Darling, Delaware turn back winless UTSA, 91-79

Guard Nate Darling poured in 38 points Sunday as the Delaware Blue Hens posted a 91-79 victory over the winless UTSA Roadrunners.

Competing in the finale of the Sunshine Slam at Kissimmee, Fla., the Roadrunners (0-4) played better on the offensive end than they had in three previous losses.

But they couldn’t stop Darling or Kevin Anderson, a pair of 6-foot-5 juniors, and lost for the third time in three days.

Anderson scored 31 for the Blue Hens (4-0).

As a team, Delaware shot 59.2 percent from the field and 56.5 percent from three (on 13 of 23) in winning for the third time in three days in Kissimmee.

Jhivvan Jackson scored 31 and Keaton Wallace had 19 for UTSA. Knox Hellums added 10 off the bench.

The Roadrunners shot 50.9 percent afield and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc (12 of 27).

UTSA entered the game averaging 63 points and shooting 32.8 percent.

Records

Delaware 4-0
UTSA 0-4

Coming up

UTSA will play at Utah State on Nov. 18.

First half highlights

The Roadrunners had trouble stopping Delaware from scoring in the first half and fell behind 47-37 at intermission.

Darling led the Blue Hens with 18 points

UTSA made a game of it in the final few minutes, rallying on an 11-2 run against the Blue Hens to cut the deficit to 10.

Freshman center Jacob Germany sparked the scoring spree with a dunk off a feed from Jhivvan Jackson.

Jackson hit a three for the final points of the half with 25 seconds left.

Oakland defense takes charge in 75-62 victory over UTSA

Kevin Kangu scored 20 points, and the Oakland (Mich.) Golden Grizzlies’ defense took over in the second half, sparking a 75-62 victory Saturday over the winless UTSA Roadrunners on Day Two of the Sunshine Slam at Kissimmee, Fla.

The Grizzlies’ defense clamped down on the Roadrunners early in the second half in an 18-1 run highlighted on the offensive end by Xavier Hill-Mais, who scored 11 of his 19 points in an eight-minute stretch.

Jhivvan Jackson led UTSA with 21 points. The Roadrunners led 36-33 at halftime. UTSA closes the tournament on Sunday against Delaware.

Records

Oakland 2-1
UTSA 0-3

Southern Illinois holds off UTSA, 72-60

Starting fast to build an early 20-point lead, the Southern Illinois Salukis held off the UTSA Roadrunners 72-60 Friday night at the Sunshine Slam in Kissimmee, Fla.

With the victory, Southern Illinois improved to 2-0 on the season. UTSA fell to 0-2.

The Salukis surged to leads of 11-0 and 33-13 in the first half against the Roadrunners.

Southern Illinois continued to convert in the second half when Marcus Domask sank a layup to make it 45-27.

From there, the Roadrunners started to click. Lucas Barisic hit a three, igniting UTSA on a 15-0 run.

A steal and a layup by Byron Frohnen pulled the Roadrunners within 45-42 with 12:15 remaining.

UTSA also had it down to three seven minutes later when Barisic hit another three to make it 52-49.

But the Roadrunners’ offense sputtered again, and Domask, a 6-6 freshman, scored eight points in the final five minutes to put the game away.

Records

Southern Illinois 2-0
UTSA 0-2

Leaders

Domask, in his first game against a Division I opponent, finished with 24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for the Salukis. Aaron Cook had 19 points and Barret Benson 17.

For UTSA, Jhivvan Jackson led with 32 points, while Keaton Wallace scored 11. Barisic finished with nine.

First half summary

Southern Illinois moved out a 39-25 lead on the Roadrunners at halftime.

Freshman guard Marcus Domask has done most of the damage, leading the Salukis with 12 points.

Guard Jhivvan Jackson has scored 18 for the Roadrunners, who were down by as many as 20 in the opening period.

The Roadrunners will take on Oakland, Mich., on Saturday before closing out the event against Delaware on Sunday.

UTSA opened the season on the road at Oklahoma on Tuesday night. After playing the Sooners to a halftime tie, they got blown out 85-67.

UTSA basketball to show off ‘depth across the board’

Steve Henson will lead his team into an exhibition game tonight at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson – File photo by Joe Alexander

Tonight, the popcorn will pop and the soft drinks will flow, and the UTSA Roadrunners will offer their fans the usual fare of concession food and drink in the foyer of the Convocation Center.

