UTSA set to take on Middle Tennessee in tournament opener

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners will take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Wednesday in Houston on opening day of the Conference USA Baseball Championship, according to the C-USA bracket. The eight-team championship runs through next Sunday at Rice University’s Reckling Park.

In Game 1 of the tournament, the third-seeded Charlotte 49ers will meet the No. 6 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at 9 a.m. Second-seeded UTSA will play No. 7 Middle Tennessee at 12:30 p.m. in Game 2. On Thursday, the losers of Games 1 and 2 are scheduled to play at 9 a.m., with the winners meeting at 12:30 p.m.

In Game 3 of the tournament, the top-seeded Dallas Baptist Patriots are scheduled to meet the No. 8 Rice Owls at 4 p.m. Wednesday, with No. 4 WKU meeting fifth-seeded Florida Atlantic in Game 4 at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, the Games 3 and 4 losers play at 4 and the winners at 7:30 p.m.

In head-to-head meetings this season, the Roadrunners swept three games from the Blue Raiders in San Antonio back in April. They split two games against the 49ers in a rain-shortened weekend at Charlotte and won two of three over the past three days at Louisiana Tech.

Sirdashney homers in finale

Shane Sirdashney came off the bench to rip a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning, but the UTSA Roadrunners fell short in their regular-season finale. Louisiana Tech held off UTSA 7-5 Saturday at J.C. Love Field in Ruston, La. With the loss, the Roadrunners wrapped up their regular season at 38-17, one victory shy of the school record.

Next up for the Roadrunners is the Conference USA tournament, scheduled for next week in Houston. They’ll be the second seed in the tournament that will run from Wednesday through next Sunday at Rice University’s Reckling Park. The winner in Houston gets the prize of an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sirdashney’s availability next week could be a factor. He is a standout defender in centerfield and a .361 hitter. But, because of a hamstring problem, he hasn’t played much in the past month. His appearance on Saturday was only his third since he played three games against Middle Tennessee State from April 14-16.


UTSA 21-8, 38-17
Louisiana Tech 15-15, 27-29

Coming up

Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

UTSA, on the right path again, beats LA Tech 5-3 to clinch series

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Taylor Smith hit two homers Friday night as the UTSA Roadrunners downed the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 5-3, to clinch a weekend series in Conference USA baseball.

Coming into the three-game series at Ruston, La., the Roadrunners had lost four straight games. But in the first two of a three-game series at J.C. Love Field, the Roadrunners have prevailed by two runs in both contests, pushing their record for the season to 38-16, including 21-7 in the C-USA.

On Thursday night, they hit five home runs in an 18-16 victory in 11 innings. On Friday, they hit three more, including back-to-back shots by Smith and Antonio Valdez in the first inning. Smith added another solo shot in the ninth to give him six home runs in three games this week.

The senior from Georgetown hit one homer at Abilene Christian on Tuesday. He added three more at LA Tech on Thursday night. And now, with the two on Friday, he increased his team-leading total to 17 on the season. In the three games, Smith has totaled nine hits in 16 at bats. In addition, he has produced 10 RBIs.

In the pitching department, junior Ryan Ward from Clemens High School pitched a season-high five innings to earn the victory. He allowed only two runs on two hits. Drake Smith (no relation to Taylor Smith) yielded only one run on one hit and struck out six in four innings to close the game.

With the victory, the Roadrunners clinched their 12th weekend series of the season, improving to 12-1-1 in series on the weekend. They split two games in a rain-shortened series on the road at Charlotte and lost all three games to Dallas Baptist a week ago at home.

The team’s latest win also moved the Roadrunners to within one of tying the school record for victories in a season. The record of 39 was set in 1994 and was tied in 2008. They’ll have a chance to tie the mark when they play LA Tech Saturday at noon in the series finale.

The C-USA tournament is set for next week in Houston.


UTSA 21-7, 38-16
Louisiana Tech 14-15, 26-29

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Saturday, noon (regular-season finale)
Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

Game updates:

In the second game of a Conference USA baseball series, UTSA is playing on the road tonight in Ruston, La., against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. UTSA took the first game of the series, 18-16, in 11 innings Thursday night. Reed Smith is on the mound for LA Tech against Ryan Ward for UTSA.

With one out in the top of the first, UTSA’s Taylor Smith (no relation) stepped to the plate with one out and hit a solo homer. Antonio Valdez followed with another solo shot. After Matt King singled, Smith settled down and retired Caleb Hill and Josh Killeen to get out of it, setting the stage for Ward to take the mound for the Roadrunners, protecting a 2-0 lead.

For Smith, his first at bat served as a continuation of a remarkable week. On Tuesday, the senior from Georgetown belted a grand slam in UTSA’s 10-8 loss at Abilene Christian. Last night, Smith hit three homers in the first game of the series against the Bulldogs. The blast off LA Tech’s Reed Smith was his fifth homer of the week and his team-leading 16th of the season.

