UTSA celebrates after Griffin Paxton (22) hits a three-run homer in the first inning of Saturday’s first game. – photo by Joe Alexander
The UTSA baseball team probably hasn’t swept many, if any, doubleheaders from nationally-ranked teams in their three-decade history. Until Saturday afternoon, that is.
The Roadrunners took two seven-inning games at home from the 19th-ranked Old Dominion Monarchs, winning 12-10 and then 11-0.
If the sweep wasn’t surprise enough, the second game was something of a shocker in that a usually inconsistent UTSA pitching staff stepped up to toss a two-hit shutout.
UTSA’s Chase Keng (4), Joshua Lamb (2) and Shea Gutierrez (3) all scored in the first inning of the first game on a triple by Leyton Barry (top), who slides into third. – photo by Joe Alexander
The trio of Jacob Jimenez, Grant Miller and Hunter Mason pulled it off against one of the best offenses in Conference USA. Combined, Jimenez, Miller and Mason struck out 12 and walked two.
The Monarchs were held hitless until two out in the sixth when Carter Trice hit a double off Mason.
All day, the UTSA hitting attack was strong.
In the opener, the Roadrunners smashed out 14 hits, including home runs from Griffin Paxton and Dylan Rock. In the second game, they kept it rolling with 13 hits, with homers coming from Paxton again, Nick Thornquist and Chase Keng.
UTSA 13-13, 21-20
Old Dominion 18-8, 32-12
Old Dominion at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m. (No general public tickets)
UTSA celebrates after Dylan Rock (27) homered to score his second run of the first inning and give the Roadrunners a 9-3 lead over Old Dominion. – photo by Joe Alexander
The Old Dominion Monarchs shot 57.1 percent from the field in the second half Wednesday night, breaking from an intermission tie and routing the UTSA Roadrunners, 84-59.
In the game played on Old Dominion’s home court in Norfolk, Va., Monarchs guard A.J. Oliver produced a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Four other ODU players scored in double figures, including Xavier Green with 19, Malik Curry (15), Joe Reece (13) and Kalu Ezikpe (10).
Keaton Wallace led three UTSA players in double digits with 18 points. Jhivvan Jackson scored 14 and Jacob Germany 10.
The Roadrunners shot 27.3 percent in the second half and 32.8 percent for the game en route to their second-widest margin of defeat this season.
UTSA’s 25-point deficit was second only to a 32-point loss at Utah State on Nov. 18, in their fifth game.
Early in the second half, Old Dominion broke open the game with a 26-2 run. With the burst, the Monarchs opened a 66-41 lead.
Jackson, the NCAA’s second-leading scorer, was held out of the starting lineup because he was late to practice earlier this week.
He played 23 minutes and shot 5 of 11 from the floor.
With the performance, Jackson broke the school single-season record for field goals in a season (274).
Derrick Gervin had the old record of 272, set in 1984-85.
He also reached 2,004 points in his career to become the first player in school history to eclipse the 2,000 barrier.
Old Dominion 13-17, 9-8
UTSA 13-17, 7-10
Marshall at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m. It’s the regular-season finale for both teams. The Conference USA tournament is March 11-14 at Frisco.
The Monarchs hit 14 of their first 20 shots from the field in the second half to break the game open. Green, a 6-foot-6 junior, heated up considerably during the stretch. He made four in a row at one point.
“We played zone. We played 2-3. We played 3-2. We played man. None of it worked in the second half. We didn’t compete hard enough, I guess.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.
Jhivvan Jackson, coming off the floor in pain in the second half, scored a team-high 21 points for UTSA on Thursday in a 65-64 loss to Old Dominion at the UTSA Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander
Old Dominion missed a free throw and left UTSA with an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
But the Roadrunners didn’t get the three-point shot they wanted, settling for a too-late-to-matter layup by Jhivvan Jackson with a second remaining.
After that, the Monarchs inbounded the ball, and the buzzer sounded on their 65-64 victory, which yielded both redemption and a Conference USA regular-season title.
A month ago, UTSA erased an 18-point deficit and stunned ODU, 74-73, one of the biggest collapses in NCAA history with less than five minutes remaining.
In the rematch, not only did the Monarchs make amends for their previous trip to San Antonio, they also won their first regular-season crown since 2010 when they were in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“This one feels good,” Old Dominion guard B.J. Stith said. “But we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The Monarchs (23-6, 13-3) can rest a little more easily now, though, knowing that they have the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament locked up.