But unlike so many other exhibition openers in the nearly 40-year history of men’s basketball at the school, they’ll have more to offer than free admission, plus chips and sticky nachos.

This year, the Roadrunners also will unveil a team that might actually have the talent to be considered as an NCAA tournament contender.

As UTSA prepares for a 7 p.m. tipoff against Texas A&M International, fourth-year coach Steve Henson says it’s the best team he’s had on the Loop 1604 campus.

“It’s the most talented team since I’ve been here,” he said. “Biggest front line since I’ve been here, (with the) most three-point shooters.”

When Henson arrived at UTSA a little more than three years ago, the talent was not good.

The Roadrunners were coming off four straight losing records, including an abysmal 5-27 in 2015-16.

Since then, UTSA has completely revamped the program, posting a combined 37 wins in the past two years.

The back-to-back winning records of 20-15 two years ago, and 17-15 last year, are a first since 2010-11 and ’11-12, the program’s last two teams in the Southland Conference.

Last year, the Roadrunners challenged for the Conference USA regular-season title until the last few weeks behind the dynamic tandem of guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.

Ultimately, they finished tied for second at 11-7 and earned a bye to the C-USA tournament quarterfinals in Frisco, where their road came to an end with a loss to the UAB Blazers.

In the season finale, the Roadrunners fell hard, giving up 50 points to the Blazers in the second half.

Leading by seven at intermission with senior power forward Nick Allen playing on a broken toe, they lost 85-76.

“People don’t give (senior) Giovanni (De Nicolao) and Nick enough credit for what they did defensively,” Henson said. “Those were the guys who, when things got tough, they would rally the troops … They were the talk the talk guys, and then walk the talk, and all that.

“I mean, they backed it up, and they were all about team, team, team.”

Henson will lean on Jackson and Wallace to assume the leadership responsibilities this year, in the program’s 39th season.

“We’ve got a pretty introverted team, a quiet team,” the coach said. “But those guys have provided the type of leadership that we need right now. (I’m) very pleased with that.”

UTSA at a glance

Program debut: UTSA started playing men’s basketball in 1981-82. NCAA tournament appearances: 1988, 1999, 2004, 2011. Last season: 17-15, 11-7 in Conference USA; lost in C-USA tournament quarterfinals.

Coach Steve Henson

Taking over a team that won only five games in 2015-16, Henson has coached UTSA to records of 14-19, 20-15 and 17-15. He’s finished 11-7 in conference each of the past two seasons.

Returning starters

G Jhivvan Jackson (22.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Keaton Wallace (20.2, 5.0), F Byron Frohnen (6.4, 6.8)

Newcomers to watch

C Jacob Germany, F Luka Barisic, G Knox Hellums, F Phoenix Ford, G Erik Czumbel, G Makani Whiteside

Notable

After the loss of three-year starter Giovanni De Nicolao, point guard duties are expected to be shared by Wallace, Jackson, Czumbel and Whiteside.

Quotable

“I think what really jumps out is just the competitiveness in practice,” Henson said. “It’s just a deeper (team), certainly bigger and stronger. Way more depth than we’ve ever had along the front line. It’s just very noticeable. You walk in and you see bigger and stronger guys … It creates a little more physicality in the paint. We’ve got good depth across the board. So when we go head to head, the games are pretty competitive.”

Jhivvan Jackson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson

Jackson, Wallace named to all-Conference USA squads

UTSA sophomores Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace both have been named to all-Conference USA teams, with Jackson taking home first-team honors.

Wallace was listed as a second-team selection.

Old Dominion swept the top honors with guard guard B.J. Stith getting player of the year and Jeff Jones coach of the year.

The C-USA tournament opens Wednesday in Frisco.

For the first time in six years in the conference, UTSA has earned a first-round tournament bye, and, as a No. 4 seed, will open play Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against either UAB or Middle Tennessee.