Ward is a 6-foot-2 junior from Clemens, a righthander who entered the contest with an 0-1 record and a 5.50 earned run average. To this point, Ward had appeared in nine games this season and had pitched 18 innings. In the first inning against the Bulldogs, Ward threw strikes and retired three in a row, a welcome sign for a team that had to throw a lot of pitches Thursday night in the series opener.

In response, Reed Smith came out and had a much better experience with UTSA batting in the top of the second. He retired three straight, setting up his teammates to do some damage in the bottom half. That’s exactly what happened. With one out, Phil Matulia doubled. Later, Logan McLeod reached on a two-out, hit by pitch. Two men were on, at first and second. Phil Hasler took advantage of the situation, ripping a double to left field that scored both runners, tying the score, 2-2.

LA Tech starter Reed Smith is settling into the game nicely. After getting lit up for two home runs in the first inning, he’s held UTSA scoreless in the second, third and fourth innings.

During that stretch, he’s yielded a double to Taylor Smith in the and an infield single. But he’s kept the game under control against an explosive offense. Buoyed by Smith’s turn of fortune, the Bulldogs came to bat in the bottom of the fourth, with the game tied 2-2, trying to make something happen against Ward and the Roadrunners.

In the fourth, Ward started to rise to the challenge. Outside of a two-out walk, he didn’t give up a thing, with Kyle Hasler popping up for the third out. It was his second straight scoreless inning.

By the fifth, the Roadrunners brought Dalton Porter to the plate to lead off, and he sent a blast into left field for a double and then took third on a ground ball out. Next, Taylor Smith walked to put runners at the corner, and Smith stole second base to set up a second-and-third situation for Matt King. King delivered with a two-run single up the middle, lifting the Roadrunners to a 4-2 lead.

As the game moved into the middle innings, the major storyline for the Roadrunners centered on Ward. In only his 10th appearance of the season, he worked five innings, yielding only two runs on two hits. Ward walked three and struck out one in his longest outing of the year. Previously, his season-best was three innings. The most pitches he had thrown in a game? Fifty seven, against Stephen F. Austin, back in March. Against the Bulldogs, he threw 71 pitches, 39 of them for strikes and exited with a 4-2 lead.

With Drake Smith on the mound, the Roadrunners made it through the sixth inning unscathed. But the Bulldogs got it going in the seventh, drawing a leadoff walk and turning it into a run with Dalton Davis’ two-out RBI double. Smith, throwing well, struck out the next batter to retire the side. He struck out three in the inning, allowing UTSA to take a 4-3 lead into the eighth.

In the eighth, it was more of the same for the Bulldogs, who couldn’t figure out Smith. The UTSA righthander set down the opposition 1-2-3, picking up a strikeout along the way, sending the game to the ninth inning with the Roadrunners leading 4-3.

UTSA’s offense had been dormant for three innings. In the sixth through the eighth, it had done little damage and had been held scoreless in each frame. Until the ninth. UTSA’s Taylor Smith hit another home run, his second of the game, to boost the Roadrunners into a 5-3 lead. Smith has two homers tonight and six in three games this week. The senior from Georgetown has 17 for the season.

UTSA wins a wild one, beating Louisiana Tech 18-16 in 11 innings

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners snapped a season-long, four-game losing streak Thursday by holding off the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 18-16 in 11 innings at Ruston, La.

In the Conference USA series opener, the Bulldogs rallied from deficits of 9-5 and 13-8 to send the game into extra innings tied at 14.

Taylor Smith and Leyton Barry homered in a four-run 11th for UTSA. It was Smith’s third home run of the game. In the bottom half, Louisiana Tech scored twice off UTSA relief ace Simon Miller before its last rally was finally shut down.

With runners at first and third base, Adarius Myers bounced one back to Miller, who tossed to first base for the final out, ending a game that lasted about four hours and 20 minutes.

Miller (8-1) pitched the last five innings, throwing 85 pitches, to pick up the victory. Barry had four hits, and Smith, Barry and Matt King each had four RBIs.

Leadoff batter Dalton Davis led Louisiana Tech with two home runs and six RBIs. Ethan Bates (4-3) was the losing pitcher after giving up the two home runs in the 11th.

The Roadrunners play two more games in Ruston against LA Tech, which beat UTSA last year in the C-USA title game.


