UAB rallies to win a ‘rock fight’ against determined UTSA

John Buggs after landing hard on his rear end with 12:16 to play. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard John Buggs III grimaces after landing hard on his rear end with 12:16 to play. Buggs and the Roadrunners lost to the UAB Blazers 83-78 in Conference USA men’s basketball on Saturday in San Antonio. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

After claiming a victory Saturday afternoon in a hotly-contested basketball game at the UTSA Convocation Center, UAB’s Andy Kennedy clinched a 20-win season for the 13th time in his 16 years as a coach.

Though he hits that magic number on a nearly annual basis, he always enjoys the moment and never takes it for granted.

UAB's Jordan "Jelly" Walker. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UAB’s Jordan “Jelly” Walker finished with 25 points on eight of 19 shooting from the field. Walker knocked down four triples. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Because he knows he can’t.

“The game tonight proved that to us,” Kennedy said. “You can’t take any game for granted. Every game is a battle, and I give (UTSA coach) Steve (Henson’s) team a lot of credit.

“They’ve obviously had a frustrating year (and) had a huge win Thursday against Rice.

“We knew if we didn’t come out here and impose our will early, it was going to be a rock fight, and they turned it into a rock fight.”

As it turned out, the Blazers had more and bigger rocks in their bag.

UAB, a team that represented C-USA in the NCAA tournament last year, rallied from slow starts in both halves and rode 70.4 percent shooting after intermission to an 83-78 victory.

With the win, third-place UAB (20-8, 11-6) improved to 8-1 in its last nine games and kept pace with other C-USA contenders in the chase for first-round byes in the postseason tournament.

Japhet Medor. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Japhet Medor led the Roadrunners with 22 points, four assists and two steals. Medor has 56 points, 13 assists and 10 steals in his last three games. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Blazers did it the hard way, falling into an 11-point hole early in the second half and then charging back to deal the last-place Roadrunners (8-20, 2-15) a heart-breaking blow in their quest to gain both momentum and respectability.

“Proud of the whole thing,” said Henson, whose team snapped an 11-game losing streak Thursday night at Rice. “Proud of our focus, our preparation, our rebounding, our toughness. Disappointed, you know. The game’s on the line, and they made plays, and we didn’t.”

Jordan “Jelly” Walker, the fourth-leading scorer in the nation, scored a game-high 25 points. After sitting out much of the second half in foul trouble, the 5-foot-11 guard from Long Island, N.Y., produced 10 points in the final two minutes.

Despite the outburst from Walker, UTSA had a chance at the end to spring an upset victory.

The Roadrunners trailed by three with less than 18 seconds remaining when a three-point attempt by John Buggs III missed, glancing off the front of the rim. Walker hit two free throws with five seconds left for the final points of the game.

Japhet Medor led UTSA with 22 points, four rebounds and four assists. Struggling with a back issue during the game, Buggs finished with 14 points, as did freshman guard DJ Richards, who also had a team-high eight rebounds.

Jacob Germany came off the bench for 11 points and six boards.

UAB's Trey Jemison. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UAB center Trey Jemison is a big man, 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds. He contributed eight points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots – Photo by Joe Alexander

With two games in Florida next week and then a regular-season finale at home against Charlotte on March 2, the Roadrunners are playing better basketball.

They beat Rice, a solid team, by five points on the road Thursday night and then led for much of the afternoon Saturday against UAB.

But they have precious little time to gain the type of momentum teams can only get by stringing together victories.

“Super proud of our effort early in the game, our fight, our rebounding,” Henson said. “It was unbelievable. They’re a good rebounding team. They’re athletic. You know there’s not a ton of nights when we line up and think we might get overpowered.

But this was one of the teams that could do it if we didn’t have the right mindset.”

In that regard, young players for UTSA like Richards, Massal Diouf and Lamin Sabally competed at a high level. Even though the 6-foot-5 Richards wasn’t on as a shooter, his work on the glass was impressive.

Diouf (five points, six rebounds) and Sabally six points, six boards) battled against UAB’s Trey Jemison and KJ Buffen, respectively. Even though the Roadrunners lost the game, they could see the potential for both young players, who were matched against some of the conference’s best.

Steve Henson and DJ Richards. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson confers with freshman guard DJ Richards, who produced 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Henson said it was Sabally’s best game.

“Massal was fantastic early in the game,” Henson said. “Lamin was very good. Loved the way we started it.”

It was the finish that felled the Roadrunners. In the second half, they coughed up the ball on turnovers too much, leading to transition baskets for the Blazers, who hit 19 of 27 shots from the field in the second half..

Buffen and Ty Brewer, in particular, had some big moments after Walker had to go to the bench with four fouls.

Brewer had 13 of his 16 points and Brewer had eight of his 12 in the second half. With Walker on the bench, UAB erased much of what had been an 11-point deficit.

When Walker returned, he took over, scoring 10 points in the last two minutes for the Blazers.


UAB 20-8, 11-6
UTSA 8-20, 2-15

Coming up

UTSA at Florida Atlantic, Feb. 23, 6 p.m.
UTSA at FIU, Feb. 25, 6 p.m.
Charlotte at UTSA, March 2, 7 p.m.

C-USA tournament

March 8-11, at Frisco. All 11 teams are invited. Six teams play on the first day. Five get byes into the second round.

Lamin Sabally. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Sophomore Lamin Sabally had perhaps his best game of the season with six points and six rebounds. He was three for four from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

First half

UTSA fans stood and cheered at halftime for the Roadrunners, who showed significant passion, effort and execution in bolting to a 41-35 lead on the UAB Blazers.

Medor, leading the way on offense, used his speed and moxy to score 13 points. Richards also got into the act with nine.