All-Conference USA basketball
First team
Jon Elmore, Marshall, Sr., G, 6-3, 185, Charleston, West Virginia
Ahmad Caver, Old Dominion, Sr., G, 6-2, 170, Atlanta, Georgia
B.J. Stith, Old Dominion, Sr., G, 6-5, 215, Lawrenceville, Virginia
Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA, So., G, 6-0, 160, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

Second team
Jon Davis, Charlotte, Sr., G, 6-2, 200, Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Brian Beard Sr., FIU, Jr., G, 5-10, 180, Rancho Cucamonga, California
Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss, Sr., G, 6-2, 180, Kissimmee, Florida
Tyree Griffin, Southern Miss, R-Sr., G, 5-10, 175, New Orleans, Louisiana
Keaton Wallace, UTSA, So., G, 6-3, 175, Richardson, Texas

Third team
Anthony Adger, Florida Atlantic, Sr., G, 6-1, 170, Anderson, South Carolina
C.J. Burks, Marshall, Jr., G, 6-4, 195, Martinsburg, West Virginia
Antonio Green, Middle Tennessee, R-Jr., G, 6-2, 190, Tupelo, Mississippi
Ryan Woolridge, North Texas, Jr., G, 6-3, 175, Mansfield, Texas
Zack Bryant, UAB, So., G, 6-2, 183, Hastings, Florida
Taveion Hollingsworth, WKU, So., G, 6-2, 165, Lexington, Kentucky

All-freshman team
Taevion Kinsey, Marshall, Fr., G, 6-5, 177, Columbus, Ohio
Umoja Gibson, North Texas, R-Fr., G, 6-1, 160, Waco, Texas
Chris Mullins, Rice, Fr., G, 6-3, 170, Grand Prairie, Texas
Efe Odigie, UTEP, Fr., F, 6-9, 280, Houston, Texas
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

All-defensive team
Brian Beard Sr., FIU, Jr., G, 5-10, 180, Rancho Cucamonga, California Osasumwen Osaghae, FIU, Jr., F, 6-7, 250, Miami, Florida
Xavier Green, Old Dominion, So., G, 6-6, 200, Williamsburg, Virginia
Cortez Edwards, Southern Miss, Sr., G, 6-2, 180, Kissimmee, Florida
Charles Bassey, WKU, Fr., C, 6-11, 245, Lagos, Nigeria

UTSA edges Western Kentucky, 81-76, in overtime

Jhivvan Jackson scored nine of his game-high 29 points in overtime Wednesday night, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners past Western Kentucky 81-76.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA came back from 18 points down to beat Old Dominion 74-73 Saturday at the UTSA Convocation Center.

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson (File photo by Joe Alexander)

In the game played at Bowling Green, Kentucky, UTSA survived amidst 12 ties and nine lead changes, taking over second place in Conference USA and clinching a bye in next week’s conference tournament.

For the Roadrunners, Giovanni De Nicolao scored a surprising 17 on 7 of 10 shooting, while Keaton Wallace added 13.

Jackson, the leading scorer in Conference USA, hit 8 of 22 from the field and 4 of 10 from three.

Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-11 center who played two seasons at St. Anthony in San Antonio, led the Hilltoppers with 21 points. He also added 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

UTSA will close out C-USA regular-season competition Saturday on the road against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

The C-USA will hold its tournament March 13-16 in Frisco.

Conference USA
Group 1 standings

Old Dominion 13-4, 23-7
UTSA 11-6, 17-13
Western Kentucky 11-7, 18-13
Southern Miss 10-7, 18-11
UAB 9-8, 17-13

Wednesday’s scores

UTSA 81, Western Kentucky 76, overtime
Southern Miss 59, Old Dominion 52

Notable

UTSA played shorthanded in the post against Western Kentucky. Starting forward Nick Allen, who has an injured toe on his right foot, didn’t play. In addition, Atem Bior fouled out and Adrian Rodriguez went to the bench in the second half with a bloody nose.

Quotable

‘The theme of the game was toughness. I thought our guys fought like crazy. I looked over and we’ve got guys jamming blood-sticks up their nose. (Trainer) Josh (Modica) was working on Adrian (Rodriguez), and Jhivvan needed some tape on his shoulder and Gio was cleaning his own bloody knee. We fought like crazy. I can’t say enough about those guys.’ – UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

Notable

With 20 seconds left in regulation, Jackson hit a long three to put UTSA up by one. Western Kentucky’s Lamonte Bearden had a chance to win it but missed the first of two free throws with six seconds left. Jackson, a 6-foot sophomore, scored nine of UTSA’s 13 points in overtime.