UTSA 20-7, 37-16
Louisiana Tech 14-14, 26-28

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Friday, 6 p.m.
UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Saturday, noon
Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

Winning 20

The UTSA baseball program has won 20 conference games for the first time in the Conference USA era. The Roadrunners have been in the C-USA since 2014. In that time, their previous best efforts within the league came in 2015 when they finished 17-13 and last year when they finished 19-11. The Dallas Baptist Patriots, at 23-5, have clinched the C-USA title. The Roadrunners, now 20-7, will finish second going into next week’s tournament at Houston. Overall, UTSA’s 37 wins are two shy of the school record of 39, set in 1994 and again in 2008.

Ending the skid

UTSA entered the series opener in Ruston on a four-game losing streak. The Roadrunners were swept in three games at home last weekend by Dallas Baptist for their first lost series of the season. Following the sweep, they played on the road Tuesday and lost 10-8 to the Abilene Christian University Wildcats of the Western Athletic Conference. The four-game skid was the longest for UTSA coach Pat Hallmark since his team lost five straight to end the 2021 season.

Rolling in home-run city

UTSA and Louisiana Tech combined for nine home runs in the first game of the series. For the Roadrunners, Taylor Smith hit three of them, and Garrett Poston and Leyton Barry had one apiece. For the Bulldogs, Dalton Davis hit two homers, and Ethan Bates and Phillip Matulia one each. Matulia’s grand slam came in the bottom of the first inning, off Luke Malone, and it catapulted LA Tech into a 5-2 lead.

Riding Smith’s hot bat

Taylor Smith, a senior transfer from Texas A&M, has hit four home runs in two games this week. He hit a grand slam in the fifth inning Tuesday in a 10-8 loss at Abilene Christian. Against Louisiana Tech, he socked a solo homer in the first inning, a two-run shot in the fourth and a solo homer in the 11th that broke a 14-14 tie. Smith’s long-ball surge has boosted him to a team-leading 15 home runs on the season.

Looking at Barry’s numbers

Leyton Barry, one of the all-time great hitters in school history, had four hits in five at bats against Louisiana Tech. He also drove in four runs. He had a single in the first inning, a two-run double in the third, a deep fly ball out to center in the fourth, a walk in the fifth, a ground out in the seventh, a two-out, two-strike double in the ninth and a two-run homer in the 11th. Approaching the end of his UTSA career, Barry has totaled 210 hits and 39 doubles in 175 games. He also has 21 career homers.

Malone’s struggles

UTSA pitcher Luke Malone, the team’s workhorse, Friday-night starter over the last two seasons, has been vulnerable to opponents making solid contact in his last five appearances. Over that stretch, his earned run average is 10.67. Against FIU, UAB, Rice, Dallas Baptist and Louisiana Tech, the senior from Round Rock has yielded 45 hits and 34 earned runs in 28 and 2/3 innings. He gave up eight runs on eight hits in 3 and 1/3 innings against LA Tech.

Louisiana Tech surges late, holds off slumping UTSA, 66-55

Christian Tucker. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA lost its eighth game in a row Saturday despite another solid performance from Christian Tucker, who had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Initially, Talvin Hester wasn’t having all that much fun pacing the sidelines in his first game in San Antonio as a college head coach.

Eventually, however, things turned around for his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who shook off a sluggish first half and scored a 66-55 victory over the slumping UTSA Roadrunners.

Louisiana Tech coach Talvin Hester. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Talvin Hester’s Louisiana Tech Bulldogs held UTSA to 18.2 percent shooting from the field in the first half and to 32.3 percent for the game. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Led by Isaiah Crawford and Cobe Williams, the Bulldogs shot 59.3 percent after intermission and made just enough stops, allowing them to hold off a late Roadrunners’ push.

“Really excited about this one,” said Hester, a veteran of the profession who has worked in the past as an assistant coach for Danny Kaspar at Texas State, for Kelvin Sampson at Houston and for Mark Adams at Texas Tech.

Last year, Hester helped Adams and the Red Raiders reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament before he left in the offseason to take over at LA Tech for Erik Konkol, now the head coach at Tulsa.

“I thought our guys defended (today),” Hester said. “Our offense wasn’t there all day. We didn’t hit shots we normally hit. We didn’t offensive rebound. You know, we kind of made some mistakes with quick shots. But we really defended tonight. I commend our team.”

Crawford, a 6-foot-6 junior from Fort Worth, scored 19 points and had seven rebounds. Williams added 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Louisiana Tech (12-10, 5-6) entered the afternoon matinee having lost four of its last five.

UTSA (7-16, 1-11) has lost eight in a row. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah scored 14 points and hit four 3-pointers for the Roadrunners. John Buggs III and Christian Tucker had 13 apiece, while Jacob Germany produced 11 points and seven rebounds.

Japhet Medor. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor returned to game action but wasn’t effective, going scoreless in nine minutes. Medor sat out the last three games with a foot sprain. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Roadrunners guard Japhet Medor returned to action after sitting out the last three games with a foot injury, but Medor clearly wasn’t himself, going scoreless in nine minutes. In his last game before the injury, he scored 30 points.

