UTSA rallies from 10 down in the second half to beat Lamar, 86-83

Guard Isaiah Wyatt scored a career-high 27 points as the UTSA Roadrunners improved to 3-1 in their last four games. The 6-foot-4 Wyatt transferred into UTSA in the offseason after playing last year at Division II Chadron State (Neb.) – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Seven-foot center Carlton Linguard Jr. hit two three-pointers in the final two minutes Thursday night as the UTSA Roadrunners came out of a second-half offensive lull just in time, rallying past the Lamar Cardinals, 86-83, at the Convocation Center.

“We played together collectively to get this win,” said Isaiah Wyatt, who led the Roadrunners with a career-high of 27 points. “The biggest thing is, when we went through the drought, we played defense. We got a bunch of stops and Carl hit some big threes at the end. Also Dre (Fuller was) grabbing rebounds, giving us second chances. That helped us.”

In a back-and-forth affair, UTSA surged to a 12-point lead in the first half, only to see Lamar go on a run and lead by as many as 10 in the second half.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA beat Lamar 86-83 in non-conference men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Carlton Linguard Jr. finished with 16 points, made a season-high four three-pointers and blocked four shots. – Photo by Joe Alexander

A 3-pointer by Cody Pennebaker lifted the Cardinals into a 67-57 advantage with 7:29 remaining. A few minutes later, Ja’Sean Jackson from San Antonio’s Wagner High School nailed a long trey to keep the Cardinals in front by eight.

In the end, UTSA didn’t fold. Adante’ Holiman answered Jackson’s shot with a three of his own. Linguard, playing his first season of basketball since 2021-22 at Kansas State, nailed two long balls in a decisive 12-0 run. The second one with 35.4 seconds remaining lifted the Roadrunners into an 81-77 lead.

The Roadrunners, who have won three of their last four games, never trailed again. “I felt like the whole team had a chip on our shoulder,” Linguard said, recalling UTSA’s 90-82 loss to Lamar in Beaumont on Nov. 14. “Second half, we kept pushing. We kept fighting.”

UTSA coach Steve Henson credited his players for maintaining their effort to the end. “We just hung in there and hung in there and made enough plays to pull it out,” he said.

Wyatt was on fire early. He hit six of his seven three-point baskets in the first half and scored 21 as UTSA built a 44-38 intermission lead. Linguard finished with 16 points and four blocked shots. In an impressive show by the big man, he hit four of six from three.

Christian Tucker finished with 13 points and 11 assists.


Lamar 4-4
UTSA 4-4

Coming up

Arkansas-Fort Smith at UTSA, Dec. 10, at noon.

Christian Tucker. UTSA beat Lamar 86-83 in non-conference men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Junior point guard Christian Tucker scored nine points in the second half. He finished with 13 points and a career-high 11 assists for the first double double of his career. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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

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

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

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Coming up

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

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


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

Lamar rides a big rebounding effort to surprise UTSA, 90-82

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

After a couple of dismal seasons, the Lamar Cardinals of the Southland Conference took a large step toward respectability Tuesday night in Beaumont, winning the rebounding battle decisively and hitting 10 of 11 free throws down the stretch to stun the UTSA Roadrunners, 90-82.

Two years ago, in Alvin Brooks’ first season as coach at Lamar, the Cardinals finished 2-27. Last year, they made some improvements but still closed with a 9-22 record. Now, they’re 2-1 after beating the Roadrunners of the American Athletic Conference, who fell to 1-2 on the season and to 0-2 on the road.

The game was won — and lost — on the glass. The Cardinals held the edge on the boards overall, 57-45, but most noticeably on the offensive end, where they dominated, 25-12. “Their offensive rebounding was just, ridiculous,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told broadcaster Andy Everett on KTKR radio.

“They got ’em in the paint. They got the long rebounds. That was the ballgame right there,” the coach said.

Lamar forward Terry Anderson and center Adam Hamilton did the most damage. As the clock ticked down below 2:30 in the second half, Anderson made a couple of big plays and scored six quick points during a decisive 12-5 run to the final buzzer.

He finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Hamilton had 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. His offensive rebounding hurt the Roadrunners, as well, as he crashed for six of them. Time and again, it seemed the two of them would beat UTSA players to caroms to extend possessions.