Quotable

‘We just got to give credit to Gio (De Nicolao) in the first half and our bigs. Our bigs played great (against Charles) Bassey. He’s tough to defend. We tried to limit the passes inside, just by really bothering the passes. We did that, and down t he stretch, we just got some stops.’ — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson.

. .

UTSA wins home finale, boosts hopes for C-USA tourney bye

So many emotions were flowing on Sunday morning within the UTSA Roadrunners basketball program.

It was Senior Day, with veterans Nick Allen and Giovanni De Nicolao both set to play perhaps their last game at home.

On top of all that, the Roadrunners were hosting the dangerous UAB Blazers, with both teams bidding for a top-four finish in the regular season and a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament.

Adding even more drama, both Allen and Jhivvan Jackson were less than 100 percent physically. Through it all, the Roadrunners emerged with a 76-70 victory in front of 1,259 fans.

“I thought we fought really, really hard,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Our defense was terrific … In the second half, (the Blazers) did knock down some three pointers. But overall our defense was great, our fight was great.

Steve Henson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners won their home finale Sunday, improving to 16-13 on the season and 10-6 in Conference USA. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“Nick got hurt in practice yesterday and really couldn’t put his shoe on this morning.

“(He) fought like crazy and made some big plays down the stretch (with) offensive rebounds. (He’s) one of the physically toughest players I’ve ever been around. I’m so proud of him.”

Henson was equally impressed with Jackson, the leading scorer in Conference USA, who couldn’t practice the last few days with a left shoulder that he injured in Thursday night’s loss to Old Dominion.

The loss to ODU left UTSA looking at the possibility of an 0-2 record to open C-USA bonus play in the five-team Group 1, with two games yet to play on the road to complete the regular season.

After the season, Group 1 teams will be seeded into the C-USA postseason tournament, with the top four earning first-round byes. Now, after Jackson scored 27 points and Keaton Wallace added 22, the Roadrunners put themselves in good position to earn a bye.

It’s especially important for UTSA, a team that plays with a seven- or eight-man rotation.

“(A bye) is big for anybody,” Henson said. “You win the tournament and you go to the Big Dance (the NCAA Tournament). It’s a much bigger chore if you have to win four days in a row, rather than three. Any of those top four seeds have a big advantage by not having to play that first day.”

C-USA Standings
Group 1

x-Old Dominion 13-3, 23-6
Western Kentucky 11-6, 18-12
UTSA 10-6, 16-13
Southern Miss 9-7, 17-11
UAB 9-8, 17-13

x-clinched regular-season title and top seed in the tournament

Senior Day

Before the game, UTSA honored seniors Allen and Toby Van Ry. They also honored juniors De Nicolao and Mitar Stanocevic, who are graduating early. De Nicolao said afterward that it likely would be his last regular-season game at home for UTSA. He indicated he likely would play professionally next season in his native Italy. UTSA also celebrated the contributions of student manager Danny Soto.

Individuals

UAB — Lewis Sullivan 18 points and 9 rebounds. Zack Bryant, 15 points and 4 assists. Makhtar Gueye, 11 points and 8 rebounds. Jalen Perry, 11 points off the bench.

UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 27 points on 9 of 20 shooting. Also, 7 rebounds. Keaton Wallace 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists. Giovanni De Nicolao, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.

Key stat

The Roadrunners took charge of the game early, holding UAB to 35 percent shooting in the first half. They also cashed in on the other end, hitting 53.6 percent, including 6 of 12 from three.

Coming up

UTSA finishes the regular season with road games Wednesday at Western Kentucky and Saturday at Southern Miss.

Notable

UTSA is shooting for its first NCAA tournament berth since 2011. The only way to get there is to win the C-USA tournament, which is scheduled March 13-16 in Frisco.

If the Roadrunners come up short of the Big Dance, Henson said a possibility exists that they could play in the postseason in one of the other events — the NIT, the CBI or the CIT.

Jackson and Wallace buried three-point baskets in the last minute of the first half as UTSA assumed a 36-26 intermission lead against the UAB Blazers.

At a pivotal moment in the season, the Roadrunners came out with energy and took control of the game almost immediately.

