Southern Miss hits six home runs to beat UTSA 9-5 in series finale

Christopher Sargent smashed three home runs on Sunday to power the Southern Miss Golden Eagles’ 9-5 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

The Golden Eagles homered six times in all as they won for the second straight day in a battle of Conference USA contenders.

Southern Miss, playing on its home field, won two of the three meetings in the weekend series to remain entrenched in first place with three games to play in the C-USA race.

By the end of the afternoon, the Golden Eagles led the C-USA, followed by the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who are two games back. The Roadrunners and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders are tied for third, three games out.

The Roadrunners won the opener 8-7 on Friday night in Hattiesburg to pull within one game of the conference lead.

In the final analysis, they couldn’t sustain the momentum, falling 8-3 on Saturday and then watching as Sargent put on an impressive power display at Pete Taylor Park for the 11th-ranked team in the nation.

Sargent, a junior from Wilmer, Ala., was zero for nine in the series coming into the finale.

But he exploded in a game that that decided the series, going three for four at the plate, scoring three runs and driving in four. His three home runs boosted his team-leading total to 18 on the season.

After UTSA took a 2-0 lead in the top of first inning on a Ryan Flores two-run homer, Sargent highlighted a three-run response in the bottom half, answering with a two-run blast of his own off Roadrunners’ starter Drake Smith.

UTSA rallied with three runs in the third to take a 5-3 lead.

But, once again, Sargent had an answer with his potent bat. In the bottom of the third, with UTSA’s Luke Malone on the mound on only one day’s rest, Sargent and Slade Wilks blasted solo home runs to tie the game.

In the fourth, Reece Ewing hit a two-run shot, as the Golden Eagles opened a 7-5 advantage. They never trailed again. Sargent hit a solo homer in the seventh and Carson Paetow added another in the eighth.

With Southern Miss swinging aggressively, UTSA pitching couldn’t match up. Starter Drake Smith got only one out before he yielded three runs on three hits. He was replaced by Malone, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning of Friday night’s victory.

Malone worked 6 and 2/3 innings, and he yielded five runs on seven hits.

The Roadrunners swung the bats well early in the game against USM’s Hurston Waldrep. But they cooled off considerably against relievers Matthew Adams, Justin Storm, Garrett Ramsey and Landon Harper.

UTSA had a chance to rally in the eighth but couldn’t get it done.

With Ramsey on the mound and Southern Miss leading by three runs, Chase Keng opened with a single. Diaz followed with a single, a blast that glanced off Ramsey’s foot and caromed into the outfield.

At that point, Ramsey went down and had to be replaced. Harper entered and struck out Leyton Barry and pinch-hitter Isaiah Walker. Matt King flied out to center to end the inning and the threat.


UTSA 33-18, 17-10
Southern Miss 38-14, 20-7

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 20-7
Louisiana Tech 18-9
UTSA 17-10
Middle Tennessee 17-10
Charlotte 16-11
Old Dominion 16-11
Florida Atlantic 16-11
UAB 12-15

Coming up

Thursday — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Friday — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Saturday — UAB at UTSA, noon.

C-USA tournament

May 25-29 — at Hattiesburg, Miss.

Southern Miss tops UTSA to hold CUSA lead

UTSA first baseman Ryan Flores at bat against Marshall on May 7, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA first baseman Ryan Flores, shown from a game earlier this season, hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning against Southern Miss.

Southern Miss beat UTSA 8-3 Saturday in Hattiesburg to stretch its lead in the Conference USA baseball standings back to two games.

UTSA (17-9 in CUSA) entered the game with a chance to tie 14th-ranked Southern Miss (19-7) at the top of the conference after the Roadrunners won the opener of the three-game weekend series on Friday.

Southern Miss and UTSA wrap up the series on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Ryan Flores accounted for UTSA’s only runs of the game. He hit his ninth home run of the season in the top of the sixth, a three-run shot that also scored Jonathan Tapia and Josh Killeen.

Southern Miss starting pitcher Hunter Riggins held UTSA scoreless the first five innings. He retired eight batters in a row before Tapia and Killeen worked back-to-back walks with one out in the sixth to set up Flores’ blast.

The Golden Eagles scored twice in the second inning and once in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. They went back in front 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the sixth.

Southern Miss pulled away with four runs in bottom of seventh including two-run homer by Carson Paetow.

Riggins (6-4) got the win for Southern Miss. Golden Eagles reliever Dalton Rogers pitched the final three innings for his fifth save. UTSA’s Ulises Quiroga (1-4) took the loss.


UTSA 33-17, 17-9
Southern Miss 37-14, 19-7

Coming up

Sunday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 11 a.m.
May 19 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 20 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 21 — UAB at UTSA, noon


UTSA pitchers surpassed the school record for strikeouts in a season. Quiroga recorded strikeout No. 455 to break the record. The Roadrunners’ added one more strikeout in the game to raise their total to 456.