“We defended them well enough,” Henson said. “Their shooting percentage wasn’t good. They just got so many extra shots. We took care of the ball. We were very concerned with their pressure. They (played) pretty frantic. We handled that, for the most part … but the rebounding, that was the ball game.”

Adante’ Holiman, who came out of the game briefly at the end after he was shaken up, re-entered and finished the night as UTSA’s leading scorer with 22 points. He hit seven of 16 shots from the field, including four of 11 from three-point range. Trey Edmonds had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while seven foot Carlton Linguard Jr. contributed 10 points and seven boards.

Off the bench, PJ Carter energized the team with 12 points and Isaiah Wyatt had 11. Combined, they hit seven of 14 from the field. But in the end, the Roadrunners allowed the Cardinals to have too many possessions, and as for their own offense, they just seemed to have too many hiccups at inopportune times.


Lamar 2-1
UTSA 1-2

Coming up

UTSA at Texas State, Friday, 7 p.m.


UTSA opened the season at home, winning 78-68 in overtime against Western Illinois. In their second game, the Roadrunners journeyed into the Big Ten neighborhood of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and lost 102-76. After losing at Lamar, UTSA is averaging 78.7 per game on offense but is giving up 86.7. Opponents are outrebounding them, 156-124. It’s a small sample size of games, but as it stands, points allowed and rebounding numbers are alarming.

Adante’ Holiman has played well offensively in the past two, scoring 36 points and knocking down eight of 17 from three-point territory. Dre Fuller Jr. scored a career-high 16 at Minnesota but suffered a tough night against Lamar — held scoreless, on zero-for-seven shooting from the floor.

For Lamar, a former San Antonio-area standout enjoyed a solid game as junior transfer Ja’Sean Jackson had 12 points and five assists. Jackson, a transfer from Abilene Christian who played in high school at Wagner, hit a buzzer-beating shot off the glass from halfcourt at halftime.

Looking for road victory No. 1, UTSA plays at Lamar tonight

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

Seven-foot Carlton Linguard Jr. (middle) will lead the UTSA Roadrunners into Beaumont tonight to play the Lamar Cardinals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

After a humbling experience in Big Ten country, the UTSA Roadrunners return to the state of Texas for a road game tonight against the Lamar Cardinals of the Southland Conference. Here’s a breakdown:

UTSA at Lamar

At a glance: The Roadrunners (1-1) and the Cardinals (1-1) will play Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Beaumont at Neches Arena.

UTSA — Last Monday night, UTSA opened at home and won 78-68 in overtime against the Western Illinois Leathernecks. On Friday, the Roadrunners arrived at Williams Arena in Minneapolis with high hopes and were beaten 102-76 by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Clearly, a UTSA team entering its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference isn’t ready to win in the Big Ten just yet even with a roster almost totally revamped from last year, so eighth-year coach Steve Henson and Co. are faced with a critical week in playing road tests closer to home at Lamar and at Texas State of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday. UTSA was 2-11 on the road last year in a 10-22 season. Leaders for UTSA include power forward Trey Edmonds (13.5 ppg, 47.6 percent shooting), forward Dre Fuller Jr. (13 ppg, eight rpg) and guard Adante’ Holiman (11 ppg, 50 percent three-point shooting).

Lamar — Alvin Brooks is back in Beaumont where he played point guard for two legendary Lamar teams. With Brooks handling the ball, the Cardinals reached the NCAA tournament in both 1980 (Sweet 16) and 1981. More than 40 years later, Brooks is the third-year head coach of the Cardinals, trying to kick start a program that has been through some hard times recently. In the coach’s first two years, the Cardinals have been 11-49. Based on early returns, Lamar might have a chance to turn the corner this season. The Cards blew out NAIA Jarvis Christian 114-66 at home last Monday. In Game 2 last Friday, the Cardinals fared well but fell 78-67 on the road at SMU. Guard B.B. Knight (13.5 ppg) leads the Cardinals in scoring. Abilene Christian University transfer Ja’Sean Jackson, a guard from San Antonio’s Wagner High School, scored nine points at SMU and is averaging 11.5. Another San Antonio connection is assistant coach Charles Harral, a 1999 Churchill graduate.