As for UTSA, much remains unsettled.
The Roadrunners (15-13, 9-6) will need to regroup quickly to clinch a top-four finish in standings and a first-round tournament bye.
UTSA coach Steve Henson – Photo by Joe Alexander
In postgame interviews, Jackson said he slipped when he took a handoff from Keaton Wallace on the last possession.
“By the time I looked down, I was already past the three-point line,” he said. “I tried to get a foul at the layup but they weren’t calling it.”
UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t know why the play didn’t result in a three-point shot attempt.
“I don’t know if we didn’t know the score or thought we had time for a quick two,” the coach said. “Obviously we didn’t have time for a quick two at that point.”
Old Dominion 23-6, 13-3
UTSA 15-13, 9-6
Jackson, the leading scorer in the C-USA, suffered a left shoulder injury and had to come out with 12:38 remaining. After having it worked on by the training staff, he re-entered the game with 10 minutes left and sparked hope with a dramatic drive for a layup. But his night turned sour a few minutes later when he picked up his fourth foul and had to leave the floor again. He didn’t score again until he hit the last layup.
Asked if coming out to have his shoulder checked broke his rhythm, Jackson said, “Yeah, in the moment, the game was really going good. We was getting stops. But, it’s all good, you know. I got back in the game and tried to do everything I could to help the team.”
Od Dominion — B.J. Stith, 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ahmad Caver, 13 points and 10 assists. Xavier Green, 14 points.
UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 21 points on 8 of 19 shooting, three assists. Keaton Wallace, 19 points, six rebounds.
Old Dominion outrebounded UTSA, 43-29, including 15-4 on the offensive glass.
As soon as UTSA junior Giovanni De Nicolao released his shot from beyond halfcourt, it looked good. It was good. He swished it to stun the Monarchs, giving the Roadrunners a 34-32 lead at intermission.
Redshirt freshman center Adrian Rodriguez played well off the bench defensively after senior Nick Allen had to come out with his second foul. With Rodriguez in the game, UTSA stopped Old Dominion on several possessions in a row.
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 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.
The Old Dominion Monarchs on Saturday took another important step toward a Conference USA regular-season championship.
Trailing by three with 1:25 remaining, the Monarchs rallied with seven unanswered points down the stretch to defeat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 67-63, at Norfolk, Virginia.
It was the first game of the C-USA’s Group 1 bonus play, a new scheduling twist employed this season to boost the conference’s appeal in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee.
Other teams in the group include the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, the UTSA Roadrunners and the UAB Blazers. UAB won on the road, defeating Southern Miss 76-72 in overtime in another Group 1 game later Saturday.
UTSA was off.
Group 1 teams will continue the stretch drive for the C-USA title Thursday night, when the Jhivvan Jackson- and Keaton Wallace-led Roadrunners host the Monarchs at the UTSA Convocation Center.
UAB will host Western Kentucky.
Down by three against Old Dominion, Western Kentucky made a late push when Josh Anderson hit a couple of free throws and Lamonte Bearden scored on a driving layup.
Bearden’s bucket put the visitors up 63-60 with a little more than a minute remaining.
A that point, Old Dominion reversed the momentum and tied the score with an Xavier Green three-point jumper.
On the other end, Dajour Dickens blocked a shot by Hilltoppers’ freshman center Charles Bassey.
Green promptly knocked down another shot, a two-point basket, to give the Monarchs a 65-63 lead with 16 seconds left.
Western Kentucky went to Bassey again, and the former San Antonio high school standout got fouled.
A free throw miss and a turnover by Bassey gave the ball to the Monarchs and allowed B.J. Stith to clinch it with two free throws for the final points.
C-USA Standings Group 1
Old Dominion 12-3, 22-6
UTSA 9-5, 15-12
Southern Miss 9-6, 17-10
Western Kentucky 9-6, 16-12
UAB 9-6, 17-11
Note: Each team in Group 1 has four games in bonus play. At the conclusion of the bonus-play schedule, the standings leader is the C-USA regular-season champion. The top four get first-round byes in the C-USA tournament.