After using six pitchers in Friday’s victory, UTSA used six more on Saturday. Roadrunners starter Ryan Ward went 1 2/3 innings. Jacob Jimenez and Quiroga had Saturday’s longest relief stints at two innings each.

UTSA pitcher Luke Malone (7-2, 2.53 ERA), originally scheduled to be Saturday’s starter, pitched the final inning as Friday’s closer. He could be up for the start on Sunday.

Hurston Waldrep (5-1, 2.54 ERA) is the expected starter for Southern Miss.

Malone, UTSA hold off Southern Miss in the ninth inning

The championship-hungry UTSA Roadrunners took another step toward the top of the Conference USA standings Friday night with an 8-7 victory over the 11th-ranked Southern Miss Golden Eagles.

With the potential tying run at second base, drama unfolded in the bottom of the ninth inning. UTSA ace righthander Luke Malone was on the mound, trying to protect the one-run lead.

Southern Miss’ Danny Lynch opened the frame with a bloop double to left field.

The hit was a looping fly ball that dropped on the foul line, just out of the reach of two UTSA defenders — third baseman Austin Ochoa and left fielder Ian Bailey.

Brady Faust entered the game as a pinch runner at that point, but, ultimately, he never moved off second base after Malone retired the next three batters in order.

First, he struck out Will McGillis. On the third strike, UTSA catcher Sammy Diaz retrieved a ball on the ground and threw to first base to retire McGillis.

Next, Malone got Carson Paetow on a fly ball to center. It was a big moment for the Roadrunners, because Paetow had homered earlier and had knocked in four runs.

Finally, Malone ended the game when Rodrigo Montenegro sliced a liner to left.

If it had carried down the line for a hit, it likely would have scored the runner from second easily and would have put Montenegro into position as the potential game-winner.

Bailey, however, had other ideas. The UTSA outfielder was in position to glove it, allowing the Roadrunners to clinch the first game of a three-game series. It also pulled UTSA to within one game of first place in the C-USA.

Southern Miss leads the race by one game over second place UTSA, with two to play in the series at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, one on Saturday and another Sunday. Both teams have five games remaining in the regular season.

The Roadrunners are the hottest team in the C-USA, having won 20 of their last 26 games overall.

On offense, UTSA rocked Southern Miss pitching for a dozen hits. The Roadrunners had a few notable performances with the bats, including Diaz, who contributed three hits and two RBIs. Flores also had three hits, and he also had an RBI to cap UTSA’s six-run, sixth inning.

As for the pitching, the back end of the Roadrunners’ bullpen stood out. In the eighth inning, Ryan Beaird entered the game with one out and runners at second and third.

The freshman from Reagan High School promptly walked a batter to load the bases. But from there, Beaird got extremely tough and fanned Christopher Sargent and Slade Wilks to put out the fire.

Malone, a UTSA starter, closed the game by holding off the Golden Eagles in the last inning. By using Malone, the Roadrunners raised some questions. Namely, will Malone get a start in the series?

Other questions have come up, as well. Namely, can UTSA win the regular-season title? If so, it would be the first time for the Roadrunners to win the C-USA regular-season crown since they started play in the league in 2014.


UTSA 33-16, 17-8
Southern Miss 36-14, 18-7

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 18-7
UTSA 17-8
Louisiana Tech 16-9
Florida Atlantic 15-10
Charlotte 15-10
Middle Tennessee 15-10
Old Dominion 14-11
UAB 11-14

Five to play in the regular season. Top eight teams in the 12-team league make the conference tournament.

Coming up

Saturday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 2 p.m.
Sunday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 11 a.m.
May 19 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 20 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 21 — UAB at UTSA, noon


With the win, UTSA tied the school record for most C-USA victories in a season with 17. Previously, the team’s best effort in the conference came in 2015 when it produced a 17-13 record. UTSA played its first season in the C-USA in 2014.

UTSA’s chances of making the 64-team NCAA tournament are also in discussion. They could make in one of two ways — as an automatic qualifier from the C-USA as the conference’s tournament champion, or, possibly, as an at-large entry.

Going into the series in Hattiesburg this week, they were 59th in the NCAA’s ratings percentage index.

Top-of-the-line, non-conference victories were notched by the Roadrunners against Stanford (No. 21 RPI), TCU (34) and Texas State (37). And now, they have another good one against Southern Miss (26) as their best win within the conference.

The few, the proud, the totally exhausted — UTSA’s baseball team went 19-6 in 41 days

Pat Hallmark. UTSA beat Marshall 5-4 on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Pat Hallmark and his UTSA Roadrunners play on the road tonight against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. It’s the opener of a three-game series with Conference USA title implications. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Last weekend, a baseball team challenging for a conference championship and NCAA tournament consideration seemed a bit sluggish.

The UTSA Roadrunners played three hours last Saturday afternoon in near 100-degree heat. After going home to hydrate and rest, they showed up on Sunday morning confronted with the prospect of competing again in an atmosphere that felt sort of like what you’d expect from a Central American rain forest.