They shot 53.6 percent in the first half, with Jackson and Wallace combining for 23 points.

UTSA’s Jackson works to get healthy for the UAB Blazers

UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson spent most of Friday afternoon’s workout either going through skill drills and shooting, or toiling with strengthening exercises to rehabilitate a sore left shoulder.

Jhivvan Jackson. Old Dominion beat UTSA 65-64 on Thursday night in a Conference USA game at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson drives to the bucket against Old Dominion. – Photo by Joe Alexander

When the Roadrunners competed in sets involving scrimmaging and contact, Jackson did not participate.

It’s not a particularly good sign for the Roadrunners, who nevertheless are keeping a good thought that the right-handed Jackson can play against the UAB Blazers Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Asked about the status of Conference USA’s leading scorer for the UAB game, UTSA coach Steve Henson said he didn’t know for sure.

“You know, when we left last night, we felt pretty good about it. He woke up pretty sore today. Then we were concerned about it. But he did get some good treatment with (trainer) Josh (Modica),” the coach said.

Jackson hurt the shoulder mid-way through the second half of a Thursday night loss to Old Dominion.

After coming out of the game for a few minutes to stretch it out, he re-entered and played most of the last 10 minutes.

On Friday afternoon, Modica worked with Jackson off to the side for much of the 90-minute drill.

“Josh does a terrific job,” Henson said. “Twenty four hours from now, (Jhivvan)’ll feel a lot better and then Sunday at 2, he’ll feel close to normal. I liked the way he walked out of here today, so that was good.”

Forward Nick Allen isn’t worried about the matter.

“He’s good,” Allen said. “He’s just resting up that little shoulder. I think he bumped it or something last nght. He’s good to go. He’s ready. He’s always ready.”

Notable

Because the UAB game is the last one on UTSA’s home schedule this spring, the Roadrunners will honor seniors Allen and Toby Van Ry and both juniors Giovanni De Nicolao and Mitar Stanocevic, who are both graduating.

Even though Old Dominion has clinched the regular-season title, UTSA needs a victory to bolster its chances of gaining a first-round bye in the C-USA tournament.

UAB (17-12, 9-7) defeated UTSA (15-13, 9-6) on Jan. 19 in Birmingham.

The Blazers won by a score of 83-73 with a balanced attack that featured 53 percent shooting from the field and six players in double figures.

After playing the Blazers, the Roadrunners will take on Western Kentucky and Southern Miss on the road to complete the regular season.

C-USA Standings
Group 1

Old Dominion 23-6, 13-3
Western Kentucky 17-12, 10-6
Southern Miss 17-10, 9-6
UTSA 15-13, 9-6
UAB 17-12, 9-7

UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson: We’re trying to finish first

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA came back from 18 points down to beat Old Dominion 74-73 Saturday at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Jhivvan Jackson (right) leads Conference USA in scoring, averaging 22.8 points per game. Teammate Keaton Wallace is third at 21.2. – Photo by Joe Alexander

At last, bonus play in Conference USA starts tonight for the UTSA Roadrunners, as they prepare to host the Old Dominion Monarchs.

Tip off is at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat Florida International 100-67 on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keaton Wallace leads the conference with 109 three-point baskets. – Photo by Joe Alexander.

After an unusually long stretch of 11 days off, UTSA scoring whiz Jhivvan Jackson said he thinks the Roadrunners (15-12, 9-5) are ready to play the Monarchs (22-6, 12-3) and embark on a four-game stretch to complete the regular season.

“We going to be sharp because coach has had us running, going up and down a lot in practice,” Jackson said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re just going to come out and play the same way we been playing, you know. Just get more stops and execute better on offense.”

Old Dominion, Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, UTSA and UAB were first through fifth, respectively, after the first 14 games of the regular season.

As such, they qualified for Group 1 of the bonus play format, which is designed to boost the conference’s postseason profile.

The five teams are playing each other in a battle for the regular-season title.

Also, the top four in Group 1 after bonus play qualify for a bye in the first round of the C-USA postseason tournament.

After last weekend’s opening round, ODU holds a commanding lead in the standings, followed by UTSA and then Western Kentucky, Old Dominion and UAB, with the last three deadlocked at 9-6.

“The season’s not done,” Jackson said. “You know, we’re not finished. We’re trying to get first, you know, and (to do) that we just got to win all four games.”