Without Medor at full speed, Tucker played 30 minutes at point guard. To go along with his 13 points, he also had five assists and six rebounds.

Tucker, a walk-on from Phoenix, has emerged as one of the bright spots for the Roadrunners lately. Over the past four games, he’s played major minutes and averaged 9.8 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds.

“First off, it’s really sad to see Japhet go out with an injury,” Tucker said. “I never want to see that happen to one of my teammates. I’m just thankful that Coach (Steve) Henson trusts me out there and thankful for an opportunity to go out there and play.”


The Roadrunners finished a forgettable month of January with a 1-8 record. Their last win was Jan. 5, when they won at home, beating Middle Tennessee 75-72 on Buggs’ buzzer-beating, 3-pointer.

John Buggs III. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

John Buggs III scored 13 points and hit three 3-point baskets against Louisiana Tech. It was his 12th outing of the season with three or more field goals from beyond the arc. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Since then, they’ve dropped consecutive contests to Western Kentucky, UTEP, Charlotte, Rice, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and now Louisiana Tech.

During the losing streak, the longest for UTSA in Steve Henson’s seven seasons as coach, the team has dropped five straight at home. Five of the eight losses have been by double digits.


“Obviously it’s very frustrating to not get in the win column,” Tucker said. “We all want it so bad. We’re hungry, desperate for a win. Each day we come in, and we want it so bad. You know, eventually, it’s going to happen for us.”

Shaking off travel woes

Both UTSA and Louisiana Tech played road games on Thursday night, with the Roadrunners losing by three points at North Texas and the Bulldogs losing a six-point game in Birmingham, Ala., against UAB.

Even though Louisiana Tech traveled the greater distance to San Antonio, its charter aircraft arrived at 1 a.m. Friday, three hours before the Roadrunners arrived on their charter bus.

“We talked about that a long time ago,” Henson said. “We thought there’d be a case where someone would charter in and beat us home, and that’s exactly what happened. They chartered in Thursday night. We chartered a bus in Thursday night and we got in here to the Convo about 4 o’clock (Friday morning). So our guys were in bed, hopefully, by 4:30.”

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah finished with 14 points and six rebounds against the Bulldogs. He made four triples, including three in the second half. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Henson said travel has been tough on everyone in the C-USA this season after the loss of three teams to football-driven realignment. As conference membership decreased from 14 to 11 teams, the conference schedule increased from 18 games to 20.

Has the travel been a factor for the Roadrunners? Did it hurt UTSA against Louisiana Tech?

“Oh, I don’t know,” Henson said. “It is what it is. There’s not anything we can do about it. Our guys came in (Friday afternoon), practice was a little bit short. We knew we needed to get warmed up. We knew we needed to do some game-speed shooting and do some things specific for this game … But, yeah, without the travel partners (from last year’s schedule), there’s been some tough travel on the year.

“The UTEP to Charlotte trip (Jan. 11-14) was a tough trip. That stuff wears you down a little bit. I think once the game starts, you’re not thinking about it. But, who knows, both teams looked a little sluggish there early on.”

First half

Louisiana Tech built a 25-18 lead on UTSA at halftime. The Bulldogs held the Roadrunners to 18.2 percent shooting. Some of UTSA’s attempts were clean looks. Nevertheless, the Roadrunners made only 6 of 33 from the field.


Louisiana Tech 12-10, 5-6
UTSA 7-16, 1-11

Coming up

UTSA at Western Kentucky, Feb. 2
UTSA at Middle Tennessee, Feb. 4

Jacob Germany. Louisiana Tech beat UTSA 66-55 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany produced 11 points and seven rebounds for the Roadrunners against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Louisiana Tech rallies in the fourth quarter to knock off UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Louisiana Tech guard Keiunna Walker fell hard underneath the UTSA basket early in the fourth quarter and wobbled off the floor to take a breather.

A few minutes of rest was all she needed.

Jordyn Jenkins. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins scored 21 points for her fourth straight game of 20 or more. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Walker returned late in the game to knock down two shots, helping LA Tech rally for a 62-57 victory over the Roadrunners.

Lady Techsters coach Brooke Stoehr, with her team down three points at the end of three quarters, applauded her team’s defensive effort down the stretch.

“I thought the defensive effort in the fourth quarter was tremendous, to hold them to 10 (points),” Stoehr said. “We had two quarters, the first quarter and fourth quarter, I thought we were pretty solid defensively.

“(We’d) given up a bunch of offensive rebounds in the second and third quarters, and we just talked to them a lot about, ‘Hey, they’re a great rebounding team,’ and (UTSA coach) Karen (Aston) has ’em playing so hard.

