UTSA wins 78-72 to take two from Southern Mississippi

UTSA's Jacob Germany blocks a shot by Southern Miss' Jaron Pierre Jr. with 18 seconds left in the game. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Jacob Germany blocks a shot by Southern Miss’ Jaron Pierre Jr. with 18 seconds left in the game. — Photo by Joe Alexander

For the UTSA Roadrunners, the stakes were high coming into a weekend series against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Sitting in last place in the Conference USA West division standings, the Roadrunners couldn’t afford to lose either of two games at home in the Convocation Center.

Lifted by the scoring of Jhivvan Jackson and a team effort that included clutch plays from two underclassmen, the Roadrunners completed their first C-USA sweep of the season Saturday afternoon with a 78-72 victory over the Golden Eagles.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 24 points and hit six three-point shots Saturday afternoon. — Photo by Joe Alexander.

Jackson scored 24 points and passed for six assists. Sophomore Jacob Germany blocked two shots in the last minute and, not to be denied, precocious freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to help fend off the visitors from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

UTSA coach Steve Henson was pleased to win two but he lamented his team allowing Southern Miss to make it so close down the stretch. The Roadrunners led by 15 with nine minutes remaining and then had to scramble at the end to avoid what might have been a crushing loss.

“It was a little more drama than we really needed,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Both games, really. We had too many good stretches to make it that difficult.”

Looking at it another way, the Roadrunners felt much better about themselves after their fourth series in the C-USA’s regular season. Two losses at Rice, followed by a split at home against North Texas, followed by another two road losses at Louisiana Tech had them buried at 1-5 and searching for answers.

Adrian Rodriguez started his second game in a row, both Roadrunners victories, as UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Adrian Rodriguez started his second game in a row, both Roadrunners victories, as UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Last week, Henson said he felt like the Roadrunners weren’t that far away from turning around their fortunes. He was right on that point. Against Southern Miss, Jackson flashed the form that has led to all-conference designations each of the past two seasons. On Friday, he had 25 in a 70-64 victory, and then he went off again on Saturday.

Playing in front of the home fans, his showmanship has become almost routine until you consider that he has scored 2,328 points in a little more than three years, boosting him into a tie for 139th in NCAA basketball history, according to a list published by sports-reference.com.

On Friday, Jackson was aggressive, drawing contact that put him on the free-throw line 13 times. On Saturday, he launched from long distance, nailing six of 10 from beyond the arc. More than anything, Jackson is buoyed by the improvement of a team desperate to get back into the mix of contenders in the C-USA.

“Like I was telling ya’ll yesterday, we need every win we can get,” Jackson said. “We fought hard today on defense. We didn’t make a lot of shots today — down the stretch, especially. But our defense kept us in. Free throws, as well. Today was more defense than offense.”


UTSA 3-5, 7-8
Southern Miss 3-5, 7-8

Coming up

UTEP at UTSA, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Southern Miss 78-72 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry drives it on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The freshman from La Marque had 22 points combined in victories Friday and Saturday. — Photo by Joe Alexander


Two young players on the UTSA roster stepped up when the team needed them most. Just as the rest of the C-USA was about to write off the Roadrunners who were 1-5 in conference coming into a two-game series against Southern Miss, sophomore Jacob Germany and freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry helped lead the team to a couple of much-needed victories. Germany had a double-double on Friday night and came back with 13 points and eight rebounds Saturday afternoon. Germany, a 6-11 center, added two blocks in the final minute. Ivy-Curry nailed a clutch three to stop a late Southern Miss run in Game 1, and then followed with 14 points and four rebounds in Game 2. The player known as “Juice” added an exclamation point by knocking down two free throws with 14.3 seconds left Saturday.


“We talked last year about Jacob’s poise … Some of those non-conference games against high major opponents, he was relaxed. Comfortable. Very, very poised. Juice is very, very comfortable. You know, the moment is certainly not going to be too big for him. The three-pointer that Juice hit last night was huge. Southern Miss had gone zone (on defense). We ran the play exactly the way we wanted the first zone possession and Jhivvan missed a three. Then we turned it over … All of a sudden, it was going to start wearing on us, and Juice was open, bangs a three and that was a huge play in the game … Jacob makes game-winning plays (with blocks, both games) … Juice just plays.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson.