Deing becomes more selective, scores a season-high 26 points

The play unfolded with less than a minute remaining. Leading by three, the UTSA Roadrunners needed a basket for breathing room against the determined Lamar Cardinals.

A video of the play shows the Roadrunners making at least eight passes, moving the ball around, from the wing, into the high post, and on to the other wing, before it started to move back the other way — all the way back.

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Junior center Jacob Germany produced 13 points and four rebounds for the Roadrunners. He hit 5 of 8 from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Ultimately, it ended up in Dhieu Deing’s hands, and the former North Carolina prep standout knew what to do with it. He caught it outside the 3-point arc and dribbled toward the baseline, where he pulled up to swish a 15-footer.

The shot boosted UTSA into a five-point lead with 40 seconds left, and Lamar never got closer than three the rest of the way. The Roadrunners went on to secure a 79-73 victory for their third win in four games.

“He’s making great, great progress,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Shot selection is a huge thing for him. We’ve gone through his last few ball games and looked at all of his shots. Last ball game, he took one or two that were just too hard.

“Again, he’s super confident. He thinks he can make everything.”

But to raise the level of his game, Deing needs to pick his spots better, and he did that against the Cardinals.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry contributed 13 points and four assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Deing scored 14 of his career-high 26 points in the second half as the Roadrunners bounced back from Sunday’s disappointing, 19-point home loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

UTSA pulled it off by making improvements in several areas — ball movement, shooting percentage from the field (47.2) and free-throw percentage (82.1).

The Cardinals were without one of their top backcourt players, but the Roadrunners will take a victory that pushes them back over the .500 mark.

“Team win,” Deing said. “Definitely had to bounce back. That was everybody coming to together. We got to keep on now. We got to make it consistent, though. Today, everybody was locked in and on the same page.”


Lamar 1-5
UTSA 4-3

Coming up

St. Mary’s at UTSA, Monday, 7 p.m.

Free-throw edge

UTSA essentially won the game at the free throw line, hitting 23 of 28, including 15 of 18 after intermission.

Lamar played well but couldn’t convert as high a percentage on free throws, making only 15 of 24.

Deing’s consistency

Deing, from High Point, N.C., and a former player at two other colleges, has stepped into a starter’s role in his first year with the Roadrunners to score in double figures in all seven games.

Dhieu Deing. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Dhieu Deing connected on 8 of 14 shots from the field in UTSA’s victory over the Lamar Cardinals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In besting his previous high of 20 points, he hit eight of 14 shots from the field, three of seven from long range, and seven of seven at the free throw line. He also had three rebounds and three assists.

“Just taking good shots,” he explained. “I feel like the other games, I was forcing it a little bit. We watched a lot of film, and I came back and took good shots.”

Christian Tucker steps up

After senior guard Darius McNeill left the game with a foot injury, freshman walk-on Christian Tucker had his best outing with nine points. Tucker, from Chandler, Ariz., scored all nine in nine, second-half minutes. He played 11 minutes overall, and hit six of seven at the free throw line.

First half

The Roadrunners entered the game with a new look, with a change in the starting lineup, and with different player combinations. In the end, they came out of it with a 35-28 lead on the Cardinals at halftime.

In the first six games of the season, poor shooting plagued the Roadrunners. The shakeup helped to an extent with the team hitting 44.4 percent in the early going.

The Cardinals, on the other end, were held to 36.7 percent. But they stayed in the game with a 23-14 rebounding edge, including 11-4 on the offensive glass.

Rotation shakeup

Freshman Lamin Sabally got his first start of the season and played seven minutes. He went scoreless on 0 for 2 shooting and had two rebounds. With Sabally starting, McNeill came off the bench.

McNeill, a senior transfer, played only five minutes before coming out with the foot problem. Forward Aleu Aleu made his UTSA debut, coming off the bench for almost five minutes.

He missed all three of his shots, including a couple of treys.

UTSA coaches remain hopeful that Aleu, a lithe, 6-foot-8 wing, can have an impact after he sat out almost the entire six weeks of preseason training with a quad injury. Henson said Aleu has had four full practices over the past week.