“They put a lot of pressure on you with (Jordyn) Jenkins and (Elyssa) Coleman in there, in the paint. I think (UTSA guard Hailey) Atwood had three or four (offensive boards) at halftime on the offensive end.

“So, just really proud of our group, and how they continue to fight. It’s tough to win on the road.”

With the victory, Louisiana Tech (8-4 overall) overcame the absence of injured forward Anna Larr Roberson and evened its record in Conference USA to 1-1.

Hailey Atwood. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Hailey Atwood finished with six points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA (2-8, 0-1) skidded to its third straight loss, coming up short on its home court against one of the conference’s better teams.

For Roadrunners coach Karen Aston, the loss was a tough one because she wanted to win her C-USA opener for everyone in her home arena who attended on a holiday week night.

She also wanted a win for her players, who have put in the hard work at practices this season, only to lose by seven or fewer points in seven of the eight losses.

“Even though (fans) wanted to win tonight, I think they would appreciate the effort and how close we are right now. I know the focus is on us not finishing games. But we weren’t even in the games last year. We’ve made remarkable progress.”

With UTSA holding a 47-44 lead entering the fourth quarter, Louisiana Tech forward Lotte Sant immediately stepped out and nailed a three to forge a tie.

From there, both teams went cold, scoreless for almost four minutes. In that stretch, Walker had to leave the game when she was hit from behind and fell hard under the UTSA basket.

Walker walked off the floor after both the LA Tech team trainer and coach came out to check on her. It was potentially a big loss for the Lady Techsters, because she had 16 points at the time.

Kyra White. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Kyra White was held scoreless on zero for six shooting, but she contributed in a big way with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Fortunately for LA Tech, she returned three minutes later just as UTSA was beginning to pick up some momentum.

Coleman went to work inside, got fouled and sank two free throws with 2:32 remaining, pulling the Roadrunners to within one.

On the next trip upcourt for LA Tech, Walker knocked down an 18-foot jumper. After Jenkins answered for UTSA with a bucket to make it a one-point game again, Walker struck one more time.

Getting the ball on the left side, she circled to the right on the dribble and then cut to the basket, sinking a driving layup while also drawing a foul.

Walker lay motionless after she hit the floor and had to come out again, the victim of apparent cramping.

Teammate Mackenzie Wurm, stepping to the line in Walker’s place, knocked down the free throw for a 59-55 lead with 1:30 remaining.

UTSA could get no closer than two points the rest of the way.

“Just reallty proud of our players,” Stoehr said. “We’ve had a lot of people step up. We’re a little short-handed right now. Just, facing a lot of adversity. So it’s good to see our bench come in and do what they did.”


UTSA 2-8, 0-1
LA Tech 8-4, 1-1

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Saturday, at noon


Louisiana Tech — Keiunna Walker, 20 points on seven of 15 from the field and six of seven at the free throw line; Lotte Sant, 15 points on five of six from 3-point distance; Salma Bates, 12 points and six rebounds; Amaya Brannon, 10 points, three rebounds and three steals.

UTSA — Jordyn Jenkins, 21 points on nine of 20 shooting from the field; Elyssa Coleman, double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, with four of 11 shooting; Queen Ulabo, eight points on three of four afield; Hailey Atwood, six points and seven rebounds off the bench; Kyra White, zero points, seven assists and six rebounds; Sidney Love, two points and three assists.

Madison Cockrell and Jordyn Jenkins celebrate after Cockrell hit a long shot to end the first half. The UTSA women's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 62-57 in the Roadrunners' Conference USA opener on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Madison Cockrell and Jordyn Jenkins celebrate after Cockrell hits a long shot to end the first half. – Photo by Joe Alexander

First half

Freshman Madison Cockrell banked in a 40-footer at the halftime buzzer to give the UTSA Roadrunners an emotional lift and a 33-28 lead at intermission.

Cockrell’s heave from just inside the halfcourt stripe, launched on the dribble, underscored UTSA’s shot-making ability — and perhaps its good fortune — in the half.

The Roadrunners connected on 15 of 31 from the field and three of six from 3-point distance over the first and second quarters.


Louisiana Tech forward Anna Larr Roberson, a career 1,000-point scorer for the Lady Techsters, did not play. She was on the bench with what appeared to be a cast on her right hand. A LA Tech spokesman described it as a finger injury.

UTSA freshman Alexis Parker did not play. She had a walking boot on her right foot and wasn’t suited up. Parker, from Brandeis High School in San Antonio, scored 11 points in UTSA’s last game, a 93-89 overtime loss at Houston on Dec. 21.

JB’s video replay

Jenkins on the run

Driving for two

In the spin cycle

Willis scores 30 as Louisiana Tech routs UTSA, 95-71

Keaston Willis scored 30 points and Cobe Williams added 19 Saturday night as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs jumped on UTSA early and cruised to a 95-71 victory in Conference USA basketball.