UTSA — Jhivvan Jackson, 24 points on 8 of 18 shooting, including 6 of 10 from three. He also had four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Jordan Ivy-Curry, 14 points, including 3 of 5 threes. Jacob Germany, 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting. Eight rebounds. Two blocks. Keaton Wallace, 12 points on 4 of 19 shooting. Five rebounds. Four assists.

Southern Miss — LaDavius Draine, 19 points on 5 of 10 from three. Tyler Stevenson, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jaron Pierre Jr., 12 points on four of eight shooting. Four rebounds. Two assists. Two steals. DeAndre Pinckney, 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks.


The Roadrunners were able to hang on Saturday in spite of making only two field goals in the final 8:48. One of the buckets can be seen in the video below:

In a key second-half play, UTSA forward Cedrick Alley, Jr., runs the wing, takes a pass from Jhivvan Jackson and slams it on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

Jackson scores 25, UTSA hangs on to defeat Southern Miss

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 25 points, including seven in the last two minutes, as UTSA pulled out a victory over Southern Miss. — Photo by Joe Alexander

After downing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 70-64 Friday night, the UTSA Roadrunners gave themselves a chance to dream of pulling off a compelling first this season.

For the first time, they can win both ends of a two-game, Conference USA series if they can just dig down and do the little things again Saturday afternoon. Game time between West Division rivals is set for 3 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 70-64 in Conference USA action at the Convocation Center on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson said he felt good about one of his team’s better defensive efforts this season. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA senior Jhivvan Jackson said it would mean “everything” if UTSA could complete the double against Southern Miss.

“Right now, we need every win we can get,” said Jackson, who led the Roadrunners with 25 points. “Our players know that. Everybody knows, we’re last (place) right now. Everybody’s seen it because we got the standings right outside the locker room.

“You know, we’re not a team to be last. We understand that. But, it takes a lot (to win). You know, it takes playing defense.

“I feel like ya’ll get tired of me saying ‘play defense.’ But that’s all that’s stopping us from getting wins. Regardless if we shoot bad, or, we have a bad shooting night, we’re still one of the top offensive teams in the league.

“At the end of the day, we got to come back tomorrow and play better defense than we did today.”

Playing better on the defensive end than they did Friday could be a tall order. The Roadrunners, who, statistically, rank as one of the poorest defensive teams in the C-USA, held the Golden Eagles to 5 of 20 shooting from the field in the first 14 minutes of the game.

Southern Miss, led by guard Tyler Stevenson, ended up making it a very competitive game. What was once a 17-point UTSA lead in the first half was whittled to five at halftime and to one twice late in the second half.

Nonetheless, the Roadrunners held the Golden Eagles to 37.1 percent shooting for the game, which was the difference as the Roadrunners snapped a two-game losing streak.

“It was close,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “We had an opportunity (in the second half) to pop it open and couldn’t do it … But overall, very, very pleased with our intensity, our fight, our effort. You could see our guys came out with the right mindset in the first half. One of our better defensive games.”


UTSA 6-8, 2-5
Southern Miss 7-7, 3-4

Coming up

Southern Miss at UTSA, 3 p.m. Saturday


Injured starting guard Erik Czumbel didn’t play for the Roadrunners. As a result, UTSA went with Jackson, Keaton Wallace and Eric Parrish on the wings, with Adrian Rodriguez (in his first start) at one forward and Jacob Germany in the post. Czumbel banged his knee in a collision with another player in practice on Thursday, and it was decided that he wouldn’t play. Henson is hopeful the sophomore from Italy can be ready for Saturday.


“(Czumbel) is one of our toughest guys. He’ll play through anything. He just couldn’t do it. I saw him on my way to do the radio … The doctor looked at him. He’s feeling better every hour. He was moving better after the game than he did earlier today. So hopefully, we can get him back out there … He looked good 15 minutes ago,” Henson told reporters on a zoom conference.