Old Dominion 67, Western Kentucky 63
UAB 76, Southern Miss 72, overtime
UTSA is off
Old Dominion at UTSA
Western Kentucky at UAB
Southern Miss is off
The UTSA Roadrunners will get an 11-day break before opening Conference USA bonus play on Feb. 28 at home against Old Dominion, according to the C-USA schedule.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m., with the game telecast on the CBS Sports Network.
UTSA, playing in Group 1 of the C-USA’s new scheduling format, also will host the UAB Blazers before going on the road to face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Feb. 28 — (1) Old Dominion at (4) UTSA, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network
March 3 — (5) UAB at (4) UTSA, 3 p.m., CUSA TV
March 6 — (4) UTSA at (2) Western Kentucky, 6:30 p.m., beIN SPORTS
March 9 — (4) UTSA at (3) Southern Miss, 5 p.m., CUSA TV
C-USA Group 1
1) Old Dominion 11-3, 21-6
2) Western Kentucky 9-5, 16-11
3) Southern Miss 9-5, 17-9
4) UTSA 9-5, 15-12
5) UAB 8-6, 16-11
The Group 1 standings leader after bonus play is the C-USA regular-season champion. The top four teams after bonus play receive byes through the first round of the conference tournament.
UTSA versus the elite
Here is a recap of UTSA’s regular-season games against each of its four opponents in bonus play:
x-UAB 83, UTSA 73, at Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 19 – The Blazers took charge with 16-3 run to close the first half, followed by a 15-0 streak to open the second half
x-UTSA 74, Old Dominion 73, at San Antonio, Jan. 26 – The Roadrunners rocked the Bird Cage with a 25-6 run in the final 4:43 to erase an 18-point deficit.
x-Western Kentucky 96, UTSA 88, overtime, at Bowling Green Ky., Jan. 31 – Hilltoppers won in spite of 46 points from UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson.
x-Southern Miss 78, UTSA 71, at Hattiesburg, Miss., Feb. 14 – Cortez Edwards, Tyree Griffin and Leoard Harper-Baker combined for 56 points, leading the Golden Eagles on a comeback from an early 23-10 deficit.
UTSA players celebrate after time runs out in the Roadrunners’ come-from-behind, 74-73 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday at the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander
Trailing by 18 points with a little less than five minutes remaining Saturday afternoon, the UTSA Roadrunners appeared well on their way to a blowout loss at home against the rugged Old Dominion Monarchs.
As it turned out, appearances didn’t mean all that much on a magical day at the UTSA Convocation Center.
Keaton Wallace scored a game-high 29 points with nine 3-pointers, including the game winner with 15 seconds remaining. – Photo by Joe Alexander.
The Roadrunners rallied with a miraculous 25-6 run in the final 4 minutes and 43 seconds to defeat the Monarchs, 74-73, seizing a share of the lead in Conference USA.
“I’m at a loss for words,” UTSA guard Keaton Wallace said. “That was a great team win.”
A steal by Byron Frohnen set up the winning play for UTSA.
It gave one last possession to the Roadrunners, who watched as Wallace brought the ball up and circled into the right corner.
From there, he launched an off-balance three-pointer that swished with 15 seconds remaining to account for the final score.
Old Dominion immediately pushed the ball to the other end, only to miss on three shot attempts to win the game.
After the last miss by Justice Kithcart, the horn sounded, prompting the crowd to erupt with a roar.
With fans standing and cheering, UTSA players rushed off the bench to celebrate the program’s largest comeback since officials started charting such things in 2006-07.
In the final 4:43, Old Dominion had the game under control, leading 67-49.
Nick Allen promptly hit a three for UTSA. But B.J. Stith sank a two, keeping the Monarchs comfortably in front, 69-52, with 3:44 remaining.
The lead didn’t last long. UTSA started to pressure with its defense and play faster on offense, nailing six more threes.
Jhivvan Jackson scored 10 points in UTSA’s 25-6, game-ending burst. – Photo by Joe Alexander
They came roaring back to win, generating significant momentum in the C-USA title chase along the way.
Knocking off a team that had held the lead in the conference was significant. It elevated UTSA into a three-way tie for first with North Texas and UAB, with all three at 6-2.
Old Dominion dropped to second at 6-3.
“We needed to win a game like this,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “North Texas has a good record. But to this point, we haven’t beaten many of the real good teams … This was a big win for us, from that standpoint.
