIU Panthers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The 24th-ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls, running waves of talented players onto the floor for 40 minutes, rolled to an 83-64 victory over the struggling Roadrunners. The game carried some historic significance for UTSA in that it was the first time in 42 years that it had hosted a ranked opponent on campus.

That sort of novelty was fun for fans to think about initially, in terms of what it could mean if the team could spring an upset. In the end, though, the game turned into just another painful experience, as the Roadrunners have lost five in a row and 12 of 15.

Guards Johnell Davis (14 points) and Alijah Martin (11) came off the bench to spark the Owls to their 17th straight victory. UTSA was within six early in the second half, but, later, a 19-0 run by FAU turned it into a runaway. In the last few minutes, the Owls led by as many as 27 points.

In all, the FAU reserves outscored UTSA’s 44-26. The visitors also crushed the Roadrunners in fast-break and second-chance points.

FAU coach Dusty May said it’s been fun to coach a team with so many talented athletes.

“It’s very comforting knowing the group that’s not starting the game is equally explosive and capable,” said May, who’s in his fifth year with the Owls. “And, they support each other. They share minutes. They share shots. They play unselfishly … When you have players that display those characteristics, it makes it so much more fun to coach.”

Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May. No. 24 Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 83-64 in men's basketball on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Dusty May’s Florida Atlantic Owls have won 17 games in a row for the second-longest winning streak in the nation. – Photo by Joe Alexander

For UTSA, senior center Jacob Germany notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back after missing two with a concussion. Freshman guard DJ Richards had a hot start early in the second half but cooled off and finished with 13 points. Christian Tucker, starting for Medor at the point, scored 11.

UTSA coach Steve Henson said the Roadrunners were hurt in the first half with FAU players tipping out missed shots to create second chances. When the Roadrunners started doing a better job on the glass, they put together a run after halftime.

“Our guards did a better job of rebounding,” the coach said. “On the other end of the floor, we started making one more pass. Got some really good looks. DJ and (John) Buggs knocked down a couple of shots. Just started the second half the right way. I liked what we did for quite a stretch there.”

In response, FAU unleashed guards like Davis, Jalen Gaffney, Michael Forrest and Martin, who all contributed during the 19-point streak. So did 7-foot center Vladislav Goldin. When Gaffney assisted to Martin for a layup with 8:08 remaining, the Owls were up 75-48.

“That run was frustrating,” Henson said. “That’s happened to us on a few other occasions this year. We’re continuing to try to figure out how to offset those. They were just kind of steady. On their end, they’d get a bucket, or two or three. We came down and got the right shot. On many of those occasions, we had decent possessions.

“We had had a pretty good mindset during that stretch, but we weren’t converting. Ball wasn’t going in the hole. It was going in the hole for them. Then we had a stretch where we turned it over a few times in a row, and that’s where it got away from us.”

Steve Henson. No. 24 Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 83-64 in men's basketball on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners made a push early in the second half to come within six points of the 24th-ranked team in the nation. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Though Henson praised Tucker for what he called “an outstanding” effort, the team will be missing a key element of its identity for as long as Medor is out of the lineup. The coach said his starting point guard and leading scorer tweaked the foot late in a practice held on Wednesday afternoon.

“We weren’t out there very long, but probably 15 or 20 minutes from being done, he drove it real aggressively, got bumped and immediately felt it, a foot sprain,” the coach said. “It’s not the ankle. It’s the outside of the foot.

“He’s had some other foot injuries in the past. This one, the feeling was a little different. Pretty concerning to him. We went back and forth today. We thought at one point that if the X-ray came back negative, that maybe he could give it a go. It did come back negative, but he just didn’t feel good enough to go.”

Henson said he’d be surprised if Medor practices on Friday. As for Saturday’s 3 p.m. home game against the FIU Panthers, the coach speculated that it’s doubtful that the 6-foot senior from Florida will play.

“We’ll just have to see how he’s feeling,” the coach said.

Medor is leading the Roadrunners in scoring, averaging 13.7 points per game. He had his career high of 30 on Monday against Rice. Medor is also the team’s leader in assists (3.8) and is tied for third in rebounding (3.5).


FAU 18-1, 8-0
UTSA 7-13, 1-8

Coming up

FIU at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.


The College of Charleston has the longest winning streak in the nation at 19 after a victory Thursday night against Monmouth. Florida Atlantic’s 17-game streak is No. 2 on the list. Only four one-win teams remain in NCAA Division I — Houston (18-1), Purdue (18-1), Charleston (20-1) and FAU (18-1).