UTSA by the numbers

With the victory, the Roadrunners improved to 6-1 at home in the Convocation Center … Jackson hit season highs in free throw makes (11) and attempts (13). His production in both of those categories is down from last year, when he was the nation’s second-leading scorer … Interestingly, history shows that UTSA has been up and down in the first seven games of the C-USA schedule under Henson, whose first year with the program was 2016-17. In his first year, he was 4-3, followed by 2-5, 5-2, 3-4 and now 2-5 again … In 2017-18, the first season at UTSA for guards Jackson and Keaton Wallace, Henson’s Roadrunners bounced back from the 2-5 start to finish 11-7 and tied for second in the conference …


UTSA — Jackson, 25 points, on 6 of 15 from the field. Also, 2 of 7 from three and 11 of 13 at the line. Wallace, 18 points, including 3 of 8 from three. He also had eight rebounds. Jacob Germany, 11 points, 11 rebounds, five blocked shots.

Southern Miss — Tyler Stevenson, 23 points and 10 rebounds. He hit 8 of 18 from the field. Jaron Pierre, Jr., 10 points, three assists. LaDavius Draine, eight points on three of eight shooting.

For UTSA, can a ‘down-hill’ offense lead to a better defense?

UTSA men's basketball head coach Steve Henson at Friday's game against North Texas at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson and the UTSA Roadrunners host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles tonight. — Photo by Joe Alexander

If you run across a perfect formula for guarding the pick and roll in basketball, please let me know.

I’ve been watching hoops closely since the 1970s. Since Texas’ Abe Lemons chomped on those short, un-lit cigars in Austin. Since Doug Moe’s Spurs jingle-jangled their way out of the ABA and into the NBA.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat North Texas 77-69 in a Conference USA game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson says he’d like to get Jhivvan Jackson, UTSA’s all-time leading scorer, involved in more action going toward the basket. — Photo by Joe Alexander

And with all due respect to Hubie Brown and Gregg Popovich, two of the greatest defensive strategists of all time, I really haven’t seen anyone come up with a fool-proof method to stop the pick (or screen) and roll.

A ball handler dribbles at the top of the key with a defender, knees bent, hoping to get a stop. The ball handler’s teammate runs over and screens the defender. Freed from pressure for an instant, ball handler pounds the dribble and surges into the lane. Defensive players rotate to stop the drive. Screener rolls to the hoop…

Coaches through the ages have debated how to defend such a ploy. But, in the vast majority of instances, the offense gets a basket or, at least, an open look at the rim. It is almost inevitable.

It is the reason why the pick and roll is almost as old as the peach basket itself and continues to be deployed by everyone from dad coaches in youth sports, to Coach K and on to the elite coaches in the NBA.

Which brings us to today’s topic on the floundering UTSA Roadrunners, who rank last in points allowed and third-to-last in both field-goal and three-point percentage defense in Conference USA.

Yes, after defense was stressed since last summer and throughout the preseason workouts, members of the UTSA coaching staff have a right to feel some exasperation.

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat North Texas 77-69 in a Conference USA game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior guard Keaton Wallace has boosted the Roadrunners with inspired play on both ends of the floor for four years. Could he become even more effective with a few more trips to the free throw line per game? — Photo by Joe Alexander

Players likely are feeling some frustration themselves after a 1-5 start to the C-USA phase of the schedule. Do they continue to attack screen and roll? Do they try some other ploy?

What about double-teaming the post? The tactic worked fairly well in the first game at Louisiana Tech last week, but then it backfired some in the second meeting, leaving shooters open to hit from the perimeter.

And now, after losing twice in Louisiana, UTSA has returned home to face Southern Miss tonight and Saturday. Likely, some of the same problems UTSA has encountered all season defensively will crop up again this weekend.

But if I’m reading the Roadrunners right, I think they might take a crack at another strategy. I think they might ask their best offensive players, including Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace, to start attacking on the dribble a little more. Get them going to the bucket more.