Defensively, the Roadrunners held the Blazers to 12 of 37 shooting from the field. UAB’s shooting percentage of 32.4 wasn’t all because of UTSA’s defensive effort. Some of it had to do with the Blazers’ lackluster mindset at the start of the game.

But in the end, UTSA played hard and did a good job against one of the most explosive teams in NCAA Division I. Walker was quiet early but warmed up to the occasion soon enough, scoring 13 in the half. He hit three from 3-point distance.

With UAB playing at a casual pace early, UTSA jumped out to a 14-2 lead. UAB cranked up the intensity later, putting together a 13-0 run at one point. UTSA, to its credit, didn’t fold. UAB held its largest lead at 21-18.

Massal Diouf, Japhet Medor and John Buggs III. UTSA lost to UAB 83-78 in Conference USA men's basketball on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor (center) has a word with Massal Diouf (left) and John Buggs III. – Photo by Joe Alexander

A cookie, an allergic reaction and a hospital visit couldn’t stop UTSA guard Japhet Medor

Japhet Medor. UTSA men's basketball lost to UTEP 77-66 on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Battling through injuries and a recent bout with a chocolate cookie, UTSA point guard Japhet Medor says he thinks the Roadrunners are ready to play in a home game today against high-scoring Jordan “Jelly” Walker and the powerful UAB Blazers. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Sidetracked by a health scare and an unexpected trip to a Houston hospital Wednesday night, Japhet Medor returned to his hotel room and did what you’d expect from any college student.

He slept it off.

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

Guard Japhet Medor, UTSA’s leading scorer, confirmed in an interview Friday that he plans to return to play for the Roadrunners next season. It will be the program’s first year in the American Athletic Conference. – File photo by Joe Alexander

An allergic reaction to an apparent peanut butter-like substance in a chocolate cookie would not get the best of him. It would not deter the UTSA point guard from the business at hand.

Medor stated his case emphatically on Thursday night, playing a team-high 36 minutes and making a few clutch plays late in an 84-79 victory for the UTSA Roadrunners over the Rice Owls.

Powered by John Buggs III, Josh Farmer, Jacob Germany and Medor, the Roadrunners snapped a school-record 11-game losing streak and returned home to San Antonio with visions of another upset victory.

They’ll get that opportunity today when they host the UAB Blazers at 3 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

Medor, who has overcome a couple of ankle/foot injuries this season in addition to his bout with the cookie, reflected on it all as the Roadrunners prepared to face one of the best teams in Conference USA.

“It’s been a tough journey,” the Florida native said. “It hasn’t been the season that we all anticipated. It’s been an up and down road for us as a team. Just, being healthy as a team, has been tough. With my foot, when I was out, it just didn’t feel right.”

Medor sprained the foot in practice on Jan. 18, the day before UTSA hosted the nationally-ranked Florida Atlantic University Owls.

It was a crushing blow to the Roadrunners, to lose the engine of their offense at that time.

In the three games that Medor eventually sat out, UTSA fell to FAU and Florida International at home and North Texas on the road.

The Roadrunners weren’t close against the Owls, losing by 19. Against FIU and North Texas, they lost by five and four points, respectively.

Once during the stretch, Medor walked over to press row with the boot on his foot and talked briefly to a reporter, explaining that he could run in straight lines in practice but still had trouble moving from side to side.

Even when he returned to play in his first game on Jan. 28 against Louisiana Tech, he still wasn’t right, physically, and the Roadrunners lost again. Losses to Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and UTEP followed.

Against UTEP, though, Medor was feeling good again physically. He scored 20 points, which included 10 for 10 shooting at the free throw line, and he made four steals. His confidence was growing.

Then came the road trip to play at Rice. On the bus ride from San Antonio to Houston, he ate a meal, and he felt fine.

But when the team arrived at its hotel destination, he pulled out the cookie and smelled it, knowing that it wasn’t wise for him to ingest anything with peanut butter.

It smelled OK, so he ate it.

“I didn’t know (about the peanut butter),” he said. “(By) the third bite, I felt something was wrong. My lips started tingling. Like I was getting an allergic reaction, and I started throwing up.

“By the time I got upstairs, my face was swelling up. My nose (was congested, and) I couldn’t breathe … Within an hour of the time we got there, I was in the hospital.”

At the hospital, he felt more discomfort. Itchy eyes, the works. Pretty soon, it was under control, Medor said, as he took fluids and “everything got flushed out.”

“Day of the game, I felt perfectly fine,” Medor said.

Against Rice, Buggs led the team with a spirited performance.

Medor’s backcourt running mate scored 23 points. He hit five 3-point shots. Farmer and Germany were solid in their play off the bench, too. Farmer poured in 18 points and grabbed six rebounds. Germany contributed 16 and eight.

Medor, just 24 hours removed from his allergic reaction, produced 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. At the end, he made a critical play. With UTSA clinging to a three-point lead, Rice inbounded the ball and Medor got the steal.

On the other end, he knocked down both free throws with 12 seconds left, boosting the lead to five points. With a second remaining, Medor was at the line again, knocking down two for two.

“It felt good,” Medor said. “There was a lot of good that we’d done as a team (this season). We’d just have these two-minute (stretches) where we’d fall off. So, getting that win was big. It just uplifted everybody in the program.”

Now comes the hard part, trying to win back to back against the Jordan “Jelly” Walker-led Blazers, who average 82 points per game.

“We’re ready for tomorrow’s game,” Medor said. “Coming off the win at Rice, it’s a good feeling. We feel like the coaches got us prepared the right way. We just need to put the ball through the basket and get stops.”