Lachlan Bofinger. UTSA beat Lamar 79-73 in men's basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore Lachlan Bofinger enjoyed a high-efficiency game with four points, five rebounds and two blocks in 13 minutes. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA rolls past Lamar as Barisic produces a double-double

Luka Barisic had 18 points and 10 rebounds as UTSA beat Lamar 88-66 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Luka Barisic supplied much-needed early offense by hitting 4 of 8 shots in the first half. He finished 7 of 11 for a career-high 18 points. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Senior forward Luka Barisic finished with a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday night, rallying the UTSA Roadrunners past the Lamar Cardinals, 88-66.

After trailing for much of the first half on their home floor at the Convocation Center, UTSA called on its bench to light a spark.

Three international players — Barisic, Erik Czumbel and Lachlan Bofinger — along with a few others made it happen, as UTSA defeated an NCAA Division I program for the first time this season and improved to 4-0 at home.

Taking a three-point lead into the second half, the Roadrunners started to play much better on both ends.

As a result, they routed the Cardinals 54-35 in the final 20 minutes behind 65 percent shooting from the floor.

For the game, the Roadrunners’ reserves hit 15 of 22 afield and outscored the Cardinals, 41-21.

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat Lamar 88-66 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keaton Wallace missed his first three shots but made four of his last seven to finish with 12 points. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA has a nine-day break before opening Conference USA play at Rice.

The Roadrunners play the Owls on back-to-back days in Houston, on Jan. 1-2, to kick off the conference phase of the schedule.


UTSA 4-3
Lamar 1-7


Luka Barisic, a 6-foot-10 native of Croatia, arrived at UTSA last season as a junior college transfer. After averaging 6.6 points in his first year as a Roadrunner, he entered the Lamar game averaging 7.5. Against the Cardinals, he checked in at 16:57 of the first half, and after missing his first shot, he made his next three to spark the Roadrunners. He finished 7 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 6 from three-point territory.


“I was just feeling good. I made some shots. That raised the confidence. Then, it’s much easier to play.” — Luka Barisic.

Flow of the game

From the opening tip, Lamar played with confidence, as the team shot 50 percent from the field or better for the first 15 minutes. Guard Davion Buster led the way with three 3-point shots.

Several times, the Cardinals pushed the lead to six, the last time with 4:04 remaining before the break.

Keaton Wallace hit his only field goal of the first half with three seconds left, lifting the Roadrunners into a 34-31 lead at intermission.

The shot capped a 12-3 run for UTSA in the final four minutes and created a sense of momentum leading into the dressing room.

Erik Czumbel. UTSA beat Lamar 88-66 on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore guard Erik Czumbel had nine points, two rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA led all the way in the second half. At one point, the Cardinals pulled within two with 15 minutes left. But the Roadrunners kicked up the tempo and sent the visitors reeling with a 21-7 run, capped by dunks from Bofinger and Jacob Germany.

UTSA led by as much as 25 with less than two minutes remaining.

Coach’s corner

Steve Henson: “I didn’t think we came out with the kind of fight that I thought we would have. We were pretty energetic at shootaround. We had a good practice yesterday. Our guys just didn’t get off to a very good start. The game itself didn’t have much flow. It was kind of slow. We weren’t getting stops and we couldn’t run … Jhivvan (Jackson) didn’t shoot it well early. That was one of the positives. We were able to play through one of those nights.”

Finding balance

The Roadrunners won by 22 points on a night when Jackson hit only 3 of 13 shots from the floor. It’s a good sign moving forward that the Roadrunners didn’t crater under those circumstances. Instead, they got balanced scoring, including the team-leading 18 points from Barisic, but also Wallace (12), Eric Parrish (11) and Germany (10). Jackson and Czumbel had nine each.

Still-developing UTSA hosts Lamar as C-USA play looms

Hoping to stay undefeated at home and ramp up efficiency to a higher level, the UTSA Roadrunners will host the Lamar Cardinals tonight at the Convocation Center. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Roadrunners coach Steve Henson looks on as UTSA beat Our Lady of the Lake 102-70 on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson wants to see improvement today as his team hosts Lamar, from the Southland Conference. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Roadrunners (3-3) and Cardinals (1-6) are both playing their last game before opening their respective conference schedules.