UTSA coach Steve Henson said the team has worked the past two weeks on initiating more of that action offensively in an effort to make defenses work harder and, perhaps, foul more.

“We know that we’ve got to defend better,” Henson said. “But I still think that, offensively, we have a lot of room to improve. I really do. I think we can get easier shots … If we do that, we know that’ll help our defense.

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat North Texas 77-69 in a Conference USA game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Center Jacob Germany is shooting 84.8 percent from the free throw line. But he’s taking only 2.5 per game. Seems the Roadrunners could get more production out of him if he was on the line more.. — Photo by Joe Alexander

“We tried to go all year the other way. We talked about defending at a certain level regardless of what’s happening on the other end. But, still, there’s something to be said for seeing that ball go through the net. It feeds your defensive energy. That’s kind of been our issue.

“We just don’t lock in and defend at a high enough level night in and night out, possession after possession after possession, to carry ourselves through those stretches where we’re not good offensively.”

In other words, you can’t always stop a good offensive player or a good offense. But if you can work those same players and get them in foul trouble, then, maybe they become less aggressive.

The ploy seems to have worked for UTSA’s opponents, who have outscored UTSA 211-157 at the free throw line this season. In fact, opponents have made more free throws this year than UTSA has attempted (209).

On average, the Roadrunners are taking only 16.07 free throws per game, to opponents’ 21.38. They’re making 12.07, to opponents’ 16.23.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat North Texas 77-69 in a Conference USA game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry has emerged as another player with dribble-drive capability for the Roadrunners, who are being outscored 16.2-12.1 at the free throw line this season. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Jackson and Wallace are both taking and making fewer free throws than they have in years past.

Jackson’s free-throw attempts are down — 5.68 to 3.16 per game — from last year to this year. His makes are also down, 4.84 to 2.41. As for Wallace, it’s the same thing. He attempted 3.87 at the line last year, compared to 2.61 right now. His makes have declined, 3.12-1.92.

Discussing his team’s offensive execution this week, Henson admitted that his team has been lacking the element of finishing possessions with drives toward the basket, which tend to lead to more frequent trips to the line.

Outside of Jackson, Wallace and freshman Jordan Ivy-Curry, UTSA just doesn’t have many players with that skillset.

Nevertheless, Henson seems determined to generate more action like that. He said that for the past few weeks, he’s tried to draw up some new things, “trying to create those alleys, trying to create opportunities to get down hill.”

Would he like to see Jackson and Wallace, his senior leaders, get a little more aggressive in that way?

“Yes,” the coach said. “Something has to precede that, though. The set itself has to clear out space. Or you need the roll guy, Jacob (Germany), needs to roll. You got to hit him on the roll, to attract some attention. You can’t just say, ‘Hey, Keaton and Jhivvan, you’ve got to be more aggressive.’

“You have to set that up with some movement, some rubs. You got to create some opportunities to get downhill.”

For Henson, sending his stars into the lane on a few more possessions, instead of watching them take tough threes, might not be the answer for all that ails his team.

But, with a third of the conference season in the books, it’s worth a try.

Who knows?

UTSA opponents might find it much tougher to score if they’re on the bench in foul trouble.

Last place? UTSA hosts Southern Miss, hoping to make amends

Steve Henson. UTSA beat North Texas 77-69 in a Conference USA game on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Steve Henson (right) hopes to get his team turned around this weekend after losing five of six to open the C-USA schedule. — Photo by Joe Alexander

As the last-place UTSA Roadrunners prepare to host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles this weekend, players and coaches are like sailors at sea, peering out over the bow at rolling waves crashing higher and higher on the side of the ship.

They have felt the winds gust and the rain sting their faces at times over the past few years, but nothing like what they have experienced lately.

The Roadrunners (5-8, 1-5 in Conference USA) are off to their rockiest start to a conference schedule in eight years. Veteran fans of the men’s basketball program need to flip through the pages of history to 2012-13, when their team opened with seven straight losses in the Western Athletic Conference, to find a tougher start.