Coming up

UAB Blazers at UTSA Roadrunners, Conference USA men’s basketball, today, 3 p.m.


UAB 19-8, 10-6
UTSA 8-19, 2-14

Flipping the script: UTSA women ride a fourth-quarter rally to a 71-68 victory over UAB

Jordan Jenkins hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 9 seconds left. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins played only 18 minutes because of foul trouble but hit the game-winning shot — a 3-pointer — with nine seconds left. With the victory, UTSA snapped a three-game losing streak. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA coach Karen Aston and her staff improved the program in so many areas since the end of last season. They brought in eight newcomers, including five freshmen, to bolster the roster. The returning players all made strides to better themselves.

At the same time, the Roadrunners took their lumps early in Aston’s second year as coach.

Sidney Love. UTSA beat Idaho 76-69 in women's basketball on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman Sidney Love scored a season and career-high 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. – File photo by Joe Alexander

They played through November and most of December and, because of late-in-the-game mistakes or bad breaks or, whatever, they couldn’t seem to turn the corner toward respectability — until Saturday.

Trailing by 10 points in the second half and by seven after three quarters, UTSA caught a spark and raced to a 71-68 victory over the UAB Blazers at the Convocation Center.

Junior forward Jordyn Jenkins hit the winner on a three-pointer at the top of the circle with nine seconds left, and freshman guard Sidney Love blocked a shot at the buzzer, as the Roadrunners prevailed to split two games on their first weekend of C-USA competition.

“I’m really happy for the girls,” Aston said. “It’s a growth process. But at the same time, you do need to be rewarded a little bit. Hopefully this gives us some confidence to know that (we) can win close games.

“In reality, all of our conference teams look like this. I think there’s a lot of parity in our league based on what you’re looking at and some of the teams I’ve seen.

“It’s going to be a possession game from this point forward, and I think we’re getting closer to understanding what every possession means.”

Siena Guttadauro. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

California native Siena Guttadauro also sparked the fourth-quarter rally with nine points, an assist and a steal. In one sequence, she hit back-to-back triples. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Calling it a game for the UTSA guards, Aston couldn’t have been happier with the way her freshman backcourt players performed in the fourth quarter. Love scored 11 points and Siena Guttadauro contributed nine in the last 10 minutes.

Finer details of the fourth quarter rally? Love and Guttadauro combined for seven field goals, including six threes, and they each made three apiece from long distance.

In addition, Kyra White executed a solid play on the game-winning three by Jenkins, driving on the right side and then hooking a pass out to Jenkins on the perimeter. UAB freshman Denim DeShields, sucked into the middle on the drive, ran out to the perimeter to contest Jenkins’ jumper with a hande up, but it was too late.

“I thought the game was about our guards today,” Aston said. “…They were aggressive. They were in attack mode. So I think that possession in particular was from the fact that they were aggressive the whole game, so everybody kind of drew to Kyra, which created Jordan being pretty much wide open.”

Jenkins, the C-USA’s leading scorer, said it felt “pretty good” to drain the three.

“There’s been a couple of games when it’s been close and I’d been taking shots that hadn’t fallen,” she said. “So, it was like tough on my mental … The last shot, (it) felt good. It gives me some confidence. Yeah. It’s cool. I love when my teammates celebrate.”

Karen Aston. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Trailing by seven points going into the fourth quarter, Coach Karen Aston’s UTSA Roadrunners rallied to win, improving to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in Conference USA. – Photo by Joe Alexander

After Jenkins connected, the Blazers called time out to set up a play on the other end. But as the ball was inbounded and found its way to UAB forward Lyndsey Robson on the 3-point line, her shot was blocked by Love, and it bounded away as time expired.

All of that was a welcome change of fortune for the Roadrunners, who cheered wildly from the bench when the final horn sounded. At that point, too, the box score did not lie. There was Love, a first-year collegian out of San Antonio-area Steele High School, with a team-high 23 points.

“It always feels good when I can do anything to benefit the team,” Love said. “I guess this game, it just happened to be me and Siena, who sort of stepped up for the team.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Guttadauro, who had not played in the team’s last three games. The native Californian hadn’t played since the Idaho game on Dec. 10, and yet she came in and sparked the team, including back-to-back threes at one point.

“No, it didn’t surprise me,” Love said. “I’m confident in Siena. She’s a pure shooter. She can shoot the ball with her eyes closed.”


UTSA 3-8, 1-1
UAB 8-4, 0-3

Coming up

UTSA at Middle Tennessee State, Jan. 5
UTSA at Western Kentucky, Jan. 7


UAB — Guard Denim DeShields had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Off the bench, Forward Destinee McGhee scored 11 and forward Tracey Bershers had 10. Margaret Whitley, the team’s leading scorer, was held zero for eight shooting and four points.

UTSA — Guard Sidney Love, a season-high 23 points. Also seven rebounds. Jenkins, averaging a C-USA best 20.6 coming in, had 13 points in 18 minutes limited by foul trouble. Guttadauro, nine points on three of five triples, all in the fourth quarter. Guard Kyra White, four points, 10 rebounds, nine assists.


The Roadrunners shuffled their starting lineup, going with Madison Cockrell, Hailey Atwood, Queen Ulabo, White and Jenkins. Love and Elyssa Coleman (seven points, seven rebounds) were the first players to sub into the game for UTSA.

Madison Cockrell. UTSA women's basketball beat UAB 71-68 on Saturday at the Convocation Center for the Roadrunners' first Conference USA win of the season. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Madison Cockrell started in the backcourt and produced six points, two assists and two rebounds. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA outrebounded UAB, 53-35, including 21-8 on the offensive glass. The Roadrunners also made a season-high 11 three-point shots. They held the best three-point percentage team in the C-USA to eight of 29 from distance.