“You know, Old Dominion is one of the favorites for the league title. You know, long way to go. But, we’re in a good spot right now. We’re healthy. Chemistry is fantastic. Guys are embracing their roles. That gives us a chance to win every night.”
Old Dominion 16-6, 6-3
UTSA 12-9, 6-2
The Roadrunners swept the homestand, knocking off Charlotte 88-43 on Thursday night and then defeating Old Dominion with the historic game-ending rally. UTSA has won 9 of its last 11 and 12 of 16 leading into next week’s road trip to Western Kentucky and Marshall. The Roadrunners have won eight in a row at home. Wallace tied a career high with nine three pointers.
“You know, I’m not even really sure what happened.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson in his opening remarks to reporters.
“We actually practice that shot, fading to the baseline. I already knew it was going in.” — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson, on Keaton Wallace’s game winner.
UTSA — Keaton Wallace, 29 points on 9 of 17 shooting, including 9 of 15 on three-pointers. Jhivvan Jackson, 21 points, 7 of 24 from the field, 4 rebounds, 5 assists. Nick Allen, 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting, three 3-pointers.
Guard Xavier Green drains a three-point shot early in the second half as the Old Dominion Monarchs start to pull away.
Grinding it out early
Riding the steady play of Stith and Caver, the Monarchs surged to a 40-36 lead on UTSA at halftime. Stith scored 17 points and Caver had 10 for Old Dominion. Much to the chagrin of the UTSA home crowd, the Monarchs aided their cause with 12 of 15 shooting at the free-throw line, including 8 of 9 by Stith. For UTSA, Jackson missed 11 shots from the field. But, fortunately for the Roadrunners, Wallace scored 17 in the half on five threes.
Old Dominion started to dominate the game after intermission. UTSA’s offense seemed stagnant, and ODU took advantage. In one stretch, the Monarchs outscored the Roadrunners 15-2, with point guard Ahmad Caver scoring seven of the points.
Mounting a comeback
With 4:43 remaining, Caver sank a jumper to give Old Dominion a seemingly insurmountable 67-49 lead.
From there, UTSA outscored the visitors 25-6 to the buzzer. During the run, the Roadrunners held the Monarchs to a field goal by Stith and four free throws. Fouled intentionally on most possessions, ODU made only 4 of 10 at the line down the stretch.
The Roadrunners, on the other end, were lighting it up with seven 3-point baskets. Wallace hit three of them, and Jackson and Allen hit two apiece. During the streak, Jackson scored 10 of his team’s points, with Wallace adding nine and Allen six.
Jackson hits the deck after his layup drew UTSA to within two with 32 seconds left.
Coming up big
Wallace was clutch in the last 90 seconds, hitting all three of his 3-pointers in that stretch. First, he nailed one that brought the Roadrunners to within five with 1:15 remaining. Next, he hit again with 42 seconds left to make it a three-point game.
On the other end, Stith answered with one of two free throws, giving Old Dominion a 73-69 edge wth 37 seconds left. Five seconds later, Jackson flashed to the basket, received a pass from Byron Frohnen and sank a twisting layup to pull the Roadrunners within 73-71.
At that point, Frohnen made another big play, forcing a Stith turnover, which set up Wallace’s game-ending dramatics. Wallace got to the corner and swished it for the game’s final points. On the other end, Xavier Green, Stith and Kithcart misfired for Old Dominion, giving the win to UTSA.
Emotions overflow on the UTSA bench and throughout the Convocation Center at the end of Saturday’s game. After Wallace hits out of the corner for the go-ahead basket, Old Dominion misses three times in the last 15 seconds, setting off a wild celebration.
Old Dominion players stage a dunking exhibition in warmups for today’s game at UTSA.
The Old Dominion Monarchs walloped the UTSA Roadrunners 100-62 a year ago in Norfolk, Virginia.
It’s still a painful memory for the Roadrunners, who remember that ODU guard B.J. Stith exploded for 28 of his game-high 36 points before halftime.
UTSA sophomore Keaton Wallace averages 18.8 points per game on the season but is scoring 19.7 in conference. – Photo by Joe Alexander
The Monarchs led by 16 at intermission, broke out to a 29-point lead with 13 minutes remaining and then polished off a 38-point victory when a freshman, Marquis Godwin, hit a three-pointer with a minute remaining.
