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.

Records

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

Wild celebration follows Incarnate Word’s ninth-inning rally for a 9-6 victory over 24th-ranked UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Athletes were jumping up and down and cups of water were flying everywhere. Even a large water cooler went airborne at one point over a gaggle of ball players celebrating at home plate.

This is how the night’s activity ended after a Tuesday night battle between San Antonio’s two NCAA Division I baseball teams.

Paced by clutch hitting from Alec Carr and Rey Mendoza, the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals rallied from a two-run deficit with five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, coming from behind on their home field for an emotional 9-6 victory over the 24th-ranked UTSA Roadrunners.

With the victory, UIW improved to 6-2 over its last eight games and to 13-7 over its last 20 since falling 2-1 to UTSA at Roadrunner Field back on March 1.

In the ninth inning, the Cardinals took advantage of a couple of walks and another batter hit by a pitch to load the bases against UTSA reliever Daniel Shafer.

Up stepped Carr, who stroked a one-out, two-run single to tie the game. It looked like extra innings might be in store when Shafer retired Hernan Yanez on a ground ball for the second out.

But with two men remaining on the bases, Mendoza, a left-side hitting grad transfer from the University of Houston, knew what to do.

He fouled off a pitch and then yanked the next offering way over the wall in right field for a three-run homer, the game winner.

How did Mendoza feel about it all?

“Phenomenal,” he said. “I mean, it couldn’t happen without the guys right next to me in the dugout, you know. The pitchers, they pitched great all game, and we hung around. We were able to make something happen in the ninth inning. Good things happen when you keep it simple.”

Mendoza looked calm as he stepped into the plate for his at bat.

“We knew that against lefties, he was throwing a lot of sliders,” he said. “I got a slider first pitch, and I hooked a foul. Then I saw it out of his hand again, and I put a good swing on it.”

In the teams’ previous meeting, UTSA won the game with a double steal of home plate by Antonio Valdez. If that didn’t sting enough, UIW players watched as the Roadrunners rolled to victory after victory and finally into a national ranking for the first time this week.

UTSA was ranked in three polls on Monday, the most notable being Baseball America magazine’s No. 24.

“We knew,” Mendoza said. “We found out before the game. We were just like, ‘It’s another day. It’s just another day at the park. We’ve been doing this for a lot of months now. We just took it as another day at the park, did what we did and came out on top.”

Records

Incarnate Word 16-13
UTSA 23-7

Coming up

UIW, a three-game series in the Southland Conference at Nicholls State (La.), from Thursday through Saturday.

UTSA, a three-game series in Conference USA at Charlotte (N.C.), from Thursday through Saturday.

Grambling State rolls behind Gordon to a 75-55 victory over UTSA

The UTSA Roadrunners played with a certain edge in a recent three-game winning streak. In downing the St. Mary’s Rattlers, the Texas State Bobcats and the Prairie View A&M Panthers, they didn’t blow anyone off the court, but they also put together winning plays in key moments that allowed them to prevail.

Moreover, they found a potential go-to scorer in point guard Japhet Medor.

Coach Steve Henson. UTSA lost to Grambling State 75-55 in men's basketball on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson says: ‘We need other people to create a little bit more for us’ on the offensive end. – Photo by Joe Alexander

All that came to a disappointing halt on Friday night on the first day of the 210 San Antonio Classic. The visiting Grambling State University Tigers shut down Medor early in the game, successfully keeping him from doing much damage with his drives to the hoop en route to a 75-55 victory at the UTSA Convocation Center.

“They were switching a lot,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “I mean, first couple of possessions, he didn’t have any success. Then he did. He got in there and drew nine fouls. He found his way.”

Regardless, Medor couldn’t match his production from Tuesday, when he ripped Prairie View for 28 points, including 16 of 20 free throws. The jet-quick senior drew 14 fouls against the Panthers and hit six of 10 field goals. Against Grambling, he was limited to 12 points on four of eight from the line and four of six from the field.

“You know, we don’t have anything offensively that’s just automatic for us,” Henson said. “We’re counting on him to get a lot done. When shots are going in, sometimes it’s because of his penetration. We need other people to create a little bit more for us. Last couple of games, it’s become a pretty obvious area of need for us … to get other people making plays.

“That didn’t really happen all night.”

Grambling State, on the other hand, had plenty of people making plays. Forward Carte’are Gordon led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Cameron Christon hit three of five on 3-point shots and scored 13. Meanwhile, Shawndarius Cowart, Virshon Cotton and Quintin Murrell scored eight each.

Japhet Medor drives against . UTSA lost to Grambling State 75-55 in men's basketball on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor goes top shelf against Grambling State’s Cameron Christon. Medor had 12 points and seven rebounds against Grambling. – Photo by Joe Alexander

On the other end of the floor, the Tigers’ defense stifled a UTSA offense that had looked very good earlier in the week. Coming off 60 percent shooting in the second half against Prairie View, the Roadrunners couldn’t get anything going. Grambling held the Roadrunners to 25.9 percent in the first half and 29.6 percent shooting for the game.

The Tigers led by as many as 24 points in the before intermission and by 28 once in the second half. With 3:41 remaining, the visitors had the Roadrunners down 70-42 after Cowart hit a shot in the lane to cap a 14-5 run. Oddly, the eventual final score matched the score of UTSA’s last loss, which came at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Nov. 11.

It may well be that the Roadrunners could be a team that looks good against certain squads this season because of certain matchups. Then, not so good against others. For instance, they didn’t seem to have trouble with Prairie View. Conversely, against a team such as Grambling, with more overall size, athleticism and quickness, UTSA may find the going tougher.

“I don’t disagree with that,” Henson said. “But, we got to figure something out offensively. I mean, defensively, it wasn’t good enough. But offensively, it’s just too many hard shots. Too many turnovers. Our turnovers are not out of a selfish nature. Our guys are trying to do the right things.

“We got to keep searching a little bit and find a way to make easier plays. Stronger plays. Create separation off our screens. Off ball screens. On ball screens. And better slips. Tonight, they were switching. We knew we needed to slip a lot and we just didn’t get much of that done.”

Records

Grambling (3-2)
UTSA (4-2)

Jacob Germany. UTSA lost to Grambling State 75-55 in men's basketball on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA senior Jacob Germany produced eight points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. – Photo by Joe Alexander

First half

The Tigers bolted to a 24-point lead and held off the Roadrunners at the end to take a commanding 35-19 advantage into the intermission.

Playing stifling defense on one end and scoring with regularity on the other, the Tigers jumped out to take charge early at 7-0, 16-4 and then, with a little less than 11 minutes remaining, 21-4.

Erik Czumbel. UTSA lost to Grambling State 75-55 in men's basketball on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Erik Czumbel battles to save a possession against Grambling State. – Photo by Joe Alexander

They took their largest lead at 33-9 when Murrell hit a three with 4:23 left. The Roadrunners went on a 10-2 run to the buzzer.

Nine players scored for Grambling in the half, including Cotton with eight points and Christon with five. In the early going, the Tigers dominated, hitting nine of their first 17 shots, while limiting the Roadrunners at the outset to three of 19.

Incarnate Word wins, 69-64

Jonathan Cisse produced 22 points and seven rebounds to pace the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals past the Dartmouth Big Green, 69-64, on Friday afternoon at the UTSA Convocation Center.

In the opening game of the 210 San Antonio Shootout, UIW’s Davante Dennis added 17 points and seven boards, while Trey Miller scored 15.

Brandon Mitchell-Day had 14 points and six rebounds for Dartmouth.

With the victory, UIW improved its record to 3-3 on the season. Dartmouth dropped to 1-4.

The four-team event takes a break on Saturday before continuing with two games each on Sunday and Monday at UTSA.

Records

Grambling (3-2)
UTSA (4-2)

Sunday

Incarnate Word vs. Grambling, 5 p.m.
Dartmouth vs. UTSA, 7:30 p.m.

Monday

Grambling vs. Dartmouth, 3 p.m.
Incarnate Word vs. UTSA, 6:30 p.m.

Coach Karen Aston secures her first victory at UTSA

Karen Aston won her first game as coach of the UTSA Roadrunners Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center, and all she could talk about afterward was what the victory meant for her players.

“I don’t have any personal satisfaction,” she said. “This is about them.”

Building an eight-point lead at halftime and a 10-point spread after three quarters, UTSA held on down the stretch to knock off the UIW Cardinals, 66-60.

It’s been almost a calendar year since the UTSA women last won a game, so that was what was most meaningful to Aston, a former coach at Texas.

“It’s huge,” Aston said. “It’s huge for them. This is a business where you go to practice every day and … (you) try to do the right thing. You want them to get the rewards for that, and they don’t always come. So when you do get them, you want to celebrate.”

Freshman center Elyssa Coleman, a transfer from Texas who is coming off two knee surgeries, led the Roadrunners with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-3 post hit 6 of 10 shots from the field

Another transfer, LaPraisjah Johnson, added 14 points and hit several key free throws in the final few minutes. San Antonio’s Charlene Mass had 14 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.

The Roadrunners had not won a game since last Dec. 15, at home, against Northwestern State, La., and Mass, a junior from Veterans Memorial High School in the Judson school district, admitted that it feels good to end the drought.

“It’s just the epitome of what we want to do for this program,” she said. “We’re just going to continue to work hard, stay humble and grind.”

For the Cardinals, guard Destiny Jenkins put on a show with some long-range shooting. Jenkins knocked down five 3-point baskets, including a few of them off the glass, in scoring 21 points.

Records

UIW 1-3
UTSA 1-3

Coming up

Nov. 28 — at Minnesota

Gates-led HBU rallies to defeat Incarnate Word, 96-92


Houston Baptist University guard Jalon Gates said it felt good to win in San Antonio.

Guard Jalon Gates returned to the area where he played his high school basketball, and he put on a show for his family and friends.

The former Clemens standout scored 18 points — all in the second half — leading the Houston Baptist Huskies to a come-from-behind, 96-92 victory over the Incarnate Word Cardinals.

With about 20 people cheering him on in an HBU road game at the UIW McDermott Center, the son of “Hoop Dreams” Chicago playground legend Will Gates, Sr., hit 6 of 7 shots from the field and 5 of 7 free throws.

“I’ve actually struggled in the past playing here,” Jalon Gates said. “So to get a win here, to get us off to a winning streak, it’s a blessing.”

Records

Houston Baptist 6-13, 2-6
Incarnate Word 6-15, 1-7

Individuals

Houston Baptist — Braxton Bonds, 27 points on 12 of 15 shooting. Also, 4 assists and 2 steals. Jalon Gates, 18 points, all in the second half. Ty Dalton, 11 points and 7 rebounds. Stephen O’Suji 10 points, including 2 three-pointers.

Incarnate Word — Dwight Murray, Jr., 20 points, including 4 three-pointers. Jordan Caruso, 18 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds. Christian Peevy, 15 points, 5 rebounds. Augustine Ene, 15 points, with 3 three-pointers.

Fighting for respect

Both Houston Baptist and Incarnate Word entered the game with losing records and long dry spells. HBU had lost six straight. UIW had lost five in a row. As a result, both played with a passion, trying to break out of their respective funks. It was a hotly-contested game, with 15 ties and 20 lead changes.

Gaining momentum

After giving up a couple of easy buckets to start the second half, the Cardinals put together their best run, a 12-0 streak. Jordan Caruso’s jumper with 15:54 remaining capped it and lifted the Cardinals into a 57-48 lead, their largest of the game.

Getting a few stops

Clearly, offense ruled the night. UIW hit 30 of 53 from the floor (for 56.6 percent) and HBU connected on 37 of 66 (for 56.1). But the Huskies clamped down a little better in the second half, which started to turn the tide. In the meantime, the visitors kept shooting with a hot hand, knocking down 20 of 29 (for 69 percent) after intermission.


HBU guard Braxton Bonds snares a rebound and one-hands a pass to Jalon Gates, who dunks for a six-point Huskies lead with 11 seconds left.

Making plays in crunch time

With 2:24 remaining, UIW forward Christian Peevy hit a couple of free throws to tie the game, 88-88.

From there, Houston Baptist made most of the plays to win the game. Gates was big, scoring his team’s last eight points, including a break-away dunk with 11 seconds remaining that made it 95-89.

“We got a bunch of young bucks, and we got to do a better job of executing down the stretch,” UIW coach Carson Cunningham said. “I give Houston Baptist credit. They were able to make the plays late.”

Another bad break

For the third straight game, UIW played without guard Morgan Taylor. The freshman from Chicago has a broken hand, a spokesman said. Cunningham said he’s uncertain when the team’s leader in minutes played per game, and also its second leading scorer, can return.

.

Stephen F. Austin holds off Incarnate Word, 74-71


UIW guard Jordan Caruso brings the crowd to its feet with a slashing layup that tied the game with 44 seconds left.

Guard Kevon Harris produced 25 points and seven rebounds Saturday afternoon, and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks held off the Incarnate Word Cardinals, 74-71, in the Southland Conference.

In a game played before an announced 1,139 fans at UIW, the Cardinals erased an eight-point deficit and tied the defending SLC tournament champions in the last minute.

A driving layup by UIW freshman Jordan Caruso made it 71-71 with 44 seconds to play. But the Cardinals came up short at the end.

Despite one off its most inspired efforts of the season, UIW dropped its third straight and fell to 3-9 in its last 12 games.

“We fought hard and played with all our hearts for 40 minutes,” Cardinals forward Christian Peevy said. “We just hve to stay together and move forward.”

After UIW tied the game late, SFA responded with a possession in which Harris was fouled and hit both free throws for a two-point advantage.

UIW, on its next play, came down and watched as Augustine Ene misfired on an open look three-point shot from the right wing.

The rebound caromed out of bounds off SFA, giving UIW the ball out of bounds under its own basket.

After a timeout, Ene inbounded a pass intended for Charles Brown on the same right wing.

But SFA’s Davonte Fitzgerald lashed into the picture and got a hand on it, knocking it off Brown and out of bounds, giving the possession to the Lumberjacks.

Lumberjacks guard Shannon Bogues hit one of two free throws for the final point of the game with two seconds left.

UIW rushed it upcourt and got a shot off, a desperating three by Brown, but it was long and off to the side as time expired.

“We did some nice things and I was happy for the guys as far as their ability execute things and play together,” UIW coach Carson Cunningham said. “It’s just very difficult to win college basketball games.

“We’re just going to have to keep plugging and trying to break through.”

Records

Stephen F. Austin 9-8, 2-3
Incarnate Word 6-12 1-4

Second-half surge propels Central Arkansas past UIW, 77-60


Incarnate Word freshman Jordan Caruso hits a 10 footer off the baseline to complete a chaotic play in the first half against Central Arkansas.

Forward Eddy Kayouloud scored 18 points and 7-footer Hayden Koval had 13 points and 7 rebounds, lifting the Central Arkansas Bears to an easy 77-60 victory over the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals on Wednesday night.

In a Southland Conference game played at UIW, Central Arkansas point guard Deandre Jones also produced in a big way with 9 points, 8 assists and 4 steals.

While Kayouloud and Koval dominated on offense, hitting a combined 12 of 17 from the field, Jones spearheaded a defense that forced the Cardinals into 17 turnovers.

Central Arkansas scored 15 points off of UIW mistakes in winning their second SLC road game of the season.

“You got to give Central Arkansas a lot of credit,” UIW coach Carson Cunningham said. “They played really well. I thought they shared the ball quite nicely, moved it really well, and so we can learn a lot from them.

“We’re just going to have to keep working and not get too down. We’re just going to have to figure out a way … to become a more strategically sound basketball team.”

The Bears shot 55 percnt from the field and outscored the Cardinals 44-31 in the second half, turning a close game into a run-away. Late in the game, a short-handed UIW squad fell behind by 24 points.

“I just thought we finally wore ’em down,” Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell said. “We got the ball inside a couple of times. We did get a couple of fast break baskets. And then our defense was solid.”

Records

Central Arkansas 8-10, 3-2
Incarnate Word 6-11, 1-3

Individuals for UIW

Augustine Ene, 18 points and 6 rebounds. Jordan Caruso, 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Also, 5 rebounds.


Central Arkansas center Hayden Koval, a 7-foot sophomore, gets a hand in a shooter’s face, forces a miss and then grabs a rebound Wednesday night against UIW.

Notable

In a UIW season marred with several injuries, freshman point guard Morgan Taylor is the latest casualty.

Taylor suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday at Sam Houston State. He sat out his first game of the season against Cental Arkansas as the Cardinals lost their eighth game out of their last 11.

Sophomore forward Christian Peevy, meanwhile, still hasn’t regained the form that produced games of 26, 32, 23 and 16 points before he broke his left hand at LSU. Since his return, he has scored 4, 0, 0 and 4.

Quotable

“I think Coach Cunningham’s going to do a great job,” UCA coach Russ Pennell said. “I think he’s got a plan. I think he knows right now he’s a little undermanned. I think he knows what he needs to do, and now it’s just a matter of going out and making it happen.”

Added Pennell, “We talked a little bit about that. I was in a similar situation five years ago, and we’re still building. You got to show the recruits and the fans what you’re going to do and what you’re going to be like.”


UIW freshman Antoine Smith, Jr., muscles for position on the offensive glass, gets a rebound and puts it back in the first half against Central Arkansas.

UIW surges in second half, defeats Nicholls State, 65-58


Freshman forward Antoine Smith Jr. sizes up UIW’s first win of the season in Southland Conference play.

Trailing by 12 points early in the second half, the Incarnate Word Cardinals rallied at home Saturday night to beat Nicholls State, 65-58, for their first Southland Conference victory under new coach Carson Cunnningham.

Charles Brown III and Antoine Smith Jr. helped the short-handed Cardinals break a four-game losing streak with 17 points apiece.

In addition, Augustine Ene added 10, and Dwight Murray Jr. contributed 8 points and 7 assists with no turnovers.

Records

UIW 6-9, 1-1
Nicholls State 8-7, 1-1

Notable

Both Brown and Smith have started to come on for the Cardinals. In his last four games, Brown is averaging 18 points on 60 percent shooting from the field. Smith, a freshman from Westerville, Ohio, is averaging 13.3 points in his last three on 57 percent.

Quotable

“He’s a workhorse. He’s always in the gym. Even after tonight, he’ll be working on his game. That’s what I love about him. He pushes me at practice, and I push him. I’m glad to have him on my team.” — UIW senior Charles Brown III, on Antoine Smith, Jr.

McNeese State rolls past Incarnate Word, 88-77


McNeese State center Sha’Markus Kennedy stands his ground for an offensive rebound and a put back in the second half, much to the delight of teammate Roydell Brown (22).

Guard Roydell Brown scored 23 points Wednesday night, leading the McNeese State Cowboys to an 88-77 road victory over Incarnate Word in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.

Four players reached double figures for the Cowboys, including center Sha’Markus Kennedy with 20. Guards James Harvey had 18 and Trey Touchet 13 to help hand UIW its fourth straight loss.

Freshman Dwight Murray Jr. started and led the Cardinals with a season-high 18 points. Charles Brown III had 14 and Augustine Ene and Morgan Taylor 13 apiece.

UIW forward Christian Peevy, playing with a cast on his broken left hand, finished with four.

Peevy was making his return to the lineup after sitting out the Cardinals’ last two games with the injury.

He apparently hurt the hand in the second half at LSU on Dec. 9.

Records

McNeese 5-9, 1-0
Incarnate Word 5-9, 0-1

Notable

The story of the game centered on McNeese State’s offensive execution that led to 66.7 percent shooting. Kennedy hit 8 of 9 from the floor and Brown 8 of 12.

Quotable

“You got to give McNeese credit,” first-year UIW coach Carson Cunningham said. “They came in here and shot it really well, asserted themselves physically.

“We have a lot of work to do. It wasn’t a good enough effort. I got to do a better job coaching. We’re just going to have to get back to work.”

Keeping the faith

Two positives stood out for UIW on an otherwise tough night.

For one thing, the Cardinals trailed by 25 in the second half and ended up making a spirited charge in the final few minutes.

Also, Peevy showed considerable courage in trying to play with his hand in a cast.

“He’s tough,” Murray said. “When he’s hurt in practice, he doesn’t stop playing. He never stops pushing. That’s what we love about him.”


UIW freshman Dwight Murray, Jr., gets a steal and races downcourt to hit a pull-up jumper in the first half.

Freshmen on the rise

If there is a silver lining in the team’s start this season, it’s that a series of performances from freshmen — Morgan Taylor, Antoine Smith Jr., and now Murray — continue to point to a brighter future.

Murray, from Austell, Georgia, enjoyed his best game with 6 of 12 shooting, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc.

“Yeah, yeah, there’s definitely positives,” Cunningham said. “But the bottom line is, tonight, we didn’t do a good enough job, and I need to do a better job.”

Ailing with injuries

UIW played without Bryce Davis, Des Balentine, Romello Wilbert and Keaton Hervey against McNeese.

Davis, a 6-7 freshman from Glendale, Arizona, is the latest casualty. He wore a walking boot on his left foot. Davis has played in 13 games, averaging 2.8 points in 9.5 minutes.

Second-half recap

The Cowboys, with Touchet and Harvey connecting regularly from long distance, outscored the Cardinals 29-10 in a key 10-minute stretch early in the second half.

Harvey hit two three-pointers near the end of the streak, which boosted McNeese into a 72-47 lead with 11:25 remaining.

First half

The Cowboys scored 19 out of 21 points in a seven-minute barrage early in the game and then held on for a 41-33 halftime lead.

With McNeese shooting 65 percent in the half, Brown led the way with 16 points.

Murray scored seven to lead the Cardinals, who rallied with an 8-0 run in the last 1:47.

Ene sparked UIW’s last field goal (see video below) with a defensive strip under McNeese’s basket, which led to a fast break and a three-pointer by Murray.

Trailing 6-0 early, the Cowboys went on a 19-2 run with Brown scoring eight points during the streak.


On the final scoring play of the first half, UIW sophomore Augustine Ene strips the ball away from a McNeese State post player, dribbles out and finds Dwight Murray, Jr., for a three-pointer.

Peevy is on the court, warming up for Incarnate Word

Incarnate Word forward Christian Peevy is in uniform and warming up Wednesdday night as the Cardinals prepare to host the host the McNeese State Cowboys in the Southland Conference opener for both teams.

Incarnate Word beat Trinity 82-57 on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, at the UIW McDermott Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Christian Peevy leads Incarnate Word in scoring with 14 points per game.

Peevy, UIW’s leading scorer, has been out for two games with an injured hand. He is turning for the McNeese game with a cast on his left (non-shooting) hand. Peevy is averaging 14 points per game.

The game matches first-year coaches at both schools, Carson Cunningham for UIW (5-8) and Heath Schroyer for McNeese (4-9).

In its sixth year in the conference, UIW is looking for its first trip to the SLC tournament.

The Cardinals were ineligible in the first four years of membership as they completed a transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.

Last year, in their first year of elibility, they didn’t make it, finishing 7-21 overall and 2-16.

The Cowboys, from Lake Charles, Louisiana, haven’t been to the tournament since 2016.

Notable

UIW will be without Bryce Davis, Des Balentine, Romello Wilbert and Keaton Hervey against McNeese.

Davis, a 6-7 freshman, is in a walking boot on his left foot. He has played in all 13 games, averaging 2.8 points in 9.5 minutes.