In addition, UTSA has never been four games under .500 after six games in seven previous seasons in the C-USA. But it is notable that Coach Steve Henson started 2017-18 at 2-4 and finished his second year in the program with an 11-7 ledger in the conference.

Last week, the Roadrunners left town, coming off a home victory over North Texas, and lost twice in two days at Louisiana Tech. With little time to wring hands over seeing themselves in last place in the seven-team, C-USA West Division standings, they did what they always do, win or lose.

They went back to practice.

“I think our mindset is pretty good,” Henson said. “You know, disappointed that we didn’t play a little better. Realistic to know that we got to shore some things up. Got to play harder defensively. Got to execute better offensively. Got to shoot better shots.

“But (players) came in with the right mindset. We’ve had some good stretches of practice the last couple of days.”

A sense of urgency could be detected in a Wednesday afternoon zoom call, with junior forward Phoenix Ford talking about working through “a little” adversity as they fine tune for the Golden Eagles.

“It’s definitely a concern, but not too much of a concern where we’re worried or panicking, but there’s definitely a little adversity,” junior forward Phoenix Ford said. “Definitely didn’t expect to start the conference like this, for sure. Just have to bounce back and win the next ones.”

Coming up

Southern Miss at UTSA, Friday, 6 p.m.
Southern Miss at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.


Southern Miss 7-6, 3-3
UTSA 5-8, 1-5

UTSA hits 15 three-pointers and downs Southern Miss, 80-70

Byron Frohnen. UTSA beat Southern Miss 80-70 on Saturday for the Roadrunners' second straight Conference USA victory at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Byron Frohnen enjoyed another strong performance with nine points and eight rebounds as UTSA improved its conference record to 2-2. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners followed up their best game of the season with a victory, but it wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy coach Steve Henson.

Henson knows his team can play better than it did in downing the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, 80-70, Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.

Jhivvan Jackson. UTSA beat Southern Miss 80-70 on Saturday for the Roadrunners' second straight Conference USA victory at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Jhivvan Jackson scored 23 points on 7 of 18 shooting after shaking off a pre-game knee issue. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA buried 15 three-point shots to make up for other issues in a grind-it-out, tougher-than-expected performance against a struggling program.

“Well, to be honest, we didn’t feel great about our practice yesterday or our shoot-around today,” Henson said. “Wasn’t terrible. Wasn’t terrible. But, you can’t have one good game and feel like you’ve arrived.

“I don’t think our guys had conscious bad thoughts. But it was noticeably a little different. Didn’t jump ’em in practice or in the shoot around the way we maybe should have.

“But, you could tell, we just weren’t quite focused.”

On Thursday night, the Roadrunners played well for most of the game in rolling to an 89-73 victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, a team that arrived in San Antonio with a NET national rating of No. 59.

Against the Golden Eagles, rated No. 309, the Roadrunners had to scramble to win by double digits after allowing the lead to be trimmed to three twice, the last time with 6:28 remaining.

Fortunately for the Roadrunners, rated No. 209, they switched to a zone defense to thwart the Eagles at the end.

They also hit all eight free throws down the stretch, including six of six by Jhivvan Jackson, to put the visitors away.

Jackson, the second-leading scorer in the nation, produced 23 points and six rebounds to pace the Roadrunners. Keaton Wallace added 16 points and four assists.

As a team, the Roadrunners nailed 15 of 27 from behind the arc to give them 33 of 59 on the homestand.

Six players hit from deep, including little-used freshman Makani Whiteside, who made two of them in the second half.


UTSA 8-9, 2-2
Southern Miss 4-13, 0-4

Coming up

UTSA travels to play at UTEP on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The two teams will play again in San Antonio next Saturday at 3 p.m.

Jackson’s adversity

Even with two victories in the past three days, Jackson endured a difficult week, in some respects.

In Thursday’s victory, he scored 37 points against the Bulldogs but tweaked his surgically-repaired knee on a fall in the second half.

Jackson said he was feeling it before the game against Southern Miss.

“My knee swelled up a little,” he said. “Other than that, once I step on that floor, it doesn’t matter what’s wrong with me. I’m going to play.