Lamar, from the Southland Conference, will return home to host Southeastern Louisiana next Tuesday.

UTSA will tip off its Conference USA slate on New Year’s Day. The Roadrunners will play on the road at Rice University on a two-game swing, Jan. 1-2.

Against Lamar, UTSA will be looking for its first victory of the season against an NCAA Division I program.

They’re 0-3 against Division I teams including losses at UT Rio Grande Valley, Oklahoma and Oregon State.

The Roadrunners are coming off a resounding victory, 102-70 Our Lady of the Lake, a San Antonio-based NAIA program.

UTSA overwhelmed OLLU athletically on Sunday afternoon but had far too many mistakes to satisfy Coach Steve Henson.

“We did what we needed to do,” Henson said. “We got the win. There were a lot of positives. But there were a lot of areas that weren’t good enough. We had too many turnovers.

“We were bothered by their press, which was nothing unusual. A little surprised we didn’t handle that a little bit better. There were a lot of opportunities to break the press and go make plays.

“So there were some teachable moments. Now, we don’t have a lot of time to look at this one, because we’ve got to move quickly on to Lamar. But there’s still a lot of room for growth, and our guys know that.

“We’re not where (we want to be). We’ve got to get better — a lot better.”

Coming up

Lamar at UTSA, 6 p.m. today
UTSA at Rice, Jan. 1, 2 p.m.
UTSA at Rice, Jan. 2, 2 p.m.


The Roadrunners have produced back-to-back strong efforts on the boards. At Oregon State on Dec. 16, UTSA dominated the glass against a bigger team in the first half and led 34-30 at halftime. The Beavers retaliated with their own sustained effort after intermission and pulled out the victory, 73-61. Against OLLU, UTSA held a 65-38 edge on the boards in a 102-70 victory.


“It’s going to help us win games. Today we got 31 offensive rebounds. I think that’s probably the most I’ve been around. It just helps give us more possessions. And we’ve been limiting teams to one shot. That’s really a key for our defense.” — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson

UTSA beats Lamar 76-69 in CIT playoff opener

Forward Nick Allen scores on a driving layup with 2:02 remaining to give UTSA an eight-point lead.

UTSA rallied in a home playoff game for its 20th victory of the season Wednesday night, claiming a 76-69 decision over Lamar in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

Playing in front of an announced 1,012 at the Convocation Center, the Roadrunners (20-14) fell behind by eight in the first half before they found a rhythm in their game.

By the second half, they started to roll, playing tough defense, moving the ball on offense and gradually wearing down the Cardinals (19-14) of the Southland Conference.

With the victory, UTSA claimed its first 20-win season in seven years. The team also earned another CIT game at home.

Officials announced that the Roadrunners from Conference USA would play in the tournament’s quarterfinals at the Convocation Center on March 22. The opponent will be announced in coming days.

“It feels really good, really good,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “I’m happy for our guys. They earned the right to play in this event, and they came out and fought really hard.

“You know, it wasn’t easy in the first half. Just hangin’ and hangin,’ trying to stay in there, and they did.

“They’re just a good team. Lamar is tough and physical. It wasn’t easy but we hung in there and popped it open a little bit in the second half.”

UTSA forward Deon Lyle hits a three late in the first half against Lamar.

Stat leaders

UTSA — Deon Lyle, 16 points, including four three-pointers, eight rebounds. Giovanni De Nicolao, 14 points, including 10 in the second half, six assists.

Nick Allen, 13 points, 11 in the second half. Byron Frohnen, 11 points, 5 of 6 shooting.

Lamar — Nick Garth, 16 points, four three-pointers. Josh Nzeakor, 13 points, nine rebounds. Joey Frenchwood, 13 points. Colton Weisbrod, 12 points, 11 rebounds.

First-half struggles

Visiting Lamar held UTSA to 38 percent shooting in seizing a 33-31 lead at intermission.

Meanwhile, Lyle scored 14 points to keep the Roadrunners in contention, hitting four three-pointers in the half.

Lamar featured a more balanced attack with Garth, Nzeakor and Weisbrod scoring six points apiece.