Delino DeShields Sr. is the father of UAB’s freshman point guard. Her brother, Delino Jr., has played seven years in MLB, including last season with the Cincinnati Reds. Sister Diamond DeShields is with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

First half

The Roadrunners controlled the boards, winning the battle on the offensive glass decisively, as they battled the UAB Blazers to a 29-29 deadlock at halftime.

The game played at the UTSA Convocation Center featured a battle of freshmen point guards. Denim DeShields had 13 at the half for the Blazers, while Madison Cockrell had six points and two assists for the Roadrunners.

JB’s video replay

Drilling the game winner

Firing up the three ball

Making the simple play

Scooping the competition

Driving the lane to score

New Year’s Eve matinee: UTSA women hope to end 2022 on a high note against UAB

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

Sidney Love and the UTSA Roadrunners host the UAB Blazers today at the Convocation Center. Love is a freshman from Steele High School. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Another major test looms today for the UTSA women’s basketball team.

The Roadrunners, improved but still a work in progress in their second season under Coach Karen Aston, host the UAB Blazers in a New Year’s Eve contest at noon in the Convocation Center.

UTSA (2-8, 0-1 in Conference USA) is coming off its first home loss of the season Thursday night.

To recap, the Roadrunners hit a halfcourt shot at the buzzer and led by five points at the half. They led by three at the end of three quarters. But they couldn’t hold on, falling 62-57 to all C-USA guard Keiunna Walker and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters.

The Blazers (8-3, 0-2 in Conference USA) likely don’t have a player with Walker’s credentials. But they do feature two capable backcourt players in senior Margaret Whitley and freshman Denim DeShields.

Whitley and DeShields are the sparks for a team that leads Conference USA in scoring. The Blazers and Rice Owls both average 77.4 points per game.

Whitley, DeShields and forward Lyndsey Robson all play big minutes, with the three averaging 25 minutes or more. They’re 1-2-3 in scoring, respectively, for the Blazers and 10th-year coach Randy Norton.

DeShields comes from a notable athletic family, with her father, Delino DeShields, Sr., having played 13 years in the major league baseball. Her brother, Delino Jr., is in the major leagues and her sister, Diamond, makes her living in professional basketball in the WNBA.

To beat UAB, UTSA will need to guard the three-point line. The Blazers lead the conference in shooting from beyond the arc at 37.8 percent, with Whitley hitting at an eye-opening 48.3 clip.

Lately, the Blazers have been frustrated in losing their first two conference games — both on the road — to the Charlotte 49ers and the UTEP Miners. The Blazers were stymied in a 76-58 loss at UTEP Thursday night on the first game of a road trip through Texas.


UTSA 2-8, 0-1
UAB 8-3, 0-2

Coming up

UTSA at Middle Tennessee State, Jan. 5
UTSA at Western Kentucky, Jan. 7

Monster rally in Houston boosts UTSA leading into C-USA play

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Idaho 76-69 in women's basketball on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins averages 20.6 points per game to rank 16th in the nation and first in Conference USA. The Roadrunners open C-USA play by hosting the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters Thursday night. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

More than a week has passed since a remarkable women’s college basketball game unfolded at the Fertitta Center in Houston.

In the beginning, the Houston Cougars roamed the passing lanes and pounced on just about every pass thrown by the young UTSA Roadrunners.

An early lead for Houston ballooned to 10. Then to 15. As UTSA kept throwing the ball away, the advantage for the home team widened to 21.

It was only the second quarter, and it looked as if the Cougars might win by 30 or 40 or more. Well, let’s just say that it didn’t quite work out that way.

With UTSA junior forward Jordyn Jenkins putting on a show en route to a career-high 35 points, the Roadrunners opened eyes by unleashing a monster rally, coming all the way back into a few second-half tie scores, before losing 93-89 in overtime.

In one sense, the Houston game is ancient history. It was played nine days ago. Before Christmas. Back before the arctic blast.

In the present tense, the weather has warmed again, and UTSA (2-7) is back home at the Convocation Center, hoping to start a winning trend to coincide with the start of Conference USA play.

Eager to put all those pre-conference losses behind them, Roadrunners are preparing to host the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (7-4) on Thursday night, before they entertain the UAB Blazers (8-2) on Saturday afternoon.

Their last game, nonetheless, remains top of mind.

Coaches and players keep talking about Houston. Aston played the tape of it for her players’ again on Tuesday morning.

The video showed two versions of the Roadrunners.

One of them failed to answer the call after the opening tip, committed numerous turnovers and eventually fell behind, 39-18, midway through the second quarter.

The other played with heart and rallied on a 32-11 streak over a 13-minute stretch that spanned the end of the second and most of the third periods.

That same team battled to the end, with standout performances from several players, including double-digit scoring efforts from Jenkins, Elyssa Coleman, Kyra White and Alexis Parker.

“We re-watched (the tape) this morning,” Aston said late Tuesday afternoon. “What I still don’t know is, what turns their motors on? I mean, I don’t know if they were nervous to start the game, or what.

“They looked a little bit frozen, and then — somewhere in the midst of the second quarter — we got our motors running.”

White, a junior from Judson, said the team still feels positive vibes from the Houston game, even though it will go down as a loss in the record book.

And even though UTSA lost some close games earlier in the season with inconsistent play in the fourth quarter, she said she has a good feeling about the team overall.

“Our last game was Houston, and we lost in overtime, but the game showed a lot for our team,” White said. “We showed grit. We showed fight. We just simply didn’t quit. It was a good way to leave before (Christmas) break.