Willis, a sophomore transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, hit 10 of 14 shots from the field and 8 of 12 from three-point distance.

Leading by 15 points at intermission in the game played at Ruston, La., the Bulldogs kicked their offense into high gear, boosting the lead on the Roadrunners to as many as 28 with eight minutes remaining.

“Got whooped in every phase,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

As a result, Louisiana Tech made amends for a 63-60 loss at home to the UTEP Miners, while UTSA failed to capitalize on momentum from a 98-79 overtime road victory against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, with both games played Thursday night.

UTSA shot 24 percent in the first half and 41.7 percent for the the game en route to their 15th loss in their last 18 games.

In so many of their losses this season, the Roadrunners failed to get enough players involved in the scoring, and it happened again against the Bulldogs.

Center Jacob Germany produced 21 points and 10 rebounds. Gurd Dhieu Deing scored 15. But after that, there was not much production.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah scored 21 on Thursday at Southern Miss. He was held to six against Louisiana Tech. Erik Czumbel had 16 against the Golden Eagles but was held scoreless against the Bulldogs.

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, coming back from an ankle injury, was also scoreless.

With the loss, UTSA fell to 0-2 against Louisiana Tech this season. LA Tech downed UTSA 79-63 on Jan. 8 in San Antonio.

First half

Louisiana Tech produced a series of highlight-reel moments in the first half, knocking down eight 3-pointers and two crowd-inspiring dunks en route to a 42-27 lead on the UTSA Roadrunners.

Willis hit five of the 3-pointers and had 17 points. Williams energized the fans with a dunk that pushed the Bulldogs to a 28-7 lead.

He came down the baseline and elevated before catching a lob from Kenneth Lofton Jr., and then slamming it. Not to be outdone, Amorie Archibald streaked downcourt on a fast break and threw down a tomahawk late in the half.

The Roadrunners were fortunate, in a sense, to be down by only 15 at halftime. They fell behind 10-0 and 18-2 in the game’s opening moments. They trailed by 21 three times before they started to attack and get to the free throw line.

Two free throws by Deing with 38 seconds left cut the lead to 40-27. For the half, the Roadrunners hit only 6 of 25 shots from the field and committed eight turnovers. Germany led the team at the break with nine points.


UTSA 9-19, 2-13
Louisiana Tech 19-7, 10-4

Coming up

Feb. 24 — UAB at UTSA.
March 3 — North Texas at UTSA.
March 5 — Rice at UTSA.


“We started the game with turnovers. They got hot right out of the gate. We wanted to open the game with a little bit of zone.

“We never even got into it, they were scoring so fast. Just a horrible start to the game, both ends of the floor,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast.

Added Henson: “We dug a huge hole in both halves and got whooped in every phase. Couldn’t keep the ball in front. Couldn’t get to the three-point shooters.

“Crazy part of is that Lofton never really (got) going. You know, he had some foul trouble.

“He’s a big part of what they do. They got so many good players around him, they were able to do it on a night when it wasn’t his best night.”

UTSA aims for another road victory at LA Tech

Coming off an emotional victory, the UTSA Roadrunners will attempt to complete a two-game road sweep today when they play the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Tipoff against one of the top teams in the Conference USA West division is at 6 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center at Ruston, La.

The Roadrunners were 0-10 on the road this season before they downed the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 98-79 in overtime Thursday night in Hattiesburg.

Led by Dhieu Deing and Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, UTSA knocked down 15 three-pointers in the victory over Southern Miss, hitting all five from beyond the arc in OT.

The Roadrunners outscored the Golden Eagles 22-3 in the five-minute, extra period.

With the victory, UTSA snapped out of a two-month funk, during which they lost 14 out of 16 games.

Louisiana Tech downed UTSA 79-63 on Jan. 8 in San Antonio, as guard Amorie Archibald scored 31 points for the Bulldogs.

Lately, the Dogs have hit a rough patch, losing four of their last seven games. In their last outing, they lost 63-60 at home to the UTEP Miners on Thursday night.

Louisiana Tech made 16 turnovers and missed 14 free throws in the loss to UTEP.


UTSA 9-18, 2-12
Louisiana Tech 18-7, 9-4

Coming up

Feb. 24 — UAB at UTSA.
March 3 — North Texas at UTSA.
March 5 — Rice at UTSA.

Louisiana Tech nails 14 threes, scores a lopsided victory at UTSA

Lachlan Bofinger. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Lachlan Bofinger battles Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton Jr. for a rebound Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center. Lofton and the Bulldogs won 79-63 to complete a two-game, Conference USA sweep in Texas this week. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In the beginning, 6-foot-7, 275-pound sophomore Kenneth Lofton Jr. picked up a nifty steal on the perimeter and then made like a mack truck in over-drive, dribbling the length of the floor for a layup.