“That was a bad game for us,” UTSA guard Keaton Wallace said. “I remember that dude got hot on us. (B.J.) Stith ended up getting hot on us, and it was hard for us to come back after that, so we owe them.”
Payback is only part of the motivation today as the Roadrunners host the Monarchs at 3 p.m. at the Convocation Center.
First place in Conference USA is also at stake.
“You know, we didn’t specifically talk to our players about it being for a piece of the lead,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “It’s a big game for a lot of reasons. Our guys respect Old Dominion. They’ve been a terrific program.”
Old Dominion is in first in the C-USA standings at 6-2, followed by UTSA, North Texas, Marshall and UAB, all tied at 5-2.
On Thursday night, the Roadrunners rolled to an 88-43 home victory over the Charlotte 49ers, while the Monarchs won on the road, 50-48, over the UTEP Miners.
Leading by 11 points with nine minutes lef, the Monarchs scrambled to hold off the Miners with two defensive stops in the final minute.
Coach Steve Henson (left) and assistant Mike Peck have led UTSA into a tie for second place in Conference USA. – Photo by Joe Alexander
Today, they’ll show up at the Convocation Center with a swagger, led by Stith and Ahmad Caver, not to mention a deep pool of other quality athletes.
“You know, they do a good job,” Henson said Friday afternoon. “They’ve got an identity. They keep guys in their system. They have veteran guys. (They’re a) great defensive team, (with) two superstars.”
That being said, Henson acknowledged that the Roadrunners are feeling good, without too many nagging injuries and are playing with confidence.
“So, it’ll be exciting to see our guys respond,” he said.
This year, the C-USA’s schedule is different.
On Feb. 16, the conference will divide the 14 teams into three groups based on the standings, with teams in each tier, or pod, playing round robin to determine the final seedings for the C-USA tournament.
Wallace said he is keeping an eye on the standings every day.
“I’m trying to get that top five for the top-five pod,” he said, “so we can play for first.”
Old Dominion 6-2, 16-5
North Texas 5-2, 17-3
UAB 5-2, 13-7
Marshall 5-2, 12-8
UTSA 5-2, 11-9
FIU 4-3, 13-7
WKU 4-3, 11-9
LA Tech 4-4, 14-7
Rice 3-4, 8-12
SouthernMiss 3-5, 11-9
FAU 2-5, 11-9
MiddleTenn 2-5, 5-15
Charlotte 2-6, 5-14
UTEP 1-6, 6-12
Old Dominion at UTSA, 3 p.m.
WKU at LA Tech, 4 p.m.
Marshall at Southern Miss, 4 p.m.
Middle Tennessee at North Texas, 5 p.m.
FAU at FIU, 6 p.m.
UAB at Rice, 7 p.m.
Charlotte at UTEP, 8 p.m.
The UTSA Roadrunners have clinched a spot in the Conference USA baseball tournament.
UTSA assured itself of a chance to play for the C-USA’s postseason title by scoring an 11-3 victory Sunday at Old Dominion.
With the win, the Roadrunners took two of three in the series from the last-place Monarchs.
More importantly, in the long term, the win also settles UTSA’s travel plans for the last week of May.
UTSA will make the trip to Biloxi, Miss., as one of eight C-USA teams battling for the postseason title and the accompanying bid to the NCAA tournament.
UTSA 28-21, 14-12
Old Dominion 15-33, 7-19
Bryan Arias, a UTSA junior from Marshall, led off the game with his seventh home run of the season. The Roadrunners went on to score one run in the first inning, two in the second and one in the third for a 4-0 lead.
UTSA banged out 16 hits one day after getting shut out, 7-0, on a complete-game, five-hitter by ODU’s Morgan Maguire. Trent Bowles had three hits for UTSA, including his team-leading 16th double. He also stole his 14th base, which also leads the team.
Pitcher Chance Kirby enjoyed another quality start by pitching into the seventh inning and yielding two runs on seven hits. Kirby has eclipsed six innings pitched with two or fewer runs allowed in four straight games.
After picking up the win against Old Dominion, he improved his record to 5-4 with a team-best 2.93 earned run average.
UTSA hosts Abilene Christian (non-conference) on Tuesday. UTSA completes the regular-season schedule next weekend with three home games against the C-USA’s Charlotte 49ers starting Thursday night.
The C-USA tournament is set for May 24-28 in Biloxi.