“Coming back, we’re just trying to get everybody back under their feet and and ready to go play.”

From this point forward, every team that UTSA plays will have Jenkins’ name circled on the scouting report.

At Houston, she struggled early with the physicality of the Cougars’ defense, but she kept battling and hit 12 of 17 shots from the field.

In one stretch, she wowed the crowd at the Fertitta Center with deft moves that you might see in a pro game.

Once, while set up at the elbow, she pivoted, spun through traffic and flipped up a shot left-handed into the net.

In another sequence, she came down on the fast break, sweeping past defenders and into the paint, to score again with the left hand.

The right-handed Jenkins leads Conference USA at 20.6 points per game, while making 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three.

She’s on a roll now, having scored 20 or more in five of her last six outings.

“She’s extremely skilled,” Aston said. “There’s no question. She works on her craft. I mean, she’s in the gym all the time (and) she wants to be great.

“The growth of our team is that we’re starting to figure out who can do what, and I think our team is comfortable knowing they need to get her the ball some.

“I’m not sure we knew that a month ago.

“For her, she’s making better decisions when she gets doubled. Right now, people are, I would say, picking poison against us.”

Aston said the team still needs other players to step up and contribute.

“We also need to see Elyssa Coleman get the ball a little more down low,” the coach said. “She was efficient when she got it (at Houston), and then, you know, we need to have (other) players make open (perimeter) shots.”

Coming up

Louisiana Tech at UTSA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
UAB at UTSA, Saturday, noon.

C-USA standings

FAU 1-0, 8-2
UTEP 1-0, 8-2
Middle Tennessee 1-0, 8-2
Charlotte 1-0, 5-5
Western Kentucky 0-0, 3-6
North Texas 0-0, 3-7
UTSA 0-0, 2-7
Rice 0-1, 9-1
UAB 0-1, 8-2
Louisiana Tech 0-1, 7-4
FIU 0-1, 5-5

Roadrunners’ NCAA dreams are alive leading into Hattiesburg

Ian Bailey's second-inning home run. UTSA beat UAB 12-2 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Roadrunner Field in the final game of the Conference USA baseball regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander

Ian Bailey crushes the first of his two home runs Saturday in UTSA’s regular-season ending victory over the UAB Blazers. UTSA (35-19 overall, 19-11 in Conference USA) will move into postseason play next week in Mississippi. The fifth-seeded Roadrunners are scheduled to open the C-USA tournament Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against the No. 4-seed FAU Owls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners completed the regular season in style on Saturday, by pitching well and by hitting four homers in a 12-2 victory over the UAB Blazers.

After polishing off the Blazers in a game called after seven innings on the run rule, UTSA players mingled with fans and friends, taking pictures and soaking up the moment.

Ulises Quiroga. UTSA beat UAB 12-2 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Roadrunner Field in the final game of the Conference USA baseball regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander

Ulises Quiroga rocks and fires against the UAB Blazers. Quiroga pitched four innings, allowing only one run on two hits, to earn the victory. – Photo by Joe Alexander

It seemed like a perfect time to rattle off the essential numbers for the Roadrunners — a 35-19 record overall and, more importantly, a 19-11 finish in Conference USA.

“Sounds good to me,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “Sounds good.”

Beaten soundly on Thursday night by the Blazers, the Roadrunners rebounded to win Friday night and again Saturday to take two of three in the final series of the season and to establish themselves as one of the conference’s upper-echelon teams.

They’ll start play in Hattiesburg next Wednesday, competing in an eight-team, double-elimination event for the C-USA postseason crown. The Roadrunners are seeded fifth and will take on the four seed Florida Atlantic Owls in their opener.

The game is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pete Taylor Park.

The C-USA winner next week claims the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. But because of the Roadrunners’ strong play throughout the season — they were 48th in the national ratings percentage index on Sunday morning — they might not necessarily have to win the whole thing in Hattiesburg to make the 64-team national field.

It may only take two or three victories.

Kody Darcy. UTSA beat UAB 12-2 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Roadrunner Field in the final game of the Conference USA baseball regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander

Kody Darcy started at shortstop against UAB in the last game of the season at Roadrunner Field. At the plate, he contributed a sacrifice bunt that moved runners up in a two-run sixth and a two-run triple in the six-run seventh. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“We got a little more work to do,” Hallmark said. “We’ve got some games ahead of us at the (C-USA) tournament. (We want to) get over there and win some and try to make an at-large (NCAA bid.) If nothing else, win four over there (for the title) and lock it up.”

UTSA’s dreams of becoming the school’s first NCAA tournament entry in baseball since 2013 were dimmed on Thursday night when UAB erupted for an 18-7 victory. In the loss, the Roadrunners looked sluggish. They gave up a couple of long home runs and made a season-high five errors.

But, as it turned out, they weren’t down for long. By Friday night, they re-discovered their home-field magic, hitting five home runs en route to a 7-2 victory to even the series. UTSA pounded three of the homers in a five-run eighth inning.

On Saturday, not only did they shut down the Blazers for the second game in a row, limiting the visitors to four hits, but they also kept bashing balls out of the park. The Roadrunners hit four more homers, including two of them by senior Ian Bailey.

Leyton Barry. UTSA beat UAB 12-2 on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Roadrunner Field in the final game of the Conference USA baseball regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander

Leyton Barry went four for four at the plate and stole two bases. Here, he’s safe after doubling and stealing third in the bottom of the second inning. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Hallmark was at a loss to explain the turn-around from a less-than-memorable Game One against the Blazers.

“That’s baseball,” the coach said. “You know, you don’t always play good. It’s a difficult game. And we’ve played mostly good. You’ve seen us enough to know we don’t always play good, but we play good more than we don’t.