By the time the game at Roadrunner Field started at 11:30 a.m., most of the few fans that turned out for the series finale against Marshall huddled under umbrellas to ward off the sun. Some of the people working the game hid out in areas shaded by the grandstands, hoping for a breeze that never really materialized.

Some of the Roadrunners, who were on their 25th game in 41 days, were not mentally into it in the early innings. UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said a couple of players who hit balls that were barely foul, who should have been running on contact, instead lingered in the batters’ box. The coach barked at them to, in not so many words, wake up and play.

After eight innings, the Roadrunners still seemed to be in a bit of a fog, trailing 4-3 against the ninth-place team in Conference USA. But just about that time, something clicked. Sensing that they were letting a prime opportunity slip away, they rallied, pushing across two runs to win, 5-4.

After the players had celebrated another comeback victory, Hallmark was asked how much he has enjoyed working with this group of players. He paused. His voice cracked just a bit. He related the story about how he had to get on them. And then he admitted something that he has felt all along, but hasn’t articulated to this point.

“It’s fun to be a part of,” the coach said. “I’m proud of ’em.”

Today, the Roadrunners will take a 19-6 record in their last 25 games on the road for a showdown against the 11th-ranked Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The two teams will play the opener of a three-game series tonight at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg. Southern Miss is in first place in Conference USA. UTSA is in second, two games back.

Oddly, neither team battling for the C-USA regular season title is at the top of its game right now. Southern Miss has lost five of its last eight. UTSA has dropped three of its last five.

In the Roadrunners’ case, I’m guessing that part of their malaise has had something to do with fatigue. The grind of playing so many games. Twenty five games in 41 days? In nine different ball parks? Is it any wonder, considering the occasional contest played in sauna-like conditions, that the team is hitting .206 during the slide?

“We’ll keep working at it,” Hallmark promised. “The guys have hit well all year. It’s not uncommon to go through slumps. So, we’re going to keep working at it.”

After Shane Sirdashney’s game-winning hit lifted the Roadrunners last Sunday, the team took Monday and Tuesday off. They went through a workout at home on Wednesday and traveled on Thursday. Tonight, they’ll face the ultimate test.

The Golden Eagles, with championship dreams of their own, will be waiting for them.

“I hope we take this momentum (all the way),” Sirdashney said last Sunday afternoon. “I know everyone’s finishing finals this week. We’re going to be all focused on baseball after finals, and then when we go to Southern Miss, we’re going to be ready to play.”


UTSA 32-16, 16-8
Southern Miss 36-13, 18-6

Recent struggles

UTSA has lost three of its last five games overall, and the Roadrunners are hitting only .206 in that stretch. Southern Miss has dropped five of its last eight. In its last two C-USA series, the Eagles have dropped two of three both at UAB and at home against Old Dominion.

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 18-6
UTSA 16-8
Louisiana Tech 15-9
Florida Atlantic 15-9
Charlotte 14-10
Middle Tennessee 14-10
Old Dominion 13-11
UAB 11-13

Coming up

Friday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 2 p.m.
Sunday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 11 a.m.
May 19 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 20 — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
May 21 — UAB at UTSA, noon

Southern Miss falls 4-1 to Ole Miss as UTSA series looms

The Ole Miss Rebels held Southern Miss scoreless for the last seven innings Wednesday night, downing the 11th-ranked Golden Eagles, 4-1.

In the wake of the loss, coming at home in Hattiesburg, Miss., Southern Miss will turn its attention to a weekend series in which it will host the UTSA Roadrunners.

The series starting Friday will go a long way toward determining the Conference USA regular-season championship.

The Golden Eagles (36-13, 18-6) lead the conference, followed by the second-place Roadrunners (32-16, 16-8).

Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic (both 15-9 in the C-USA) trail the Roadrunners by one game.

UTSA closes the regular season with three games at home against the UAB Blazers. The series is set for May 19-21.

Teams have six games to play in the regular season before the C-USA tournament, which is scheduled May 25-29, also in Hattiesburg.

UTSA, a C-USA member in baseball since 2014, has never won either the regular-season or the tournament title.

The Roadrunners have never won more than 17 C-USA games or finished higher than fifth in the standings. UTSA finished fifth in both 2015 and 2018. The Roadrunners went 17-13 in 2015.

Mid-week schedules

In San Antonio, the Roadrunners had Monday and Tuesday off for final exams before they staged a workout on Wednesday. They were scheduled to travel to Hattiesburg Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday night at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field, Ole Miss’ Drew McDaniel started and pitched five innings, allowing the only run of the game in the second, for the victory.

Jackson Kimbrell, Josh Mallitz and Brandon Johnson finished with shutout relief. All told, the Rebels held the Golden Eagles to five hits.