“We got the best trainer (Josh Modica) in the country. He helped me get loose. That’s why I got out here (for warm-ups) a little late.”

If physical pain wasn’t enough of a worry, Jackson also was concerned about family in Puerto Rico, where a series of earthquakes have rocked the Caribbean Island.

The latest hit Saturday morning.

Jackson said his family is OK. “They didn’t have power for a couple of days, but they’re good now,” he said. “I mean, just taking it one day at a time.”

A freshman’s day

After a series of strong practices by Whiteside early this week, he was due for some additional playing time.

Though he did not get off the bench against Louisiana Tech, the 6-foot-4 guard from California logged eight productive minutes against Southern Miss.

He pleased the coach with his defense and with his shot-making, a 2-for-2 showing on three-pointers in the second half.

“Coming in I was expecting to play a little, so I just tried to stay ready,” he said.

Whiteside has moved up in the guard rotation in the wake of an injury to Adokiye Iyaye, who is out 6-8 weeks with a broken right thumb.

“First of all, I’d like to say, I’m praying for Doke,” he said. “But truth be told, there are minutes to be had.”

A painful birthday

UTSA had a scare early in the second half when starting point guard Erik Czumbel, celebrating his birthday, was hit in the face early in the second half.

He had to come out so that trainers could stop the bleeding. Diagnosed with a broken nose, Czumbel did return to the game wearing a protective mask and even hit a three-pointer out of the corner.

Henson said he should be able to continue to practice and play.

First-half recap

Playing patient basketball, the Roadrunners built a 35-31 first-half lead. But in many respects, it was an uninspired showing, with the Golden Eagles out-rebounding the Roadrunners 17-12. Of the 17 boards, the visitors pulled down five on the offensive end.

Wallace kept UTSA ahead on the scoreboard by nailing five shots, including four threes, to lead the Roadrunners with 14 points. Jackson had 12.

Second-half notes

The Roadrunners weren’t quite right in the second half, either, giving up 48 percent shooting from the field. They also were foul prone, allowing the Golden Eagles to hit 14 of 16 at the line. But on offense, UTSA had much better balance, with nine different players scoring and five players making threes. Whiteside and Czumbel made two each.

Southern Miss routs UTSA, 81-48, in regular-season finale

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles knocked down 16 three pointers Saturday and blew out the UTSA Roadrunners 81-48 in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Playing at home in Reed Green Coliseum at Hattiesburg, Southern Miss held UTSA to 28.8 percent shooting in handing the Roadrunners their worst loss of the season.

Next stop for the Roadrunners is the Conference USA tournament in Frisco.

As the No. 4 seed, UTSA will get a first-round bye and will open play next Thursday at 6:30 p.m at The Ford Center.

Conference USA
Group 1 standings

Old Dominion 13-5, 23-8
Western Kentucky 11-7, 18-13
Southern Miss 11-7, 19-11
UTSA 11-7, 17-14
UAB 10-8, 18-13

Saturday’s scores

Southern Miss 81, UTSA 48
UAB 64, Old Dominion 50


Southern Miss held UTSA’s high-scoring duo of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace to a combined 12 points. Wallace scored seven points and Jackson five. The Eagles limited Wallace to 2 of 14 shooting and Jackson to 2 of 15.


“Keaton and Jhivvan’s shots were straight-on. Most of ’em straight on, and short. Some of ’em good shots. Some of ’em not. They totally distort what we’re trying to do offensively every time. (Southern Miss coach) Doc (Sadler) does a great job with their switching. Switching and double teaming. You got to be able to find the open guy. They make you make plays.” — UTSA coach Steve Henson.

UTSA to host Old Dominion on Feb. 28 in bonus play

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.

UTSA schedule

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.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles hold off UTSA, 78-71

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Thursday night boosted their chances for a top-five finish in Conference USA with a 78-71 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

Trailing by 13 points early in the game at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the Golden Eagles rallied behind guards Cortez Edwards and Tyree Griffin and forward Leonard Harper-Baker for their fifth straight win.