“This weekend, you win two out of three against a tough team, a 30-win team, you got to feel pretty good about yourself.”


UAB 31-23, 13-17
UTSA 35-19, 19-11

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 23-7
Louisiana Tech 20-10
Old Dominion 19-11
Florida Atlantic 19-11
UTSA 19-11
Middle Tennessee 17-13
Charlotte 17-13
UAB 13-17

Coming up

UTSA will play next week in the Conference USA tournament. The site is Hattiesburg, Miss. First games are Wednesday.

Fifth-seeded UTSA plays four seed Florida Atlantic on Wednesday night. If it wins, it would advance to meet the winner between one-seed and regular-season champion Southern Miss and eight seed UAB. That winner’s bracket game would be Thursday night.

The double-elimination event will run for five days through next Sunday. The NCAA tournament field will be unveiled the following Monday, on May 30, with the first games in the regionals set for June 3.


UTSA has some concerns going into Hattiesburg, with ace reliever Simon Miller nursing a sore back that has kept him out of the lineup for the last five games. Also, a few other pitchers in the bullpen haven’t been available lately because of injuries and aren’t expected to be back. Thus, it may fall on the offense to carry the team.

One of the positive signs is the resurgence of Ian Bailey. Bailey, a graduate student from Stevens High School, went two for two on Saturday with two solo home runs to give him three homers in his last two games and a team-high 15 for the season. In three games against the Blazers, Bailey was locked in. In 10 at bats, he had six hits and four RBIs.

Other notable developments included solid pitching performances from Jacob Jimenez, Braylon Owens and Luke Malone on Friday and from Ryan Ward, Ulises Quiroga and Fischer Kingsbery on Saturday. Quiroga was particularly good, working four innnings, giving up only one run on two hits and striking out six in the series finale.


Bailey, who started his collegiate career at Grambling University in Louisiana, was humbled after the home finale by the greetings he received from family and friends in the wake of his last game at Roadrunner Field.

“Honestly, I’m just very thankful for all the support, not just for myself, but for the team in general,” he said. “Without these people, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I’m just super thankful that they came out to support the team.”

And how did he feel about the way the team played this weekend? “We came out slow (on Thursday). But over the course of the weekend … we just turned (on) another gear, especially last night. We just found another gear and hit our stride.”

What happened between Thursday night’s loss and Game Two on Friday night?

“I just think we all knew we weren’t playing to the best of our abilities,” Bailey said. “I just think we collectively wanted to do better. (On Friday) we came out with a lot more energy and a lot more pride, with a lot more confidence, and we got the job done.”

And what of his own performance, finding his power stroke after not hitting a home run in six straight games?

“This past week, I had been in a little rut. With Coach Hallmark and the coaches, we went to the cage and just ironed it out. I came out with a lot more confidence. I was just really trusting in my approach. Good things happened.”


Here are a few highlights from UTSA’s 12-2 victory Saturday over the UAB Blazers:

UTSA’s home run barrage sparks a 7-2 victory over UAB

UTSA's Kody Darcy (second from left) celebrates with teammates after his eighth-inning home run against UAB on Friday, May 20, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Kody Darcy (second from left) celebrates with teammates after his eighth-inning home run against the UAB Blazers – Photo by Joe Alexander

Struggling on offense in the middle innings, UTSA exploded for five runs in the bottom of the eighth Friday night and emerged with a 7-2 victory over the UAB Blazers at Roadrunner Field.

Chase Keng, Ian Bailey and Kody Darcy hit home runs in the inning to help the Roadrunners set a school single-season record with their 18th Conference USA victory.

Coming out of the bullpen, Luke Malone shut down UAB on no runs and two hits in the final 2 and 1/3 innings to earn the victory.

UTSA's Ian Bailey celebrates while rounding the bases on his eighth-inning home run against UAB on Friday, May 20, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Ian Bailey, a senior graduate student from Stevens High School, rounds the bases after hitting his team-high 13th home run of the season in the eighth inning. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Solo home runs from Shane Sirdashney in the first inning and Jonathan Tapia in the third propelled UTSA into an early 2-2 tie.

The five home runs for the Roadrunners tied a team season high established only one other time — on March 6 — in a 15-7 victory at home over the Southern Jaguars.

UTSA and UAB, with one win apiece, will play the finale of their C-USA weekend series at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.


UAB 31-22, 13-16
UTSA 34-19, 18-11

Coming up

Saturday — UAB at UTSA, 11:30 a.m.

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 22-7
Louisiana Tech 19-10
UTSA 18-11
Old Dominion 18-11
Florida Atlantic 18-11
Middle Tennessee 17-12
Charlotte 17-12
UAB 13-16


UTSA has been playing a C-USA schedule since the spring of 2014. Previously, the UTSA school record for C-USA single-season wins came in 2015 when the Roadrunners went 17-13.

This year’s Roadrunners had their first chance to get No. 18 in the series opener on Thursday night, but the Blazers denied them, putting together two big innings for an 18-7 victory.

On Friday night, the Roadrunners scored a run in the bottom of the third on a Tapia homer to tie the game 2-2. But from there, the bats went cold.

Blazers pitching held the Roadrunners hitless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Bailey led off with a double, and UTSA went on to put runners at second and third with one out. But the Roadrunners failed to score.

UTSA finally broke through in the eighth. Shane Sirdashney led off with a single to left. Ryan Flores legged out a bunt single, putting men at first and second. With Josh Killeen at the plate, both moved up on a wild pitch.

Killeen broke the tie with a fielder’s choice ground ball that brought Sirdashney in from third for a 3-2 UTSA lead.