The only other UTSA game in San Antonio with a Top 25 opponent was played in November 1981 against 18th-ranked Arkansas. It was played downtown at the old HemisFair Arena. In UTSA’s first game as a basketball program, Arkansas won, 71-42. In 42 years, all of it in NCAA Division I, UTSA is 1-18 against teams in the Top 25.

Analyzing the first half

The Owls unleashed a quick and athletic backcourt on the UTSA Roadrunners, rolling behind Brandon Weatherspoon, Nick Boyd and Bryan Greenlee to a 46-30 lead at halftime.

Weatherspoon, a 6-4 junior, got off to a fast start and finished the first period with 10 points on four of seven shooting. Boyd added eight points and three rebounds, all while Bryan Greenlee ran the attack with four assists.

Playing without leading scorer Japhet Medor, the Roadrunners simply couldn’t keep up with the conference’s best team.

UTSA was within eight points with eight minutes left in the half, and then suddenly FAU started to sprint away. The Owls ripped off 12 straight points in a three-minute stretch to boost the lead to 39-19.

Christian Tucker, starting at the point for Medor, had a sold half with 11 points, two rebounds and an assist. Germany had nine points and nine rebounds in 12 minutes.

Getting underway

The Panthers struck early Thursday night, combining effective offense and solid defense to build a 23-14 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half.

Brandon Weatherspoon hit three of four shots and had eight points. Guard Alijah Martin contributed a highlight when he ran the floor on the fast break and threw down a ferocious dunk.

The Roadrunners started the game with Christian Tucker at the point in place of Medor, flanked by John Buggs III and DJ Richards. Massal Diouf and Aleu Aleu started at the two inside positions.

UTSA’s Germany set to return against the No. 24 FAU Owls

Jacob Germany. UTSA lost its Conference USA men's basketball opener to North Texas 78-54 on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Jacob Germany is expected to play Thursday night at home against the 24th-ranked FAU Owls. Germany is averaging 11.4 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

With the struggling UTSA men’s basketball program set to take on a historic challenge, center Jacob Germany is expected to return Thursday night when the Roadrunners host the 24th-ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls in Conference USA play.

The Roadrunners, on a four-game losing streak, will play the explosive, once-beaten Owls on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center. Dusty May-coached FAU, from Boca Raton, Fla., moved into the AP Top 25 on Monday.

On Monday night, the Owls won at Western Kentucky for their 16th straight victory. All of which set the stage for a first — FAU will be the first ranked team that UTSA men’s basketball has hosted on campus.

Steve Henson. Rice beat UTSA 88-81 in overtime in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson says he’s excited to have center Jacob Germany available to play against the FAU Owls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson made the announcement about Germany’s return from a concussion after his team’s Wednesday afternoon practice. The 6-foot-11 senior from Oklahoma has been out since he took a few blows to the head against UTEP on Jan. 11 in El Paso.

He has missed the team’s last two games.

“He looked good (today),” Henson said. “You could tell he was feeling good, just walking around the last few days. He’s looking good, feeling good. Process has gone a little faster than I would have thought.”

Another hopeful sign for UTSA centered on Isaiah Addo-Ankrah and 7-foot center Carlton Linguard, Jr., two other injured players, who also practiced on a limited basis. Neither, however, will be ready against FAU.

Henson didn’t say directly whether Germany would start, but things seem to be trending in that direction.

“He hasn’t been out that long, so the conditioning won’t be a big factor for him,” Henson said. “So, whether we start him or bring him off the bench, it doesn’t really matter. He’ll settle into that rotation and probably get some quality minutes.

“We’re excited to have him back.”

UTSA (7-12, 1-7 C-USA) hasn’t had much luck in conference play and has lost 11 of its last 14. The team is coming off a heart-wrenching 88-81 overtime loss to Rice on Monday night. Regardless, the opportunity to do something special looms against C-USA leading FAU (17-1, 7-0).

Through their 42-year history, the Roadrunners are 1-17 against ranked opponents, with the lone victory coming in December 1994 at 13th-ranked Arizona State, 87-85, in overtime. In their last meeting against a Top 25 foe, the Roadrunners lost 82-50 in November 2019 at 17th-ranked Utah State.

In the only previous occasion when the UTSA men hosted a ranked opponent in San Antonio, the Roadrunners were in their first season and in their first game, taking on Eddie Sutton’s 18th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks on Nov. 30, 1981 at the old HemisFair Arena.

The Razorbacks, with future NBA guards Darrell Walker and Alvin Robertson, won 71-42 in the game played in downtown San Antonio at the former home of the Spurs. Once situated south of what is now the Grand Hyatt Hotel and north of the Tower of the Americas, the arena was razed in 1995 to make way for convention center expansion.

In regard to playing FAU, Germamy is a realist. He knows his team is struggling. But he said at courtside after practice that he’s excited about the possibilities.

“I used to say it more as a freshman, but I look forward to a challenge like that,” Germany said.

For UTSA, the last few months have been hard to handle. Since a 4-1 start, the team has lost 11 of its last 14 and four in a row.

Germany sat out a 72-54 road loss to Charlotte on Saturday. On Monday, he also watched from the bench as his friends played well for most of the night against Rice, only to be outscored 21-5 in the last seven minutes of regulation and 16-9 in overtime — on their home court.

For the first time since he’s been at UTSA, he didn’t play and was forced to deal with all of those emotions.

“It was tough,” Germany said. “It was weird. Honestly, I can’t really even explain it, it was so weird. I haven’t missed a game since eighth grade. I felt, like, out of place almost … I felt like I wanted to help them.

“Man, such a terrible feeling. I hated that. I’m thankful I’ve been able to come back so fast. It’s the first games I’ve missed in my career here. It kind of opened my eyes to be thankful for my good health.”

Germany said he remembers getting hit with two elbows against UTEP in El Paso.

“One, on a rebound, hit me on the top of the nose,” he said. “The second one, there was actually a knot about the size of a golf ball on my head. I was fine after it happened. But once I got to the locker room I was so out of it, I don’t really remember it that much.

“The next day, flying (back to San Antonio), it didn’t really help. I was tired. Kind of just out of it a little bit.”

Germany said he’s worked his way back into physical activity the past few days, leading into the Wednesday practice, in which he went through half-court drills and ran some sprints.

“Today I had limited contact, and (on Thursday), I’ll be OK,” he said.

Coming up

FAU at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
FIU at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.


FAU (17-1, 7-0)
UTSA (7-12, 1-7)


Coach Steve Henson said he thinks Isaiah Addo-Ankrah is close to playing again after rehabilitating a wrist fracture. Addo-Ankrah worked out on a limited basis Wednesday, doing some shooting on the side.

He won’t play against FAU on Thursday, but he’s expected to ramp up activity Friday. Henson said he doesn’t have “high expectations” that he could play Saturday against FIU, but said he could be back for a Jan. 26 road game at North Texas.

Addo-Ankrah, one of the team’s best three-point shooters, has been out eight-straight games — all in conference.

Center Carlton Linguard, Jr., who has not played this season, still has two hurdles to overcome before he can play. First, he needs to get healthy. In addition, he needs clearance from the NCAA on an academic issue.

Physically, he’s getting better. Out for much of the fall with a knee injury and then with a concussion, he did some work in half-court situations Wednesday. He also ran sprints and shot the ball on the side. Henson said he could transition into some contact work by Friday.

As for the possibility that he could be cleared to play from an eligibility standpoint, it is apparently in the hands of the NCAA. Henson said he hoped to hear something this week but said he didn’t have anything to report.

Freshman fuels late run as FAU defeats UTSA, 73-64

Freshman guard Alijah Martin scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half Saturday afternoon as the FAU Owls rallied for a 73-64 victory over the offensively-challenged UTSA Roadrunners.

Martin and Bryan Greenlee, who also scored 16, hit key shots in an 8-0 run for the Owls in the final three minutes of the ball game at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 73-64 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson worked the sideline Saturday as his team battled the FAU Owls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

During the Owls’ final push, the Roadrunners had several opportunities to turn the momentum in their favor but couldn’t get it done.

“Same story,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Just can’t get the ball to go in the hole.”

After leading by three at halftime, the Roadrunners shot 25.6 percent in the second half and finished with 33.8 percent for the game. As a result, their percentage for the season dropped to 38.0, which ranks last in Conference USA.

Down by nine points with six minutes remaining, the Roadrunners started a charge that felt a little like Thursday night, when they rallied for a victory over the FIU Panthers.

UTSA, behind guard Darius McNeill, surged on an 11-3 streak over the next three minutes.

McNeill had seven points and an assist in the run. His jumper from just outside the paint brought the Roadrunners to within one, 65-64, with 3:18 remaining.

Jordan Ivy-Curry hit a long shot at the buzzer at the end of the first half. Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 73-64 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry hit a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer against Florida Atlantic. Ivy-Curry led UTSA with 19 points. – Photo by Joe Alexander

At that point, the Roadrunners couldn’t get a break or score another point for the rest of the afternoon.

After McNeill misfired on a three-point attempt that would have vaulted UTSA into the lead, FAU came down and missed on a Greenlee drive.

A clutch offensive rebound by forward Bitumba Baruti allowed the Owls another opportunity, and Greenlee delivered on a three from the wing that made it 68-64.

As the clocked ticked into the two-minute range, defenses tightened and both UTSA and FAU misfired on three-point attempts. Trailing by four, UTSA would have a chance.