UTSA 32-16, 16-8
Southern Miss 36-13, 18-6

Recent struggles

UTSA has lost three of its last five games overall, and the Roadrunners are hitting only .206 in that stretch. Southern Miss has dropped five of its last eight. In its last two C-USA series, the Eagles have dropped two of three both at UAB and at home against Old Dominion.

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 18-6
UTSA 16-8
Louisiana Tech 15-9
Florida Atlantic 15-9
Charlotte 14-10
Middle Tennessee 14-10
Old Dominion 13-11
UAB 11-13

Coming up

Friday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 2 p.m.
Sunday — UTSA at Southern Miss, 11 a.m.


Edge: Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles have relied on their pitching all season. Entering the week, the Tanner Hall-led staff was second in the nation in both earned run average (3.07) and WHIP (1.12).

Hall (7-1) is the presumed starter for Southern Miss on Friday night. He was undefeated before he took the loss in a 4-1 setback last week against the Monarchs. Regardless, Hall enters the UTSA game with a 2.31 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 78 innings. Hall is sixth in the nation in strikeouts.

Last week, Southern Miss used Hall, grad student Hunter Riggins and sophomore Hurston Waldrep, in that order, in a three-game series against Old Dominion. UTSA went with sophomore Daniel Garza, junior Luke Malone and sophomore Drake Smith.


Edge: UTSA

UTSA’s calling card is offense. The Roadrunners, with 393 runs scored in 48 games, are patient at the plate and usually don’t strike out much. They’re 28th in the nation with a .300 batting average and 29th in on base percentage at .401. In most games down the stretch, they’ve have started lineups with six or seven players at .300 or better.

That said, Roadrunners coach Pat Hallmark has been concerned about the hitting of late. UTSA is only 32 of 155 at the plate in its last five.

Shane Sirdashney (.360) and Josh Killeen (.341) have the highest averages on the team, though they aren’t listed atop the statistical leaders. Leyton Barry, Sammy Diaz, Jonathan Tapia, Chase Keng and Garrett Poston are all hitting .300 or better. Home run leaders include Ian Bailey (with 12) and Ryan Flores (eight). RBI leaders include Keng (50), Bailey (44), Flores (41) and Tapia (40).

C-USA tournament: Southern Miss eliminates UTSA, 67-64

Tyler Stevenson scored 22 points and Walyn Napper added 19 Tuesday night as the Southern Miss Golden Eagles ousted the UTSA Roadrunners in the first round of the Conference USA tournament, 67-64.

Steve Henson. North Texas beat UTSA 59-48 on Thursday, March 3, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners finished the season with a 10-22 record. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Jaron Pierre hit a clutch 3-pointer down the stretch and finished with 12 for the Golden Eagles, who snapped a 14-game losing streak.

Jacob Germany led the Roadrunners with 28 points and 12 rebounds. The Roadrunners committed 18 turnovers and finished the season with a record of 10-22.

Southern Miss improved to 7-25 and advanced to play Florida Atlantic Wednesday night.

Admitting to a “sick feeling” over the loss and the way the season ended, UTSA coach Steve Henson nevertheless paid tribute to the players who finished out a season marked by injuries, Covid-19 disruptions and roster upheaval.

“We started out six years ago recruiting high character guys,” Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast. “There are 12 high-character guys in that locker room right there that continued to prepare the right way.

“If you had walked into practice last Monday and Tuesday, and didn’t know our record, you’d think we had a pretty good year. The guys were still fighting and practicing the right way. They stayed together. That’s a real credit to them.

“Wish we could have made some better adjustments there out of some timeouts late. Wish we could have found a way to get that win. It’s a sick feeling right now. We’re disappointed right now. The last game of the season never goes away.

“Time does not heal all wounds. That’s not true. This will feel like crap for the rest of our lives. It just does. There’s nothing we can do about that. It’s a good group of guys. I really loved ’em and cared about ’em.”


UTSA — Jacob Germany finished with a 28 and 12 night. He sizzled with 12 of 20 shooting from the field. Some were difficult shots, too, high-arching hooks from 14 and 15 freet. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah finished with 14. He hit 4 of 8 from three. Lachlan Bofinger and Erik Czumbel scored 10 apiece. Bofinger was effective in hitting 5 of 9 shots and snaring 6 rebounds. Dhieu Deing had a tough night, scoreless on 0 for 9 shooting, including 0 of 8 from three.

Southern Miss — Tyler Stevenson, one of the Golden Eagles’ best players who had been out four games with an apparent injury, came off the bench for 22 points and seven rebounds. He was 9 of 12 from the field. Walyn Napper, Deing’s teammate last year at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, also hurt the Roadrunners with 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Both Stevenson and Napper hit shots in the final two minutes. Jaron Pierre hit a go-ahead three with 2:16 remaining.

First half

Jacob Germany drove for a dunk on his first touch and then went to work with some soft hooks. In all, he made five straight field goals to open the half against Southern Miss.

The Roadrunners followed Germany to a nine-point lead in the first 10 minutes en route to a 30-25 halftime advantage on the Golden Eagles.

