— #SellOutDiddle (@WKUBasketball) January 31, 2019
Calling UTSA’s Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace “two of the better guards … in the country,” Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury said it’s not surprising that the Roadrunners have surged into a tie for first place in Conference USA.
The coach made his remarks on the eve of his team’s C-USA home game tonight against the surprising Roadrunners in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
“They’re 6-2 for a reason,” Stansbury said. “They’ve got two of the better guards — not just in this league — in the country.
“When you’ve got guys … that can shoot it like that, you can come back from 17 down with three minutes and 45 seconds left.”
Trailing by 18 points with 4 minutes and 43 seconds remaining last Saturday in San Antonio, UTSA wiped out the deficit and beat Old Dominion, 74-73.
Perhaps more remarkably, the Roadrunners were behind by 17 with 3:45 left and still beat the Monarchs, thanks to the shooting of Jackson and Wallace.
The 18-point comeback is said to be the second largest point differential ever erased in NCAA Division I for a team trailing with less than five minutes on the clock.
The record is believed to be a 19-point deficit that was wiped out by the Nevada Wolf Pack in 2017, when they beat New Mexico, 105-104, in overtime and on the road.
For the Roadrunners, the performance against ODU was the third double-digit deficit that they have erased this season in a winning effort.
Previously, they knocked off Houston Baptist after falling behind by 11. They also beat UTEP after trailing by 10.
Stansbury pointed out that the Roadrunners nearly did it at Middle Tennessee, two weeks ago, as well.
In that game, the Roadrunners were down by 21 in the second half and ended up losing by three.
“They’re a really explosive team, offensively,” Stansbury said. “Jackson and Wallace can score that ball in bunches, in a hurry. When you’ve got guards that can do that, you got a chance against anybody on a given night.”
Jackson is leading C-USA, averaging 22 points per game. Wallace is fifth at 18.9.
Two freshmen, Taveion Hollingsworth and Charles Bassey, lead Western Kentucky and make the Hilltoppers one of the most dangerous teams in the conference.
Hollingsworth leads the Hilltoppers with 15.2 points per game.
Bassey, a 6-foot-11 native Nigerian who played at St. Anthony in San Antonio, averages 14.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks.
In what should be a revealing trip for UTSA, the Roadrunners play at Western Kentucky tonight and at Marshall, in Huntington, West Virginia, on Saturday.
Marshall was the C-USA’s representative in the NCAA Tournament last season.
UTSA 12-9, 6-2
Western Kentucky 11-10, 4-4
.@WKUBasketball's Charles Bassey has filled the stat sheet defensively this season. The freshman center is 1 of 2 players in the entire nation with at least 200 rebounds, 45 blocks and 20 steals this season. #GoTops pic.twitter.com/pHEH9Sarsl
— WKU Stats & Info (@WKUStatsInfo) January 29, 2019