But in one of the key sequences, the Roadrunners made an aggressive play that could have been a momentum changer, only to see it go awry.

Guard Dhieu Deing drove baseline and passed on a difficult maneuver under the basket to teammate Jacob Germany. As it turned out, the pass was low, and Germany couldn’t hang on to it.

Jacob Germany. Florida Atlantic beat UTSA 73-64 on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany had 11 points and 10 rebounds against FAU. The 6-11 center hit 5 of 11 from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Owls advanced it the other way, leading to a driving layup by Martin and a 70-64 lead for FAU with 56 seconds left.

On the next possession, the Roadrunners kept shooting and rebounding and shooting again, coming up with nothing as they skidded to their 10th loss in their last 12 games.

UTSA is 1-8 in conference.

“We’re just too streaky right now,” Henson said. “Confidence, I think, probably is an issue overall. You know, shots going in becomes contagious. Shots not going in becomes contagious. We’re struggling.”

The Owls clearly had something to do with the Roadrunners’ problems. Unlike the Roadrunners, the Owls had several players who looked confident in their offensive games.

Martin, for instance, hit six of 10 from the field. He also nailed four of eight from 3-point territory. In an all-around solid performance, the 6-2 guard from Summit, Miss., was a handful on the glass with nine rebounds. He also passed for four assists.

Greenlee hit the big three at the end.

Junior guard Michael Forrest, FAU’s leading scorer, wasn’t great. He hit only two of six from the field and scored 12 points. But he stepped up and contributed in other areas. He knocked down seven of eight of his free throws, leading a 22 of 26 showing at the line for the Owls.

Freshman guard Johnell Davis led the Owls off the bench. The 6-4 freshman had 15 points and six rebounds.


FAU 12-9, 5-3
UTSA 8-14, 1-8

Coming up

Feb. 3 — UTSA at Rice
Feb. 5 — UTSA at North Texas
Feb. 7 — UTSA at Middle Tennessee


UTSA hit two three-pointers in the final minute of the first half to take a 38-35 lead. In the second half, the shots didn’t fall. The Roadrunners made only 10 of 39 for 25.6 percent after halftime. They hit 33.8 percent for the game.

Jordan Ivy-Curry led UTSA with 19 points. But after playing 34 minutes on Thursday, Ivy-Curry didn’t seem to have quite the lift on his jumpers. He hit only seven of 24 from the field.

Germany, who played 35 minutes Thursday, was 5 of 11 from the field and scored 11. He had 10 rebounds. Dhieu Deing suffered a tough day in hitting only three of 14 shots. He scored eight points.

Roadrunners hope to take another step forward today

Rejuvenated by the return of two of their best players, the UTSA Roadrunners will attempt to complete their first Conference USA sweep of the season when they host the FAU Owls Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat Florida International 73-66 on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

After playing 35 minutes Thursday night, UTSA center Jacob Germany will be tested in a quick turnaround as the Roadrunners host the FAU Owls Saturday afternoon. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“The message here is, keep building,” Roadrunners coach Steve Henson said after Thursday night’s 73-66 victory over the FIU Panthers snapped a six-game losing streak.

UTSA’s zone defense held FIU to 26 percent shooting in the first half. After intermission, the offense started to percolate, with the Roadrunners hitting five 3-pointers.

Dhieu Deing hit three of those shots from long distance, a hopeful sign for an offense averaging a C-USA low 67 points.

In January, UTSA played most of the month without Deing and Jordan Ivy-Curry. With both back in the lineup, Jacob Germany was freed up to score 23 points, while Deing had 19 and Ivy-Curry 17.

Now it’s time to see if the team can generate the same level of performance after a quick turnaround.

A night game on Thursday, followed by a 1 p.m. tipoff on a Saturday, will test the Roadrunners’ conditioning and depth.

On Thursday night, Germany played 35 minutes, Ivy-Curry 34 and Deing 26.

Deing had been away from the team for a little more than three weeks, in limbo while weighing whether he wanted to re-join the team. Ivy-Curry had been out for two weeks in Covid protocols.

FAU will enter the game under challenging circumstances, as well. The Owls’ itinerary this week included a flight from their Florida home all the way to El Paso, where they played and lost 70-68 to UTEP Thursday night.

After traveling to San Antonio, the Owls hope to hit a few more shots against the Roadrunners than they did against the Miners.

Based on their track record, a breakout is possible. As one of the better offenses in the conference, FAU has averaged 74.8 points on 46 percent shooting.

The Owls have knocked down 180 three-point shots, led by guards Michael Forrest and Alijah Martin.


FAU 11-9, 4-3
UTSA 8-13, 1-7