In the second half, Southern Miss built a 17-point lead, only to have UTSA cut it to three in the final minutes.

But, in response, Harper-Baker and Edwards scored on field goals inside of two minutes, and then Griffin hit both ends of a one-and-one with 42 seconds left for the key plays down the stretch.

Edwards led Southern Miss with 24 points on 11 of 17 shooting. He also had 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Even though Keaton Wallace scored 27 and Jhivvan Jackson 25 for the Roadrunners, the Golden Eagles made them earn it, holding the tandem to a combined 15 of 41 from the field.

Jackson entered the game as the C-USA’s leading scorer and Wallace was third. It didn’t matter in the end, as UTSA remained winless in Hattiesburg at 0-6, including 0-3 under third-year coach Steve Henson.

UTSA will complete a two-game road trip Saturday at Louisiana Tech.


UTSA 15-11, 9-4
Southern Miss 16-9, 8-5

Title chase

Old Dominion 10-3, Western Kentucky 9-4, UTSA 9-4, North Texas 8-5, Southern Miss 8–5.


Trailing 23-10 early, Southern Miss went on an extended run. The Golden Eagles finished the first half, 22-8, to take a one-point intermission lead. They kept applying the pressure after the break, riding a 29-13 streak to a 61-44 lead. Griffin, a 5-10 senior from New Orleans, scored 11 in the stretch.


‘We got off to a good start, really were guarding ’em in the halfcourt … First half was about turnovers. Every time we made a turnover, they scored. They didn’t have anything going in the halfcourt. In the second half, they scored trip after trip after trip. Built the lead. Just whooped us,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

Added Henson: “They beat our man. They beat our 3-2. They beat our 2-3. We didn’t have any other defenses to go to. Finally responded a little bit. Cut into the lead. Took better care of the ball in the second half. Big thing was, turnovers in the first half and them whoopin’ us and kinda punkin’ us there in the second half.”

Coming up

After Saturday’s games, the conference will divide teams into three groups and start bonus play. Teams will play four games within their groups to complete the regular season. Details on the groupings and the schedule will be announced Saturday night. Old Dominion, Western Kentucky and UTSA are solidified in the top group.

UTSA-Charlotte elimination game set for Saturday morning

Officials announced Friday night that an elimination game between UTSA and Charlotte at the Conference USA tournament has been postponed because of weather concerns and will be played at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Southern Miss defeated UTSA 5-3 earlier in the day, sending the Roadrunners into the losers’ bracket.

UTSA is 1-1 in the tournament after beating Charlotte 11-1 on Thursday and then losing to Southern Miss, the top seed.

After losing to UTSA, Charlotte defeated UAB 2-0 in a game that started late Thursday night and finished early Friday mornning.

The tournament is being held at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles choked off a ninth-inning UTSA rally Friday and downed the Roadrunners 5-3 in a winners’ bracket game at the Conference USA tournament.

With the loss, UTSA was sent tumbling into the losers’ bracket, where they will face the Charlotte 49ers tonight. Estimated game time is 9 p.m. The tournament is being played in Biloxi, Miss.

Slugging Matt Wallner hurt the Roadrunners with a home run and a single and two RBI. Hunter Slater also contributed three of the Golden Eagles’ 12 hits.

Tony Beam ripped a two-run homer for UTSA. But Southern Miss pitching held UTSA in check most of the day, allowing eight hits.

Lefthander Stevie Powers (5-1) earned the victory with seven innings of work. He left the game leading 4-2. Trent Driver pitched the last two inninngs for the save.

The Roadrunners made it interesting by scoring a run off Driver in the bottom of the eighth to pull within 4-3. The Golden Eagles retaliated in the top of the ninth with a run to account for the final margin.

In the bottom half, UTSA put two runners on base, only to ground into a game-inning double play. Southern Miss third baseman Luke Reynolds fielded a ground ball, tagged a base runner, executed a spin move and threw to first for the final out.

Starting pitcher Steven Dressler (5-4) worked five innings and took the loss for the Roadrunners.