Germany finished the half with 17 points and six rebounds. Unfortunately for the Roadrunners, they were too careless with the ball, committed nine turnovers and allowed the Golden Eagles to stay close.


Southern Miss 7-25
UTSA 10-22

Roadrunners ‘fired up’ for the Conference USA tournament

Jacob Germany. UTSA men's basketball beat Rice 82-71 on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at the Convocation Center in the Roadrunners' final game of the regular season. The Conference USA Tournament starts Tuesday. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA center Jacob Germany was named honorable mention on the all-Conference USA team announced on Monday.- Photo by Joe Alexander

For a team that endured a couple of agonizing multiple-week gaps between victories this season, the UTSA Roadrunners are feeling surprisingly good about themselves leading into the Conference USA tournament.

The Roadrunners will take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Tuesday night in the tournament opener.

“We certainly got a couple of guys out for the season with injuries and other reasons, (and) we wish they were with us,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said Monday. “But with this group here, the spirits are good. Practices have been good. (We) made a pretty good run against North Texas, a great team, on Thursday. (We) played well on Saturday (against Rice) and (we’re) fired up to play tomorrow night.”

In a matchup of teams from the bottom of the C-USA West Division, UTSA (10-21, 3-15) plays Southern Miss (6-25, 1-17) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at The Star in Frisco. If the Roadrunners win, they would advance to meet the Florida Atlantic Owls (18-13, 11-7) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

“I think everyone in this gym would say we’re going down there expecting to win,” said center Jacob Germany, the team’s leading scorer. “I think we all want to win. I’m really proud of our guys, that we’ve fought through this year and all the difficulties we had to face and overcome. Proud of everybody and everyone who stuck through it.”

While players and coaches felt good about themselves as they boarded a bus Monday bound for Frisco, they also have no illusions about how difficult it would be to win the tournament. For the Roadrunners to claim the C-USA title, they would need to win five games in five days.

Then again, they have made strides since they started conference with a 1-12 record.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Addo-Ankrah, for instance, has come on strong. In the last five games, the walk-on from Houston Second Baptist High School has averaged 9.4 points per game and has hit nearly 50 percent (14 of 30) from three-point distance. In addition, junior Erik Czumbel has averaged 11.2 points in his last six games.

In UTSA’s 82-71 victory over Rice at home on Saturday, Czumbel led four Roadrunners in double figures with a career-high 22 points.

“He’s been awfully good,” Henson said of Czumbel, from Verona, Italy, after the Rice game. “I thought he was terrific tonight. The ball was in his hands a lot. He got downhill. He got in the paint. Every time he shot it, it looked like it was going in.”

Playing limited minutes behind Darius McNeill, Jordan Ivy-Curry and Dhieu Deing in November and December, Czumbel couldn’t get anything going offensively. In his first 11 games, he took only 24 shots and hit six of them. He was 0 for 10 on 3-point shots until making his first trey on Jan. 3.

When Ivy-Curry left the team to enter the transfer portal a few weeks ago, Czumbel stepped up and started to make some things happen.

“It’s kind of been building,” Henson said. “His minutes have gone up … Erik’s going to gauge the situation, see how we’re flowing offensively. He’s not a guy who’s going to decide, ‘Hey, I’m going to go get 20 right now.’ But he understands some plays need to be made.”

While Czumbel has been a pleasant surprise as of late, Addo-Ankrah might have been the surprise of the year for the Roadrunners. He barely played for the first few months. He didn’t play at all in 10 of UTSA’s first 16 games.

But down the stretch, in the absence of Aleu Aleu, who is out for the year with a knee injury, Addo-Ankrah has scored in double figures three times. He torched Southern Miss for 21 points in Hattiesburg on Feb. 17.

“I’m not surprised,” Germany said. “He’s in the gym every night. He puts in the time, the hours. He’s taken advantage of this opportunity he’s gotten and everyone is just super proud of him. He deserves every bit of it. He’s a big key for us.”

Deing could be a wild card for UTSA in the tournament. At times this season, the junior transfer from Dodge City Community College in Kansas has played extremely well.

At other times, he has slumped badly. Once, in the first few days of January, he got so upset after a poor performance in Alabama against UAB that he left the team. Now he is back and is playing well.

Deing, who played for South Sudan’s national team last summer, is averaging 16.4 points while hitting 40.9 percent from three in his last five games.

For most of the season, Germany has been the rock. The 6-foot-11 junior from Oklahoma has averaged career highs of 14.7 points and 7.2 rebounds. Facing pressure in a lot of games from double teams, he has shot 48.2 percent from the field.

On Monday, Germany was named to the C-USA’s honorable mention team.

“There’s a bunch of good guys in our league, so I’m not surprised,” Germany said. “In my mind, I’m up there with anybody in the league. But the guys up there (on the first and second teams), they deserve it. I’ll be there next year.”