Playing man-to-man defense primarily, Lamar limited UTSA to only 17 points in the first 15 minutes.

A three-pointer by Cardinals guard Frenchwood lifted the visitors to a 25-17 lead with 5:20 remaining.

A turning point

From there, Lyle sparked a UTSA rally.

He scored 11 points, including three shots from beyond the arc, lifting UTSA back into contention.

“It’s not the first time he’s done that on the year,” Henson said. “You know, there’s times we’re going along and don’t have much going on the offensive end and he just jumps up and knocks down a couple of threes.

“We needed those, for sure.”

UTSA’s defense picks up intensity early in the second half as forward Nick Allen switches off his man to contest a jumper.

Shooting stars

UTSA emerged in the second half shooting the ball well, connecting on five of its first 11 attempts.

The Roadrunners took a 45-44 lead on De Nicolao’s three from the top of the key with 13:03 remaining.

Moments later, Garth tied the game at the free throw line.

But UTSA retaliated with Frohnen and De Nicolao scoring inside, and then Keaton Wallace connected on a long three for a 7-0 run over 65 seconds.

As a result, the crowd was in a roar as the Roadrunners led 53-46 with 11 minutes to play.

Lamar answered with a 12-7 run of its own that included two threes by Garth, and with 4:23 remaining, the Cardinals were within two at 60-58.

But De Nicolao banked in a three and Allen scored in the paint to push the Roadrunners ahead by seven.

Lamar got no closer than five the rest of the way.

UTSA’s Giovanni De Nicolao sets up the offense in the first half, passing to the wing for George Willborn III, who drives hard and dishes to Byron Frohnen for the layup.


UTSA, in its 37th year of basketball, registered only its second win in a postseason setting outside of conference tournament play.

The first such victory came in 2010-11, when the Roadrunners defeated Alabama State in the NCAA tournament’s round of 68.

UTSA won its 12th home game of the season and its 23rd in two years under Henson.

The dream scenario

De Nicolao, a sophomore point guard from Italy, said he thinks the Convocation Center needs to be re-decorated.

With a championship banner.

“We want to win this tournament right now, because, honestly, we want to have a (banner) somewhere — right there,” said De Nicolao, pointing to the arena rafters. “I’ve always said that.

“This year is an opportunity, and next year, I think, we’re going to have a bigger one.”

UTSA to host Lamar in first-round CIT game

Forward Byron Frohnen hits a jump hook in a Feb. 24 home game victory over Louisiana Tech.

UTSA announced Monday that it would host the Lamar Cardinals Wednesday night at 7 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, otherwise known as the CIT.

Lamar (19-13) of the Southland Conference is led by veteran coach Tic Price.

Second-year coach Steve Henson has guided UTSA (19-14) of Conference USA to its first national postseason game since 2011 when it last played in the NCAA tournament.

On Sunday, the game was tentatively set for Wednesday night at Lamar, in Beaumont.

But officials announced Monday afternoon that it would be played at the UTSA Convocation Center, a development that pleased Henson.

Henson said that it’s “terrific” to be able to play a postseason game at home.

“Just the opportunity to play, period, is very, very exciting,” the coach said. “When you look at the number of teams that are done right now, less than 40 percent of the teams in the country are still practicing today and getting ready to play a ball game.

“(I’m) proud of our guys for earning the opportunity. Then (we feel) fortunate to get a home game here. Our guys are very excited. Looking forward to playing.”

Lamar forward Josh Nzeakor makes a quick move for a dunk against Incarnate Word on Jan. 17.

On Jan. 25, UTSA was blown out by 24 points at Middle Tennessee. It was the team’s fourth loss in five games, and it left the Roadrunners at 10-11 on the season.

In that regard, it’s surprising that the Roadrunners are practicing in the second week of March.

“It feels good to still be on the court and still be out here playing,” said junior forward Deon Lyle, who was named the C-USA’s sixth man of the year.

Forward Byron Frohnen said the team was initially told on Sunday that it would be traveling.

“But they came out this morning and said it’s going to be a home game,”
he said. “So it’s that much better for us. We did a lot of traveling in the last few weeks.

“We’re definitely excited to stay home with our fans.”