Southern Miss third baseman Luke Reynolds, the C-USA Player of the Year, executes a sensational game-ending double play.


UTSA 32-22
Southern Miss 41-15


UTSA stroked 18 hits in defeating Charlotte 11-1 to open the tournament on Thursday. The bats weren’t quite as hot against Southern Miss.

Golden Eagles pitching limited the Roadrunners to eight hits.

UTSA senior and team RBI leader Ben Brookover hasn’t played in either game. No word yet on the reason for his absence.

UTSA second baseman Aldo Buendia, a former standout at Laredo Alexander, robs Matt Wallner of a hit with a leaping catch in the eighth inning. At the plate, Buendia is 3 for 8 in two games in the tournament. He is 6 for 16, hitting safely in his last four games overall.

UTSA beats Southern Mississippi for its 16th victory

Nearly two years have passed since the UTSA men’s basketball program bottomed out with a 5-27 record.

Nick Allen was a part of that squad, and so he takes great pride in knowing that he has figured prominently in re-making a culture that prides itself on winning.

Allen produced a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds Thursday night, and UTSA won its 16th game with a 64-56, grind-it-out victory over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at the Convocation Center.

The 6-8 junior from Arizona was beaming when a reporter asked about the atmosphere in the locker room.

“I think we’ve won six out of the last seven, so that’s huge,” Allen said. “The locker room culture has definitely changed. I was part of the team that didn’t do too hot two years ago.

“And, it’s crazy how much the culture’s changed. We want to win. It’s a lot (more fun). Everybody wants to win. Everybody wants to be here. So, it’s definitely nice.”

With the victory, UTSA improved to 16-12 overall and 9-6 in Conference USA. Southern Miss fell to 13-16 and 6-10.

The Roadrunners remain on pace for their best record since the basketball program transitioned out of the Southland Conference six years ago.

UTSA finished 18-14 and 10-6 in conference in 2011-12, its last year in the SLC.

The nine conference victories are the most for any UTSA team in the past five years, since it played one year in the Western Athletic Conference and the past four in the C-USA.

With three games left in the regular season, plus the C-USA tournament, the possibility of reaching 19 or even 20 victories in coach Steve Henson’s second year as coach seems to be a distinct possibility.

“We’re proud of our guys,” said Henson, who finished 14-19 last year. “(But) we’re not talking about a win total right now. We’re talking about what we’re still playing for.

“The results tonight put us back in the hunt for that No. 4 seed, which is huge in the conference tournament.”

After losing 84-79 to Old Dominion, fourth-place Marshall (19-9, 10-5) now leads fifth-place UTSA by only a game.

A tie for fourth would go to UTSA since it beat Marshall 81-77 in San Antonio on Feb. 1.

The top four seeds gain a bye through the first round in the 12-team C-USA tournament.

UTSA’s defense forces a Southern Miss turnover, leading to a layup on the other end, during a key sequence in the second half.

After leading by 22 early, UTSA ducked into the dressing room at intermission with only a 37-28 advantage.

Southern Miss played well in final eight minutes, out-scoring the home team, 19-6.

Guard Tyree Griffin led the charge with seven points. Guard Domini Magee also produced a key sequence with a layup, a steal and another layup.

At one point, the Roadrunners held a 31-9 advantage when forward Deon Lyle nailed a three with 8:19 remaining.

Nick Allen scores on a fast break layup on an assist from Keaton Wallace early in the first half.

Stat leaders

UTSA: Nick Allen (18 points on 8 of 13 shooting, 11 rebounds); Deon Lyle (14 points, including four 3-pointers); Jhivvan Jackson (10 points, seven rebounds); Keaton Wallace (10 points, four assists).

Southern Miss: Tyree Griffin (17 points, two 3-pointers, four assists); Cortez Edwards (12 points, seven rebounds). 2 of UTSA’s first 14 points.

Coming up

Saturday: Louisiana Tech at UTSA, 7 p.m., Southern Miss at UTEP.

Tournament time

March 7-10: C-USA tournament at Frisco.