First-team honors went to Louisiana Tech center/power forward Kenneth Lofton, Jr. The big men honored on the second team were Thomas Bell of North Texas and Austin Trice of Old Dominion. On the third team, there were no big men listed, only five guards.

Coming up

UTSA in the Conference USA tournament, at Frisco
Tuesday — UTSA vs. Southern Miss, 7 p.m.
Wednesday — UTSA or Southern Miss vs. Florida Atlantic, 8:30 p.m.
Thursday — UTSA, Southern Miss or Florida Atlantic vs. UAB, 8:30 p.m.
Friday — Semifinals
Saturday — Finals

UTSA wins in overtime to snap a five-game losing streak

Pass the pepperoni, please.

The UTSA Roadrunners planned to celebrate with a post-game pizza on Thursday night after they snapped a five-game losing streak with a rousing 98-79 victory in overtime at Southern Mississippi.

In the five-minute OT, UTSA hit an eye-opening eight-for-eight from the field and won going away with a 22-3 burst.

Guard Dhieu Deing produced 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Roadrunners, who extended the Golden Eagles’ losing streak to eight games.

UTSA walk-on Isaiah Addo-Ankrah added a career-high 21 points, including 9 of them on three, 3-point baskets in the overtime.

Jacob Germany and Erik Czumbel had 16 points apiece, and guard Darius McNeill added 14 points, five assists and two steals.

Both steals by McNeill ignited the Roadrunners on the defensive end in the extra period, while Addo-Ankrah and Deing sparked the offense.

Addo-Ankrah, once a practice player for the University of Houston women’s basketball team, hit three for three from long distance in overtime. Deing was two for two.

“I can’t believe this right now,” Addo-Ankrah told Andy Everett on the team’s radio broadcast. “It went to overtime and I’m like, ‘Oh, please, please God. Please.”

It was UTSA’s first win since Jan. 27, a victory at home over the FIU Panthers. It was their first win of the year on the road after losing their first 10 away from home.

During the radio interviews on KTKR 760, UTSA coach Steve Henson chuckled at the improbable sight on the box score of eight-for-eight shooting in an overtime period.

This, from a team that entered the game with a discouraging 38.6 percent field goal percentage for the season.

“That was pretty amazing,” Henson said. “Got the (opening) tip and got a bucket. Got a steal and got a bucket. Just like that, we were up five. Then we ran a play and got a three. Guys executed. Then when we got a lead, we ran the clock, and after running some clock, we converted.

“Heck of a job there in overtime, on both ends of the floor.”

For the game, the Roadrunners hit 35 of 75 shots for 46.7 percent from the field. They hit 46.9 percent from three, knocking down 15 of 32.

Defensively, they were good when they needed to be good, limiting the Golden Eagles to 1 for 5 shooting and four turnovers in overtime. Southern Miss shot 43 percent for the game.

First half

The Roadrunners hit seven three-point baskets and rallied from an 11-point deficit to forge a 38-38 tie against the Golden Eagles.

After the Roadrunners fell behind, 25-14, Deing, Czumbel and Addo-Ankrah led the comeback.

Deing hit three from long distance and led the Roadrunners in first-half scoring with 13 points. Czumbel and Addo-Ankrah hit two threes apiece. UTSA was 7 of 17 from the arc at intermission after entering the game shooting only 28 percent on treys.

Discovering the touch

UTSA’s shooting has been a problem for most of the season.

It started out that way against Southern Miss, with the Roadrunners making only two of their first 12 attempts from the field. But they warmed up just a bit to finish the first half at 35.9 percent. In the second half, they hit 46.4 percent. Then, they knocked down all eight of them for 100 percent in the overtime.

Juice’s return

The game marked the return of Jordan Ivy-Curry after he had missed UTSA’s last contest with a sprained ankle. Henson said Ivy-Curry hasn’t been able to practice much in the last 10 days, but he finally got some work in on Wednesday. The Roadrunners’ leading scorer came off the bench to play nine minutes. He was 0 for 3 from the field and passed for two assists.

Sending it to OT

The Golden Eagles tied the game on a somewhat controversial final play of regulation. Taking it to the basket, Tyler Stevenson collided with UTSA’s Jacob Germany as he was shooting, and he missed. It could have been called a charge, but there was no whistle. After that, Stevenson got the rebound, and missed an easy one at the rim. He grabbed the ball again and put it back at the buzzer, tying the score 76-76, and sending it to overtime.

Golden Eagles numbers

Guard Wayln Napper led Southern Miss in scoring with 21 points. Napper played on the same team with Deing last season at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. Stevenson finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. DeAndre Pinckney had 17 points and 11 boards. Also, Isaih Moore chipped in 15 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots.


UTSA guard Erik Czumbel passed for a career-high 11 assists. In his last two games, against Western Kentucky and Southern Miss, he has 30 points and 15 assists … Deing produced his fifth 20-plus points game this season. Deing has had scoring games of 19, 8, 7, 9, 14, 3 and 26 in the seven games since he returned to the team, following a three-week absence in January.