At that point, the Roadrunners’ power game materialized with back-to-back homers. Chase Keng launched a two-run homer to right center and Bailey smoked a solo shot to left. One out later, Darcy connected on a solo shot to left for the 7-2 lead.

For Darcy, it was his second home run of the year. He hit the first one in the season opener on Feb. 18 at Tarleton State. Bailey has 13 homers on the season, while Keng has seven, Tapia six and Sirdashney five.

UAB throttles UTSA 18-7 as Josh Sears hits two long home runs

UAB first baseman Josh Sears had four hits including two home runs against UTSA on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UAB first baseman Josh Sears had four hits, including two home runs, as UAB opened a three-game series against UTSA with an 18-7 victory at Roadrunner Field. — Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners needed a victory to kick-start their drive into next week’s round of postseason play.

They also wanted to win to keep adding to their season-long record of success, to show the NCAA tournament committee that they are indeed a worthy choice for an at-large bid.

What they got, instead, was a dose of humility.

Josh Sears hammered two long home runs, and the UAB Blazers took advantage of five UTSA errors en route to an easy 18-7 victory Thursday night at Roadrunner Field.

“It’s always good to win (a series opener),” first-year UAB coach Casey Dunn said. “I thought Josh Sears did a really good job of driving in some runs and creating a couple of big offensive innings for us.

“And I was really pleased with (relief pitcher) Tyler O’Clair tonight. We had kind of pre-determined that (starter) Jackson (Reynolds) would only go two innings, getting him ready for the (Conference USA) tournament next week.

UTSA's Chase Keng had five hits including a double against UAB on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Chase Keng went five for five with two doubles to spark the home team. — Photo by Joe Alexander.

“You know, Tyler being able to come in and throw four innings and do it fairly cleanly — they took some good at-bats against us and scored a couple — but for him to get us to the seventh inning with the lead I thought was really big.”

Sears hit a solo home run in the second inning, a long ball belted high into the screen over the left field wall.

He added a single and scored a run in a six-run third. After a fly out in the fifth inning, Sears came to bat twice in a 10-run seventh. First time up, he singled and scored. Next, he added another monstrous blow to left, a three-run homer.

The two long balls increased his season home run total to 17. His four RBIs gave him 63.

Surely, going into Game Two of the series Friday and Game Three on Saturday, the Roadrunners will have his name circled. Or, underlined. Or, adorned with an asterisk. Or, something, when they display the UAB lineup card.

“Josh has real power,” Dunn said. “I think if you asked him, I think he’d probably tell you he’s underachieved this year for what his expectations are. You know, he was really hot early in the year for us. He scuffled here in conference play. Hopefully he can get it rolling … and be that threat in the middle of the order for us.”

The next two games loom large for the Roadrunners.

They probably need to win both of them, and then win at least a couple next week at the C-USA tournament, in order to receive serious consideration as an at-large candidate for the 64-team NCAA field.

Of course, UTSA could make the NCAAs by claiming the C-USA’s automatic bid.

But that would be the tough road, as the Roadrunners would need to win the tournament. The C-USA tournament is May 25-29 in Hattiesburg at Pete Taylor Park, the home of the regular-season Southern Miss Golden Eagles, who clinched the title Thursday night with a road victory against Middle Tennessee.

For the Blazers, the goal remains just to keep playing well and try to build some confidence and get the pitching ready. They’ve clinched a spot in the tournament with the eighth-best record and can’t move up or down. The Roadrunners, who were within one game of the C-USA lead last week, are locked in a five-way tie for third place in the standings.


UAB 31-21, 13-15
UTSA 33-19, 17-11

Conference USA leaders

Southern Miss 21-7
Louisiana Tech 18-10
UTSA 17-11
Old Dominion 17-11
FAU 17-11
Middle Tennessee 17-11
Charlotte 17-11
UAB 13-15

Coming up

Friday — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Saturday — UAB at UTSA, 11:30 a.m.

C-USA tournament

May 25 through May 29 — At Hattiesburg, Miss.


It was a tough outing for UTSA starting pitcher Daniel Garza, who suffered his first loss of the season. Garza (3-1) pitched three innings and was responsible for seven runs on seven hits. The Blazers touched him for six hits and six runs — four earned — in the third inning as the visitors started to blow the game open.

After the Blazers exploded for 10 runs against the UTSA bullpen in the top of the seventh, the Roadrunners trailed in the game, 17-3. UAB’s 18 runs were an opponent season high against UTSA. UTSA’s five errors tied a season high from an April 17 loss at Rice, in which the Roadrunners fell by a score of 16-7.

Abraham DeLeon emerged as a bright spot on the UTSA pitching staff. DeLeon, a redshirt sophomore from Spring, pitched three innings and allowed only one run on one hit. It was DeLeon’s first appearance since April 17.

Around the C-USA

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles have clinched the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the C-USA tournament. The Golden Eagles locked up the championship with a 9-4 victory at Middle Tennessee, coupled with an 11-3 loss by second-place Louisiana Tech at Charlotte. Southern Miss (39-14) has two more to play in the regular season, both at Middle Tennessee on Friday and Saturday, before returning home to prepare for the tournament.

UTSA hosts UAB and hopes to stay hot for the postseason

Playing for both momentum and the chance to stay alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, UTSA opens a three-game Conference USA series tonight at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA is scheduled to take on the visiting UAB Blazers tonight, Friday night and Saturday afternoon in advance of next week’s C-USA tournament.

The Roadrunners were eliminated from C-USA regular-season title contention by losing two of three on the road last week at Southern Mississippi.

At the same time, they still have much to play for, including an opportunity to keep alive hopes for both an at-large and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The winner of the C-USA tournament claims the league’s automatic bid into a 64-team national field.

In order to stay in contention for an NCAA at-large bid, UTSA likely needs to sweep or at least win two games against UAB this weekend, and then also win a couple of games in Hattiesburg next week, when eight teams convene for the C-USA tournament at Pete Taylor Park.

The tournament site in Hattiesburg is the home ball park of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, who lead the C-USA standings by two games over Louisiana Tech and by three over UTSA and Middle Tennessee with three to play in the regular season.

Southern Miss closes with three on the road at Middle Tennessee, while Louisiana Tech will play three at Charlotte.


UAB 30-21, 12-15
UTSA 33-18, 17-10

Coming up

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

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
FAU 16-11
UAB 12-15


UTSA, under third-year coach Pat Hallmark, can set a school record for Conference USA victories in a single season if it can win tonight. The Roadrunners went 17-13 in 2015 under Coach Jason Marshall.

The C-USA is fifth in the nation in the NCAA’s ratings percentage index. With victories over Stanford, TCU, Texas State and Southern Miss, UTSA is 45th as a team. UAB is 93rd.

At-large bids into the NCAA tournament are determined by a selection committee. The tournament field is scheduled to be announced on May 30.

Opening games in the NCAA regionals would be on June 3. UTSA has made the NCAA tournament in baseball only three times (1994, 2005 and 2013).

All three times, the Roadrunners made it via the automatic bid, as tournament champions in the Southland Conference in ’94 and ’05 and in the Western Athletic Conference in ’13.

UAB Blazers pound it inside to down UTSA, 68-56

Dhieu Deing. UAB beat UTSA 68-56 on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Dhieu Deing came off the bench to lead the UTSA Roadrunners with 16 points Thursday in a 68-56 loss to the UAB Blazers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The UTSA Roadrunners sank six three-pointers in the first half and played the powerful UAB Blazers to within seven points at halftime.

After that, the shots did not fall as frequently as they would have liked.

As a result, the bigger and more athletic Blazers claimed a 68-56 victory at the UTSA Convocation Center, winning their 21st game of the season, while handing the embattled Roadrunners their 20th loss.

It is UTSA’s first 20-loss season in six years.

KJ Buffen. UAB beat UTSA 68-56 on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Forward KJ Buffen led the Blazers with 16 points. He hit 6 of 12 from the field and 4 of 5 at the free throw line. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Roadrunners dug themselves a hole with 12 turnovers in the first half, allowing UAB to step up the pace of the game.

“We got to do a better job taking care of the ball, getting in the paint better and being stronger with the ball,” guard Erik Czumbel said.

The Blazers dominated the game inside, as they produced a 42-24 margin in points in the paint.

Forward KJ Buffen led UAB with 16 points, and guard Jordan Walker added 14. Guard Tavin Lovan and center Trey Jemison had 10 apiece.

For UTSA, guard Dhieu Deing scored 16 points. Center Jacob Germany had 14 points and seven rebounds. Czumbel added seven points, six assists and four rebounds.

In the first half, the Roadrunners stayed within reach by hitting 6 of 12 on three point attempts. After intermission, they made only 2 of 10 from behind the arc.

Lachlan Bofinger. UAB beat UTSA 68-56 on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Lachlan Bofinger battles 7-foot, 260-pound center Trey Jemison of the UAB Blazers.- Photo by Joe Alexander

The Roadrunners were without high-scoring guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, who left the team on Tuesday and entered the transfer portal.

Ivy-Curry’s departure was the latest in a series of distractions that have haunted the team this season, but Czumbel said players are dealing with them.

“I think we’ve handled it the right way,” he said. “We keep sticking together. We have a bunch of good guys in our locker room. That’s not an issue. We just got to lock in on the basketball side of things.”

With the loss to the Blazers, the Roadrunners fell to 9-20 on the season, hitting the 20-loss mark for the first time since a Brooks Thompson-coached 2015-16 season, when they finished 5-27.

“We just got to stay together, keep being positive,” Czumbel said. “We still have a shot. We have chance to win the tournament. Anything is possible. We just got to get on a roll these next few games.”

UTSA hosts C-USA West Division leading North Texas and a good Rice team next week to close out the regular season.

Darius McNeill. UAB beat UTSA 68-56 on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Conference USA men's basketball at the Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Darius McNeill produced eight points and two rebounds. McNeill played 33 minutes in the absence of Jordan Ivy-Curry, who has left the team and entered the transfer portal. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“We got tough opponents ahead of us,” Czumbel said. “That’s the good part. We have to face up to really good teams. It’s a challenge every night. I think we can improve and get ready for the tournament.”

First half

The Blazers made the most of their speed and athleticism, scoring 10 points on fast breaks as they assumed a 37-30 lead at intermission. UAB held a 22-10 edge in points in the paint.

Forward KJ Buffen scored 12 on 5 of 9 shooting. Michael Ertel and Jordan Walker scored seven apiece.

UAB took control early in the half with a 13-0 run. The spurt lifted the Blazers into a 26-14 lead when Ertel hit a shot in the paint with 8:35 remaining.

Jacob Germany, Darius McNeill, Dhieu Deing and Isaiah Addo-Ankrah paced the Roadrunners with six points apiece. Addo-Ankrah, Deing and McNeill all hit a couple of three pointers.


UTSA 9-20, 2-14
UAB 21-7, 11-4

Coming up

March 3 β€” North Texas at UTSA, 7 p.m.
March 5 β€” Rice at UTSA, 2 p.m.

C-USA tournament

March 8 β€” Southern Miss vs. UTSA, at Frisco
March 9-12 β€” TBA