UTSA hosts UAB on Sunday before embarking on a road swing to Western Kentucky and Southern Miss to close out the regular season.

The UTSA-Old Dominion game has been discussed at length since the conference sorted out the Group 1 schedule on Feb. 13.

It’s a rematch of a Jan. 26 game in which UTSA executed a miracle comeback at the end to beat ODU, 74-73.

In the first game, the Roadrunners erased an 18-point deficit in the final 4:43 to win by one.

They hit seven three-pointers in a 25-6 run to the victory.

Keaton Wallace nailed the go-ahead shot on a three from the corner — while falling out of bounds — with 15 seconds left.

Old Dominion missed three shots on the final possession.

“Incredible comeback,” Jackson said. “It started off by us being together, by staying together. Staying positive.

“You know, we made that run by just getting stops. That’s what we’re emphasizing for the game (tonight.) Just getting stops, and the offense will come.”

The game features four players who are likely in contention for the C-USA’s Player of the Year award.

Guard B.J. Stith and Ahmad Caver lead the Monarchs. Jackson and Wallace have paced the Roadrunners to four victories in which they have overcome double-digit deficits.

UTSA defeats FAU for its 10th straight win at home

Everyone, it seems, wants to know the real nickname for the UTSA tandem of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.

Roadrunners coach Steve Henson admits he doesn’t know.

“I don’t,” he said. “I’ve been calling them the Dallas Duo. Other people have been calling them the Dynamic Duo. Somebody’s got to come up with something pretty good for ’em. They’ve been doing some special things.”

If they continue to play at their current level for the next three weeks, the issue may resolve itself by default.

By the first week of March, the nickname could become something mundane. Something like, say, “Conference USA champions.”

Jackson and Wallace scored 24 points each Saturday, pacing UTSA to an 86-74 victory over the Florida Atlantic University Owls.

The win was the 10th straight at home for the Roadrunners, who remained a half game back of first-place Old Dominion.

Records

Florida Atlantic 14-11, 5-7
UTSA 15-10, 9-3

C-USA leaders

Old Dominion 10-3, UTSA 9-3, North Texas 8-4, Western Kentucky 8-4, Southern Miss 7-5, UAB 6-6, Marshall 6-6. (The top five in the standings after next weekend qualify for the the top tier of the conference’s four-game bonus round.)

Title chase rundown

In other games involving the conference’s leaders, Old Dominion won on the road at Middle Tennessee, 55-50, to maintain a half game lead on UTSA. Western Kentucky claimed a 62-59 victory over North Texas in Denton.

Individuals

Florida Atlantic — Kevaughn Ellis 14 points, 4 of 6 on three-pointers. Anthony Adger 12 points, 11 rebounds. Michael Forrest 13 points, 4 assists.

UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson 24 points, 6 of 12 on three-pointers. Also, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. Keaton Wallace 24 points on 5 of 13 from three. Also, 8 rebounds, 2 assists. Giovanni De Nicolao 10 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds. Off the bench, Atem Bior 9 points, 3 rebounds.

Second-half surge

With the game tied 53-53 early in the second half, UTSA reeled off 16 straight points to take control.

The UTSA defense sparked the spree by forcing FAU into seven straight missed shots and four turnovers.

De Nicolao ignited it offensively with a three-pointer. Nick Allen finished it with a driving layup to make it 69-53 with 9:21 remaining.

UTSA battled with Florida Atlantic throughout a physical first half and emerged with a seven-point halftime lead. Jackson scored 16 and Wallace 14 for the Roadrunners.

UTSA fans booed the visiting team and the referees on a few controversial plays before halftime.

On one, as seen below, Jackson drove into traffic, drew contact and fell to the floor but did not get a call.

Later, Wallace drove and got nailed, landing hard on his back and elbow. Wallace was awarded free throws, but FAU was not charged with a flagrant foul.

Notable

Jackson boosted his season average to 22.7 points per game. Wallace is averaging 21.0. They rank Nos. 1 and 3 on the updated C-USA scoring chart … Wallace’s five three-pointers gave him 101 for the season, a UTSA record … Forward Nick Allen received six stitches to repair a cut above his nose at halftime. He returned to the court with 15:56 left in the game and played most of the rest of the second half.