UTSA 9-18, 2-12
Southern Miss 6-19, 1-11

Coming up

Saturday — UTSA at Louisiana Tech, 6 p.m.

Golden Eagles hold off Ivy-Curry, Roadrunners, 74-73

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

Jordan Ivy-Curry produced 23 points and five rebounds, but the UTSA Roadrunners came up short, losing 74-73 to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. — Photo by Joe Alexander

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak at the expense of the UTSA Roadrunners Thursday night, making just enough plays down the stretch to emerge with a 74-73 victory at the Convocation Center.

For UTSA, it was a heartbreaking setback in the team’s first true test without high-scoring guard Dhieu Deing, whose departure from the program apparently had been percolating since early in the week but was announced just before tipoff.

“We’re not going to go into any great detail about it,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said after the game. “You know, we love him. Dhieu did a great job for us. He worked really, really hard. He competed. He loved the game. He just felt like he had some opportunities to go play professionally.

Cedrick Alley Jr.'s shot on the final play of the game. The ball did not go in and no foul was called. UTSA men's basketball lost to Southern Miss 74-73 on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Was it a foul? Nothing was called as a Southern Miss player appears to hit the arm of UTSA’s Cedrick Alley Jr. on the game’s last play. Alley finished with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals. — Photo by Joe Alexander

“We wish him well with that. It was pretty abrupt. I don’t know if that’s been on his mind or not. It just happened this week, and we wish him well.”

Deing, a junior college transfer who had played for South Sudan in an Afro Basket tournament over the summer, finished his 13-game UTSA career averaging 15.3 points.

In what would be his last game for UTSA, went 0-for-11 from the field and scored two points in a 28-point road loss at UAB last Saturday.

On Monday, he didn’t play at home against Dallas Christian College, and the Roadrunners rolled to an easy victory, winning 101-48.

Returning to conference play against Southern Miss, the Roadrunners played fairly well, considering that Deing had carried such a heavy load in November and December. Just not well enough to keep them from falling to 0-2 in C-USA play.

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

Forward Aleu Aleu made an impact for the Roadrunners with 11 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry led four UTSA players in double figures with 23 points. In the second half, he scored 19 and the Roadrunners shot 48 percent from the field. They also knocked down six of 10 shots from long distance.

In addition, Aleu Aleu continued to show off impressive skills, which included an offensive rebound and an up-and-under move at the hoop, a step-back, three-point shot and a pull-up jumper from the free throw line after faking a drive.

It was all included in an 11-point showing.

UTSA’s troubles started in the first half, when their defense sagged and their offense didn’t click and they fell behind by 10. Undeterred, the Roadrunners rallied behind Aleu and Jacob Germany to pull into a 32-32 tie at intermission.

After taking a five-point lead early in the second half, the Roadrunners allowed the Golden Eagles to get off the mat and make their own comeback.

Guards Jarron Pierre Jr., Rashad Bolden and center Isaih Moore led the way.

The trio helped turn a 37-32 deficit in the first minute after intermission into a 41-39 lead for when Bolden drove to the bucket in transition and converted a three-point play.

From there, Southern Miss boosted the lead to 57-49 when Pierre drained two long three-pointers, the second coming with 9:14 left. In response, UTSA rallied again.

The Roadrunners made some stops and kept chipping away and, with 1:17 remaining, cut the visitors’ lead to 72-71 on three Ivy-Curry free throws.

On the next possession, the Golden Eagles seized the upper hand with the help of what arguably could be called a little luck.

Defended well on the wing by the Roadrunners’ Aleu Aleu, Pierre hoisted a three-point shot from the corner that was long.

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

Senior Darius McNeill played 17 minutes and scored seven points on 3 of 7 shooting. — Photo by Joe Alexander

If the Roadrunners could have grabbed the rebound, they could have come up the court with about a minute remaining with a chance to take the lead.

Instead, Pierre’s miss skipped off the rim, caroming long and into the waiting hands of Bolden, who was fouled. Headed to the line facing a one-and-one situation, he made both for a 74-71 edge with 47.3 seconds left.

On the other end, UTSA moved to make up for the missed opportunity, taking only about 12 seconds to score. Ivy-Curry found Cedrick Alley Jr., who went up strong to the hoop for a layup, bringing the Roadrunners to within 74-73.

On the Golden Eagles’ last possession, Walyn Napper misfired on a runner in the lane, giving the Roadrunners one last chance.

Ivy-Curry pushed it up court again. Once again, he dished under the basket to Alley. This time, Alley drew contact. His attempt was batted away at the buzzer by Moore, a 6-foot-10 St. John’s transfer.

“We were going to try to get a stop and push it, which is exactly what we did,” Henson said. “We got it to Juice. We wanted to attack before they got their defense set.

He drove it hard to the outside, and he had a chance to turn the corner. (But) he didn’t. He really kept his composure and got back in the middle and made a real nice play to Cedrick. We had a shot right at the basket. We just couldn’t convert it.”