But in the end, it wasn’t really the Lofton show as much as it was an Amorie Archibald highlight reel.

UTSA limited Lofton to 5 of 14 shooting from the field, only to see Archibald and the Louisiana Tech perimeter players get on a red-hot shooting roll in a 79-63 victory for the Bulldogs over the slumping Roadrunners at the Convocation Center.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Jordan Ivy-Curry scored 22 points, including 13 in the second half. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Archibald, a senior guard, scored a game-high 31 points. He hit 12 of 14 shots from the field and 6 of 6 from three-point distance, helping his team sweep a two-game Conference USA road trip through Texas.

After downing the UTEP Miners in El Paso Thursday night, the Bulldogs came to San Antonio and toyed with the Roadrunners, knocking down 14 of 28 threes.

The performance sent UTSA reeling to its second-straight, C-USA loss of the week, both at home, and its fifth loss in its last six games overall.


Louisiana Tech 13-3, 4-0
UTSA 7-9, 0-3

A coach’s lament

In a post-game visit with reporters, UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t sugar-coat his feelings, implying that his locker room speech to players may have been a little bit blunt.

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Kenneth Lofton Jr. finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Lofton grabbed 34 rebounds combined in victories over UTEP and UTSA this week.. – Photo by Joe Alexander

But he also tried to stay positive with three straight road games looming.

“They know I’m not going to go in there and try to make ’em feel better,” Henson said. “You know, we lost a game and didn’t make enough plays to give ourselves a legitimate chance to win. I also told them there were some stretches, some things we can build on.

“We’ve got a great deal of respect for (LA Tech). They’re one of the two or three best teams in the league. They’ve got depth. They’ve got so many good players.”

UTSA dropped to 0-3 in conference for the second straight season. Last year, the Roadrunners pulled it together and finished 9-7 in the C-USA. Can they do something like that again? Let’s just say, there is a lot of work to be done.

Assessing the Bulldogs

How good are the Bulldogs?

They entered play ranked No. 70 in the NET rankings, the tool that the NCAA uses to sort out the relative strength of its 358 Division I teams. Going up against the Roadrunners, at No. 336, they were expected to win — and they did.

At the same time, it’s never easy to sweep a road trip in the C-USA, and they did it in workman-like fashion, winning at UTEP by 12 points and at UTSA by 16. In El Paso, they held the Miners to 33 percent shooting. In San Antonio, they shot 48.4 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent in the second half.

Cedrick Alley Jr. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Cedrick Alley Jr. squeezes off a shot Saturday afternoon against Louisiana Tech. – Photo by Joe Alexander

They led by as many as 23 mid-way through the second half after Archibald came out firing after intermission. Archibald was four-for-four from long distance in the half, and he celebrated after some of them by blowing kisses to the sky.

“My coaches and my teammates just tell me to keep shooting when I’m open,” he said. “Last game, I didn’t really play to the best of my abilities. I just wanted to come out and give my team my best effort.”

Archibald said he felt like the Bulldogs “played great” the day after a long day on the road.

“Coming from El Paso, that’s a lot of traveling,” Archibald said. “But I feel like we battled through the adversity. That’s what coach talks about a lot. You know, those (road) sweeps don’t really come a lot in Conference USA. So, we took that into consideration, that we could do it, and I feel like we executed.”

Individual highlights

Louisiana Tech — Archibald, 31 points. Cobe Williams, 15 points, including 5 of 8 on three pointers. Lofton, 12 points and 16 rebounds in 27 minutes.

UTSA — Jordan Ivy-Curry, 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Jacob Germany, 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Also, 13 rebounds. Off the bench, Lamin Sabally, 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 3 on three pointers. Darius McNeil, 7 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 21 minutes off the bench.


The Roadrunners fell to 0-2 since they announced the departure of guard Dhieu Deing from the program. Deing had been averaging 15.3 points and 5 rebounds a game … Both Cedrick Alley, Jr., and Aleu Aleu were held to a combined three points. Pressured when he touched the ball on the perimter, Aleu went scoreless. He got off only one shot — a three-point attempt — and missed it. Alley was 1 for 7 from the field …

Darius McNeill. The UTSA men's basketball team lost to Louisiana Tech 79-63 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior guard Darius McNeill finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Defensively, UTSA did a good job with Lofton, a 2021 Conference USA all-freshman team member. The sophomore from Port Arthur came in averaging 17.1 points. Outside of a few plays, he never found a rhythm while being shadowed by the taller Germany and banged around by Phoenix Ford and others … In bench play, UTSA got a little more production than it had been getting, with freshman Lamin Sabally and senior Darius McNeil leading the way. The Roadrunners also played well offensively in the second half, shooting 51.7 percent and scoring 37 after intermission.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Louisiana Tech shooting guard Keaston Willis. Willis played last year at San Antonio-based Incarnate Word and led the Cardinals into the Southland Conference tournament. Willis finished with 3 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He was 1 for 8 from the field. Afterward, he met with some friends wearing the UIW red and black.

Coming up

Jan. 13 — UTSA at Old Dominion.
Jan. 15 — UTSA at Charlotte.
Jan. 20 — UTSA at UTEP.
Jan. 23 — UTEP at UTSA.

Frustrated Roadrunners know they can play at a higher level

Steve Henson. men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s Roadrunners face a daunting stretch of games starting with Louisiana Tech at home on Saturday. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Plenty of questions swirled around the UTSA Roadrunners Friday morning as they prepared for a film session at noon, followed by a short practice and then an afternoon game Saturday against the powerful Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Guard Dhieu Deing, their leading scorer, has left the program to pursue professional basketball opportunities.

In addition, they’ve lost four of their last five games, including four straight against NCAA Division I competition.

Perhaps most concerning, the Roadrunners have now dropped their first two on the Conference USA schedule leading into Saturday’s 3 p.m. tipoff against Kenneth Lofton, Jr., and the Bulldogs.

It doesn’t get any easier after that as UTSA braces for three C-USA games in a row on the road.

Addressing the team’s situation after a 74-73 loss at home Thursday night to Southern Miss, UTSA coach Steve Henson acknowledged the challenge but maintained a positive outlook, given 16 games remaining on the C-USA schedule, including one Covid-related makeup.

“A lot of games left,” Henson said. “We got to play better, bottom line. This was an important game, because it was a home game. We talked about the early stretch (in conference) with a bunch of road games and home games against good opponents.

“So, it’s going to be important for our guys to stay together. They’re a little frustrated. We’re not playing the way we think we can. It doesn’t get any easier on Saturday. We know that. Then we go on the road for two.

“We got to keep our heads up and make progress.”

Coming up

Saturday, 3 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA.


Louisiana Tech 12-3, 3-0
UTSA 7-8, 0-2


The Bulldogs ran their record in conference to 3-0 late Thursday night with a 64-52 road victory at UTEP. LA Tech smothered UTEP defensively, holding the Miners to 33 percent shooting. The Bulldogs also were aggressive in controlling the boards, 42-31.

Much of that was because of Lofton, who had 11 points and 18 rebounds. Outside of Lofton, one of the premier post players in the nation, sophomore guard Cobe Williams has evolved into a dangerous offensive threat.

Williams has scored 57 points in conference, including 22 against Marshall and 18 against Western Kentucky in home victories last week. The 6-footer from Dallas had 11 of his 17 on the Miners in the first half, when the Bulldogs surged to a 41-25 lead.

Lofton, a 6-foot-7, 275-pound sophomore, is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Surprising UTSA set to play two today against No. 14 LA Tech

The UTSA Roadrunners have quietly started to drop subtle hints to the rest of Conference USA that they might be a factor in the postseason.

UTSA’s latest surprise came Friday night when it held on to beat the 14th-ranked Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 7-5 in a road game at Ruston, La. It was UTSA’s third win in its last five games — all against Top 25 competition.

After the Roadrunners rallied with three runs in the seventh to take the lead, they held on to win the first game of a four-game series behind the pitching of Hunter Mason and Arturo Guajardo.

Grant Miller earned the victory with 1 and 2/3 innings of work. Mason followed with scoreless innings in the seventh and the eighth. Guajardo, UTSA’s sixth pitcher, delivered with a scoreless ninth for the save.

Leyton Barry hit a two-run homer for the Roadrunners, who handed Tech starting pitcher Jonathan Fincher his first loss of the season. The Roadrunners and Bulldogs continue the series today in a 2 p.m. doubleheader. The finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.


Arkansas 6, Tennessee 5

Rankings: (1) Arkansas; (4) Tennessee
Friday’s rundown: Falling behind by five runs after the first inning, the top-ranked Razorbacks were sparked by home runs from Robert Moore and Brady Slavens to rally for the SEC road win.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 11 a.m., at Knoxville, Tenn.

Ole Miss 3, Vanderbilt 1

Rankings: (18) Ole Miss; (2) Vanderbilt
Friday’s rundown: Kevin Graham and TJ McCants homered for Ole Miss as the Rebels, playing at home, handed Kumar Rocker his second loss of the season.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 4 p.m., at Oxford, Miss.

Oklahoma 9, Texas Tech 8

Rankings: (7) Texas Tech
Friday’s rundown: Oklahoma scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th to take the first game of the Big 12 series. Jace Jung, from San Antonio MacArthur, slugged his 17th home run of the season for the Red Raiders.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 2 p.m. in Norman, Okla.