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

Freshman Christian Tucker started at point guard and finished with four points and four rebounds. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Asked if he could see contact from a defender on the play, Henson shrugged, declining an opportunity to suggest that the home-team Roadrunners deserved a call at that critical juncture.

“It was the right play for us to make,” the coach said. “They challenged the shot. They’ve got good length in there. We had a lot of shots that looked just like that through the course of the game. We just weren’t able to convert.

“I’d have to look at film to see if there was contact. We just don’t want to be in that position.”


Southern Miss 5-8, 1-0
UTSA 7-8, 0-2

Coming up

Saturday, 2 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA.

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

Jacob Germany hits the floor in a scramble for the ball against Southern Miss. Germany had 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals. — Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA announces Dhieu Deing’s departure from the team

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

High-energy guard Dhieu Deing (No. 3) has left the UTSA basketball program. Deing was the team’s leading scorer at 15.3 points per game. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Thursday night update

UTSA announced Thursday night that guard Dhieu Deing is no longer on the team.

“Dhieu Deing is no longer going to be a member of our basketball program,” a statement from UTSA athletics said. “He has elected to pursue professional basketball opportunities.”

From Wednesday

UTSA coach Steve Henson says that guard Dhieu Deing, the team’s leading scorer, will not play when the Roadrunners host the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in a Conference USA game Thursday night at the Convocation Center.

“We’ll put out a statement on him in the next couple of days,” Henson said Wednesday. “I’m just going to leave it at that, for now. He will not be in uniform tomorrow night.”

Asked if Deing might also be out for Saturday afternoon’s home game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the coach declined comment.

The loss of Deing has emerged as the latest in a string of challenges for the Roadrunners, who have been erratic in their level of play all season and have had a mix of setbacks ranging from injuries, to players in Covid protocols.

Deing’s absence is not Covid-related, but it might be the toughest to overcome, especially if he is out for an extended period of time.

The 6-foot-5 junior, a newcomer, is one of the team’s best athletes.

Even though he has been mired in a slump, shooting 0-for-11 from the field in a 28-point loss last Saturday at UAB, Deing has averaged 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 13 games played.

He sat out his first game of the season on Monday night when the Roadrunners pounded the Dallas Christian Crusaders, 101-48, in non conference.

In trying to adjust without him, Henson said the Roadrunners will miss his energy and his rebounding, but he said he hopes his players can use it as an “opportunity” to continue work on getting better shots in the offense.

“Southern Miss is a good defensive team,” Henson said. “It won’t be easy to get those good shots. Hopefully we can find a way to move it one more time. Get one more ball reversal. Get one more paint touch and a high percentage shot.”

UTSA had lost three straight games before beating Dallas Christian.

As the Roadrunners move into the thick of the conference schedule, they’ll look to center Jacob Germany (14.4 points), point guard Jordan Ivy-Curry (13.9) and Cedrick Alley (9.4) and others to fill the scoring void for as long as Deing is out.

In Southern Miss, UTSA will need to defend against a low-post, oriented offense.

Isaih Moore, a 6-10 transfer from St. John’s, leads the Golden Eagles with 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Junior Tyler Stevenson averages 12.1 points and 8.4 rebounds. Southern Miss has lost six straight.

Coming up

Thursday, 7 p.m. — Southern Miss at UTSA
Saturday, 2 p.m. — Louisiana Tech at UTSA


Southern Miss 4-8, 0-0
UTSA 7-7, 0-1


Cedrick Alley and reserve center/forward Phoenix Ford are expected to return to action Thursday. Alley fell in the road game at UAB last Saturday, and, consequently, Henson held him out Monday against Dallas Christian. Ford has been out for the last three games, including the trip to Illinois State on Dec. 21 for personal reasons. On Christmas Eve, his girlfriend gave birth to the couple’s first child. Since then, Ford has missed the UAB and Dallas Christian games in Covid protocols.

Deing, a native of Louisiana who grew up in North Carolina, played for two colleges before joining the Roadrunners this summer. He also played for South Sudan in a FIBA Afro Basket tournament last summer. At one point earlier in the season, he had four games of 20 or more points in a string of six outings. Recently, he has slumped, hitting only 8 of 45 shots from the field in his last three outings.

The Golden Eagles suffered a tough break in late November when they lost their leading scorer, Tae Hardy, to a shoulder injury.

Coach Jay Ladner’s team has since lost six in a row. They’re playing their first game since Dec. 21 when they lost by one at East Carolina. After a holiday break, they returned to campus only to have both of their first two conference games — against Western Kentucky and Marshall — postponed due to COVID protocols.

Louisiana Tech (11-3, 2-0) is regarded as one of the favorites to win the C-USA title. The Bulldogs won two at home last week, downing Marshall by 23 points and Western Kentucky by one. LA Tech is led by forward Kenneth Lofton, Jr. Lofton, who played on a USA national basketball team last summer, averages 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds.