AAC baseball: Surging East Carolina takes a half-game lead on UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The East Carolina Pirates swept a doubleheader on Saturday and moved into a half-game lead in the American Athletic Conference baseball race over the UTSA Roadrunners.

The ninth-ranked Pirates won 11-7 and 11-4 on their home field to sweep a three-game series from the Wichita State Shockers.

With UTSA preparing to host the UAB Blazers in a series finale in San Antonio on Sunday, here are the updated AAC standings:

American Athletic Conference
Baseball standings

East Carolina 11-4, 31-8
UTSA 10-4, 23-16
Charlotte 8-7, 19-21
Florida Atlantic 7-7, 20-16
South Florida 7-7, 21-18
Wichita State 7-8, 21-20
Tulane 6-8, 21-18
Memphis 6-9, 18-22
UAB 5-9, 17-20
Rice 5-9, 14-25

UTSA downs UAB, 7-5, with series finale set for Sunday

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA on Saturday bounced back from a loss in the series opener and downed the UAB Blazers 7-5 at Roadrunner Field. With the series knotted at one win apiece, UTSA and UAB will play the finale of the three-game set on Sunday at noon.

Caleb Hill, Alex Olivo and Mark Henning each had two hits apiece for the Roadrunners. Hill and Olivo scored twice and Henning had two RBI. Reliever Daniel Garza (3-1) pitched five innings to earn the victory.

With the win, the Roadrunners kept pace with the East Carolina Pirates in the chase for first place in the American Athletic Conference. Later in the day, the Pirates rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat the Wichita State Shockers, 11-7.

UTSA and East Carolina are tied for first place at 10-4.


UAB 17-20, 5-9
UTSA 23-16, 10-4

Series at a glance

Game 1: UAB 7, UTSA 3
Game 2: UTSA 7, UAB 5

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Sunday, noon.


UTSA’s Mason Lytle was hit on his batting helmet by a pitch in the bottom of the second inning and had to come out of the game briefly. After he was checked out by a trainer, he took the field in the top of the third and played the rest of the game. Lytle leads the Roadrunners with a .388 average.

Roadrunners utility man Isaiah Walker played in a game for the first time since April 5. Sidelined with injuries for much of the season, he came off the bench to pinch hit in the bottom of the third and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. In the top of the fourth, he entered the defensive alignment at third base. He finished one for two on the day.

The Roadrunners have won all four of their weekend series in the American, and now they’ll try to make it five for five with a victory on Sunday. UTSA has claimed series victories over East Carolina (2-1), Tulane (3-0), Charlotte (2-1) and Memphis (2-1).

Blazers down UTSA, 7-3, to hand Riojas his first loss

UAB's David Harris scores in the fifth inning to tie the game 3-3. UAB beat UTSA 7-3 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 19, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UAB’s David Harris slides in home, scoring from second base in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Nick Hollifield. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Logan Braunschweig and the UAB Blazers beat the hottest pitcher in the American Athletic Conference on Friday night at UTSA. Braunschweig’s two-run double highlighted a three-run ninth inning as the Blazers downed the Roadrunners, 7-3, handing UTSA star Ruger Riojas the first loss of his career.

Riojas (7-1) entered the game undefeated in a season and a half for the Roadrunners. After going 5-0 last year as a freshman, the sophomore righthander from Wimberley is now 12-1. He made his 37th appearance as a collegian in relief in the fifth inning and pitched into the ninth.

Ruger Riojas. UAB beat UTSA 7-3 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 19, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Ruger Riojas took the first loss of his UTSA career after yielding four runs on seven hits in 3 and 2/3 innings. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Blazers touched him for four runs on seven hits in 3 and 2/3 innings to win their third straight game, including wins at Rice last Sunday, at 18th-ranked Alabama on Tuesday and now against the team that had been leading the AAC standings.

“The biggest thing for us is, it’s three straight good games we’ve played,” UAB coach Casey Dunn said. “We had a good win last week on Sunday and we carried that over to a good win on Tuesday night against Alabama.

“We came out here and played … error-free baseball, with the exception of the mis-read in the outfield when they were able to score from first on the single. You take that play out of the equation and I thought we played really clean.”

UTSA appeared to have the upper hand after scoring three runs in the fourth inning for a 3-1 lead. With runners at first and third, Hector Rodriguez looped a single into center field. Freshman Diego Diaz, one of the fastest players on the Roadrunners, motored all the way from first and slid in safely.

Alex Olivo followed with an RBI single, but the Roadrunners tried to score a second run on the play but were thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

After the game, Dunn acknowledged that it was significant that they were able to beat Riojas, who entered the game with a 1.91 earned run average, good for third in the conference and 15th in the nation. His seven wins were tied for first with East Carolina star Trey Yesavage.

Robert Orloski. UAB beat UTSA 7-3 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 19, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman Robert Orloski gave up three runs, two of them earned, on three hits in 4 and 2/3 innings. He struck out four. – Photo by Joe Aleander

“He’s the guy we talked about,” Dunn said. “I’ve played against (coach) Pat (Hallmark) and his guys for a few years now, and he seems to like his best guys in the bullpen and try to get to ’em in later in games. We talked a lot about it, that if we were going to win, we were going to have to beat that guy, and I thought our guys had a good approach.”

The Blazers already scored once in the fifth inning against UTSA starter Rob Orloski when Riojas entered the game. Trying to protect a 3-2 lead, Riojas threw a fast ball that Nick Hollifield whacked into right field for an RBI single. The game was tied.

In the sixth, Mayes White slapped an RBI single to put UAB on top, 4-3. Riojas settled down and blanked the Blazers in the seventh and eighth innings. But he couldn’t get through the ninth unscathed. With one out and runners at first and second, Braunschweig, a left-side hitter, laced a double down the left field line that scored two runs.

Hollifield followed with an RBI single up the middle for the last run of the game.


UAB 17-19, 5-8
UTSA 22-16, 9-4

Coming up

Saturday: UAB at UTSA, 11 a.m.
Sunday: UAB at UTSA, noon

Hector Rodriguez loops a single into center field in the bottom of the fourth, driving in two runs. Freshman speedster Diego Diaz scores all the way from first base on the play. – Video by Jerry Briggs

Alex Olivo drives in a run with a single through the right side in the bottom of the fourth, but the Roadrunners try to score again on the play and get thrown out at the plate. Rightfielder Tyler Waugh made the throw to catcher Nick Hollifield, who applied the tag on a sliding Mason Lytle. – Video by Jerry Briggs

Ruger Riojas. UAB beat UTSA 7-3 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 19, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander Ruger Riojas went undefeated in his first 36 appearances as a pitcher for the UTSA Roadrunners. After finally taking a loss against the UAB Blazers Friday night, Riojas fell to 7-1 on the season and to 12-1 in his career. – Photo by Joe Alexander

AAC-leading Roadrunners host UAB Blazers in three-game series

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The first-place UTSA Roadrunners will host the UAB Blazers this weekend in American Athletic Conference baseball. A three-game series will commence with the opener set for Friday at 6 p.m. First pitch for Game 2 has been moved up to 11 a.m. Saturday to avoid incoming inclement weather. The finale is set for noon on Sunday.

UTSA opened the week on Tuesday with a 4-2 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In a development that could prove helpful this weekend, pitchers Ryan Ward and Ryan Beaird worked three scoreless innings apiece. Braylon Owens and Ruger Riojas split the last three innings, with Riojas pitching shutout ball for the final 1 and 2/3 innings.

Riojas is 7-0 with six saves. He’s fashioned a 1.91 ERA to go along with an 0.98 WHIP. UTSA’s pitching staff was highly efficient against the Islanders, striking out 12 and walking none.

Mason Lytle and Caleb Hill are leading the UTSA offense. Lytle is among the AAC’s batting average leaders at .398. In addition, he has hit eight home runs and 33 RBI. Hill, meanwhile, is hitting .347 with a team-leading nine homers and 32 RBI.

UAB has had an up-and-down season. But the Blazers enjoyed a big day on Tuesday with a road victory against 18th-ranked Alabama. Blayze Berry, tonight’s projected starter, is 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA.


UAB 16-19, 4-8
UTSA 22-15, 9-3

Coming up

Friday: UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Saturday: UAB at UTSA, 11 a.m.
Sunday: UAB at UTSA, noon

AAC standings

UTSA 9-3, 22-15
East Carolina 8-4, 28-8
South Florida 7-5, 21-16
Wichita State 7-5, 21-17
Florida Atlantic 6-6, 19-15
Memphis 6-6, 18-19
Tulane 5-7, 20-17
Charlotte 5-7, 16-21
UAB 4-8, 16-19
Rice 3-9, 12-25

UTSA women sizzle in blowout victory over first-place UAB

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins (top) is hoisted in the air by freshman Idara Udo (at right) after UTSA defeated the UAB Blazers Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center. Teammate Hailey Atwood is in the foreground. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Forward Jordyn Jenkins played as hard as she could for as long as she could, and her return to basketball on Sunday afternoon following 10 months of knee rehabilitation seemed to inspire the UTSA Roadrunners to a 76-58 victory over the first-place UAB Blazers.

With the victory, UTSA improved to 3-0 at home this season against teams coming into the Convocation Center in first place in the American Athletic Conference. The Roadrunners have beaten the Charlotte 49ers, the North Texas Mean Green and now the Blazers at home in AAC play.

Jenkins, the 2022-23 Conference USA Player of the Year, scored 11 points in 12 minutes off the bench.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Jenkins scored 11 points in 12 minutes Sunday in her return to basketball 10 months after she suffered an offseason knee injury. – Photo by Joe Alexander

More than just the raw statistics, it was a joyful afternoon for Jenkins, who could be seen smiling and laughing even during pre-game stretching. On her first shot attempt, she swished a three. After the victory was complete, the native of Kent, Wash., was bear-hugged and hoisted off the floor by freshman Idara Udo.

During the second quarter, Coach Karen Aston utilized Jenkins creatively, at intervals, using her on set offensive possessions and then bringing her back to the bench on defense. The coach managed the situation deftly, as the Roadrunners started to take control of the game with a second-quarter outburst.

UTSA played the game without rebounding and shot blocking leader Elyssa Coleman. Asked about Coleman’s status for a scheduled Wednesday night road contest at Tulsa, Aston said, “I think she’ll be fine. We were making sure that we’ve got her down the stretch (of the season). It really was precautionary today. I wasn’t happy about it, but it’s what’s best for our team.”

For the Roadrunners, the last three games seem to have underscored the up-and-down nature of their season.

First, they defeated the Mean Green at home by eight points in overtime on Jan. 31. Four days later, the Tulane Green Wave came into San Antonio winless in AAC road games and walloped the Roadrunners, leading by more than 20 in the second half and eventually winning by 11. Now, UTSA is riding high again after demolishing the Blazers.

Kyra White. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA senior Kyra White looks to attack the basket against the UAB Blazers. White produced 12 points and five rebounds. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I hope that we understand that every game is a big game,” Aston said. “I think that the league really has a lot of parity. I said this last week. You see a team (that is) second or third in the league, getting beat by somebody that’s in the bottom half … I just think that there’s a lot of parity. If you don’t play the way we did today, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

With Aysia Proctor, Jenkins, Kyra White and Sidney Love all scoring in double figures, the Roadrunners also did a number on the Blazers defensively, holding them down to 37 percent shooting. From three-point range, UAB started off well but finished eight of 26 from behind the arc for 31 percent.

UTSA also dominated the boards, as usual, winning the battle 46-33, including 18-9 on the offensive end.

In the AAC, with so many teams roughly equal in talent, Aston said it’s all a matter of playing with urgency. The Roadrunners definitely had it going against the Blazers as they kept pounding the glass and building the lead to as many as 24 points with three minutes left. Clearly, the effort was the difference.

“I’m not saying that’s easy,” Aston said. “I think it’s easier said than done to bring the type of energy and attention to detail that we did. But when we do that, I really think we can compete with anybody.”

It was a big moment for the team when Jenkins checked into the game with 5:35 remaining in the first quarter. After a few possessions, she made her presence known, swishing a three-point shot from the left wing. Her teammates stood and cheered the moment, as the fans joined in.

“I’m just excited,” said Jenkins, a USC transfer who averaged 20.6 points at UTSA last year. “It’s been a really long time since I’ve been on the court, you know … I don’t know, it was just exciting. I worked out earlier today and was getting a whole bunch of shots up on that play specifically. As soon as coach ran that play, I kind of already had it set … I said, OK, let me come off this (screen) hard and make the shot.”


UAB 17-7, 8-4
UTSA 12-10, 6-5

Coming up

UTSA at Tulsa, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6:30 p.m.
UTSA at North Texas, Feb. 18, 2 p.m.


UAB coach Randy Norton. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UAB coach Coach Randy Norton’s UAB Blazers came out with energy early but couldn’t sustain it, becoming the third first-place team in the American Athletic Conference to lose this season at the UTSA Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UAB – Kylee Schneringer scored 12 points to lead the Blazers. Guard Mia Moore had 11 points and six rebounds. Also, guard Denim DeShields, the team’s offensive catalyst, produced seven points and three assists. Together Moore and DeShields shot a combined 6 for 21 from the field. Moore left the game in the second half with a lower leg injury. Ashton Elley came off the bench to score nine points. She hit three from three-point range.

UTSA – Aysia Proctor scored a team-high 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Kyra White had 12 points and five boards. Jenkins and Sidney Love both scored 11 points apiece. Jenkins hit three of 12 shots from the field and one of three from long distance. She added four-for-four at the free-throw line. Idara Udo scored nine points and tied Proctor for the team-high with seven boards.

After three quarters

Playing for the first time this season with Jenkins on the floor, the Roadrunners recovered from a shaky start to build a 51-38 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Roadrunners ran an effective offense and outscored the Blazers 38-20 in the middle two periods.

By the end of the third, Proctor had 12 points, Jenkins had nine and Udo and Love six apiece.

In the second quarter, UTSA blew out UAB by a 19-6 count to take an eight-point lead at intermission. After intermission, the Roadrunners took control of the game. They outscored the first-place team in the AAC 19-14 in the third period.


UTSA promoted the game for cancer awareness. “I think it’s a reminder to all of us that there is a bigger battle going on for a lot of people across the world,” Aston said.

As she was leaving the interview room, UTSA’s Jordyn Jenkins announced her favorite in the Super Bowl. “Go Usher,” she said, referring to the singer/entertainer extraordinaire who was scheduled to serve as the halftime entertainment at the NFL championship game in Las Vegas.

Aysia Proctor. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Aysia Proctor from San Antonio-area Clemens High School led the Roadrunners with 14 points. She hit six of nine from the field and two of four from three-point distance. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins made her UTSA season debut on a minutes restriction Sunday, totaling 12 minutes for the game. Regardless, she made a significant impact on the game, coming off the bench for 11 points and six rebounds. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Breaking: Jordyn Jenkins is on the floor, warming up for UTSA

Editor’s note: It appears that UTSA forward and 2022-23 Conference USA Player of the Year Jordyn Jenkins will make her season debut on Sunday against the UAB Blazers. Jenkins, who averaged 20.6 points a year ago, is on the floor warming up for the Roadrunners. She hasn’t played yet this year after suffering a knee injury last April. It also appears that UTSA center Elyssa Coleman will not play. Coleman didn’t practice on Saturday and isn’t in uniform.

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA women’s basketball coach Karen Aston says she will have a conversation from time to time with forward Jordyn Jenkins.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA women's basketball lost to UTEP 74-67 in Conference USA on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins is expected to make her season debut for the UTSA women’s basketball team today. – File photo by Joe Alexander

The two will talk about the player’s pre-game routine.

“I’ve told her, ‘Don’t put your uniform on unless you’re ready to play, because I might put you in,’ ” Aston said.

The coach said the two discuss this topic “every day before warmups.”

Presumably, that conversation will take place again Sunday before the Roadrunners hit the floor a 1 p.m. game at the Convocation Center against the UAB Blazers.

On Saturday, it became apparent that a decision is looming on whether Jenkins will try to play in the last few weeks of the season, or whether she will continue her workouts with an eye on not playing, which would allow her to maintain two full seasons of eligibility.

For background, the 2022-23 Conference USA Player of the Year injured a knee last April. The mishap occurred in the weeks after the Roadrunners were eliminated in the semifinals from the C-USA tournament. It was evident then that her recovery would take time, and indeed it has.

A 20-points per game scorer last season, she hasn’t played yet through 21 games. At the same time, she has made steady progress and has stayed steady with her rehabilitation and her commitment to the program. Jenkins has attended every practice that I’ve seen all season. Every game, too.

Lately, her workouts have been encouraging. For the past two weeks, she seems to do a little more each time out. On Saturday, she was banging against male practice players in the post.

Afterward, I asked the coach, “Is No. 32 getting ready to play?

“Um, she looks better,” Aston said. “She’s definitely coming along.”

At that, I followed up with a question on whether the two have talked about the implications of playing the last few weeks of the season and having it count toward a year of her eligibility.

“We talk about it, for sure,” Aston said. “So, we’ll see. I mean, (the season) is winding down.”

Do you think she might play (against UAB), I asked.

“Day to day,” the coach replied.

At that, I glanced at the coach and smiled. The coach, who has a world-class poker face, smiled back — slightly.

“I don’t know,” she said.

With seven games remaining in the regular season remaining, it’s logical that today could be the day, considering the Roadrunners might need her scoring to avoid dropping their second home game in a row.

So, as the coach is fond of saying, “We’ll see.”


UAB 17-6, 8-3
UTSA 11-10, 5-5

Coming up

UTSA at Tulsa, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.

UAB edges UTSA, 54-53, in AAC women’s basketball

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Guard Denim DeShields scored 19 of her 22 points in the second half Saturday as the UAB Blazers rallied for a 54-53 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners in the American Athletic Conference.

In the game played at Birmingham, UTSA led most of the way but fell behind in the closing minutes. In the last 25 seconds, the Roadrunners trailed by three points and gained possession on a turnover by the Blazers.

With the ball, UTSA put it in Kyra White’s hands. She had it at the three-point line and missed a triple.

UTSA freshman Idara Udo rebounded and sank a short put-back at the buzzer, leaving the Roadrunners with the final one-point deficit.

White led the Roadrunners with 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Udo and Sidney Love also scored 11.

For the most part, UTSA controlled the pace and the action. UTSA led 18-10 after the first quarter and 31-21 at the half.

The Roadrunners continued to play well after intermission, with Elyssa Coleman scoring to give them a 43-32 lead with 2:38 remaining in the third period.


UTSA 10-8, 4-3
UAB 14-4, 5-1

Coming up

UTSA at SMU, Saturday, 2 p.m.

UAB wins in the final seconds against UTSA, 78-76

UAB guard Efrem ‘Butta’ Johnson (No. 24) circles the perimeter, receives a pass and knocks down the game-winner. Johnson, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Huntsville, Ala., hit two baskets in the last minute of the game and finished with 17 points for the Blazers. – Video by The JB Replay

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Guard Efrem Johnson nailed a 16-foot jumper off the side with three seconds left Tuesday night, lifting the UAB Blazers to a 78-76 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners in the inaugural American Athletic Conference game for both teams.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UAB beat UTSA 78-76 in the men's basketball American Conference opener on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry produced 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was his second straight game of 20 or more. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“They made a contested two to win it,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast. “Frustrating. Frustrating.”

After a timeout, the Roadrunners had 2.5 seconds left to try to pull it out. They were inbounding with 92 feet to the other end of the court. So it was a low-percentage chance to tie or win it. And, sure enough, the play was blown up when UAB guard Eric Gaines intercepted the inbounds.

“Disappointed for our guys,” Henson said later in the interview room. “We did some things very well in the game. It feels a little like the Oregon State game, where we did enough good things on both ends to win the ball game. It’s right there.”

UAB forward Yaxel Lendeborg emerged as the individual star of the night with 23 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots. The performance followed his 24-point, 15-rebound effort in a 90-85 victory over UNC Asheville last Friday in Birmingham. Against UTSA, Lendeborg knocked down five of six 3-point shots.

Coming into the conference opener, the Roadrunners talked openly about how they felt “disrespected” in a preseason poll that pegged them for a last-place finish in the 14-team league. One player mused that “a lot of people think we’re not even supposed to be in this conference.”

Even with the loss, the Roadrunners might have changed some opinions with their all-out effort against a team that had been picked fourth in the same preseason poll. Playing in front of a television audience on ESPNU, UTSA pressured on defense and forced UAB into 40 percent shooting from the field and 20 turnovers.

“I think we made a statement that we’re not here to quit or lay down, and that we’re going to fight in every game,” UTSA forward Dre Fuller Jr. said.

Christian Tucker. UAB beat UTSA 78-76 in the men's basketball American Conference opener on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA guard Christian Tucker finished with 15 points on six of nine shooting from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The final minute of the game was hotly contested. In fact, it looked a lot like a game headed for overtime.

First, UTSA power forward Trey Edmonds sank a short hook shot with 57 seconds left to tie the score. On the other end, Johnson nailed a pull-up jumper as UAB went back in front by two.

Not to be outdone, UTSA’s Jordan Ivy-Curry made a play to tie it again. Defending at the top of the circle, Gaines stepped in front of the UTSA playmaker try to draw a charge. But Ivy-Curry got the call, went to the line with 25 seconds left and knocked down two free throws. Once again, it was deadlocked, this time at 76-all.

On the ensuing possession, the Blazers played it perfectly. As Gaines dribbled at the top, Johnson set up in one corner. As the clock ticked down toward 10 seconds, Johnson started to circle the perimeter, headed for the other side of the floor.

He caught the pass, rose up and swished it.

On UTSA’s last play, Fuller was inbounding the ball from the baseline. Video showed UTSA guard Isaiah Wyatt streaking down one sideline toward the other end, with Christian Tucker setting a pick near halfcourt to free him. A UAB player backed up, creating contact that sent Tucker sprawling to the court. There was no call.

Dre Fuller Jr. UAB beat UTSA 78-76 in the men's basketball American Conference opener on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Dre Fuller Jr. enjoyed a big game with 15 points. Fuller hit three of six shots from outside the 3-point arc. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Meanwhile, the Blazers had the inbounds covered effectively, with Gaines stepping into traffic to secure the steal — and the game.


UAB 9-5, 1-0
UTSA 6-8, 0-1


The Roadrunners have lost five straight conference openers. Their last victory in a conference opener came on Jan. 3 of 2019 in San Antonio when they beat the UTEP Miners, 75-60. Henson, in his eighth year with the Roadrunners, is 3-5 in games that have kicked off conference schedules … UTSA guard Adante’ Holiman went down with an ankle injury with 4:37 remaining when he was fouled on a e-point shot attempt. Despite the injury, he made two of three free throws and then had to come out of the game … The Blazers lead the series with the Roadrunners, 12-5. UAB has won six out of seven against UTSA under fourth-year coach Andy Kennedy. UTSA has lost five straight to UAB, with its last victory coming on Feb. 27 of 2021. On that day, the Roadrunners won 96-79 in the last game at home for former star guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.


UAB — Lendeborg produced 23 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks in 40 minutes. The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder stepped outside to knock down five 3 pointers. Also, guard Efrem Johnson, 17 points and four assists. Daniel Ortiz, 11 points, with three from behind the arc. Eric Gaines had 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.

UTSA — Jordan Ivy-Curry, 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in nearly 29 minutes. Ivy-Curry had to come out for a few minutes down the stretch when he picked up his fourth foul. Dre Fuller, 15 points on six of 12 from the field, including three triples. Also, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Christian Tucker, 15 points, six of nine shooting.

Key team stats

UAB outrebounded UTSA, 49-35, including 17-13 on the offensive end. The Blazers also knocked down 55 percent from 3-point distance, namely, 11 of 20.

First half

The Roadrunners played one of their better halves of the season as they emerged with a 40-39 lead going into the break at intermission.

UTSA’s pressure defense forced 11 turnovers and held an explosive offensive team to 38 percent shooting from the field.

On the other end, guards Jordan Ivy-Curry and Christian Tucker used their speed and savvy to hurt the Blazers. Ivy-Curry had 10 points on four of seven shooting. Tucker, meanwhile, slashed inside to hit four of six from the floor. He had nine points at the half.

UAB stayed close in the game with its attack on the rim and nine of 10 free-throw shooting. UTSA wasn’t nearly as productive at the stripe, making one of four, with all of the attempts by Trey Edmonds.

Center Yaxel Lendeborg was big for the Blazers, producing 14 points and nine rebounds. Eric Gaines also emerged as a key player with 10 points.

JB’s video replay

Forward Trey Edmonds posts up and scores on a short hook with 57 seconds remaining against the UAB Blazers.

UTSA rebounds after a Jordan Ivy-Curry miss and gets the ball to Christian Tucker, whose drive to the bucket for a reverse layup lifted the Roadrunners into a 72-71 lead with 1:32 remaining.

UTSA’s Christian Tucker drives and dishes to Dre Fuller Jr. for an easy bucket.

UAB forward Yaxel Lendeborg buries a three on a pick and pop play early in the second half. Lendeborg led all scorers with 23 points. He hit five of six from 3-point range.

Feeling disrespected: UTSA men open AAC play at home tonight

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners will play their inaugural American Athletic Conference game in men’s basketball tonight, intent on re-casting a narrative that has bothered them for months.

Jordan Ivy-Curry had 22 points and eight assists off the bench for UTSA in a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry has averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in three games since he was activated. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Projected for a last-place finish in the official AAC preseason poll, the Roadrunners (6-7) will host the UAB Blazers (8-5). Tipoff is at 8 p.m. at the Convocation Center.

“It’s a motivation thing,” UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry said. “We’ve been picked last. That’s not our goal. I feel like they’re disrespecting us. I feel like we’re going to build off that. We’re going to motivate. We’re not going to get down. We’re going to keep moving forward.”

Recently-activated, Ivy-Curry has supplied a spark to the Roadrunners. The junior from La Marque, in his third game of the season, scored 22 points and passed for eight assists last Thursday night in a 103-89 victory over the Prairie View A&M Panthers.

All told, UTSA has lost two games and has won one since Ivy-Curry returned. But it easily could have been 2-1 for the Roadrunners considering they led for most of a game on the road at Oregon State before getting beat by one point in the final seconds.

After dropping the 66-65 decision to OSU, UTSA returned home and played perhaps its poorest game of the year in a 63-53 loss to Army.

Ivy-Curry struggled against the Black Knights, hitting only one for seven from the field and passing for one assist. But against Prairie View, the 6-foot-3 guard was on his game, making making seven of 11 shots while also creating for his teammates.

In three games, Ivy-Curry has averaged 11.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds.

With the player nicknamed “Juice” in the lineup, the Roadrunners are clearly better equipped to match up with teams in the AAC. And yet, it’s possible that they also might be going through an adjustment phase in how they mesh his talents into their overall scheme.

UTSA coach Steve Henson said, overall, Ivy-Curry has handled the transition well.

“You have to give him a lot of credit,” Henson said. “He handled the first game very well. At Oregon State, (he) jumped in there and passed the ball, distributed the ball. He was not hunting shots. He’s a very good scorer. One of his biggest strengths is his ability to score the basketball.

“(But) I think he understood other guys had been playing (and we were) fairly deep into the season. I think He understood that he needed to make a good impact by doing other things in that ball game. The next two games, he really distributed the ball again. You know, his assist numbers are terrific now.”

Ivy-Curry has been practicing with the team since the summer when he transferred in from the University of the Pacific.

After starting his career at UTSA, moving to Pacific and then moving back, he was one of dozens of players nationwide who was deemed a “multi-time” transfer. He knew when he arrived in the summer that he would likely have to sit out the year as part of the NCAA transfer rule, which has been set aside in the wake of a court case challenging its legality.

Ineligible one day, eligible the next. Ivy-Curry and the Roadrunners have done their best to roll with it.

“I think he’s handled it very well,” Henson said. “You knew that (his presence) would impact someone or maybe more than one guy in terms of minutes or role. But that’s just the nature of it. I think he’s handled it pretty well. I think his teammates have handled it pretty well. I don’t think right now, there’s not much adjusting left.”

Led by fourth-year coach Andy Kennedy, the Blazers are coming off seasons of 22, 27 and 29 victories, respectively. The Blazers also finished in the top tier of Conference USA each season, winning 13, 14 and 14 games. Last season, they went 29-10 and 14-6 and then rolled to the finals of the NIT, where they lost to North Texas in the finals.

The Blazers have won five of six meetings, including four straight, against the Roadrunners during Kennedy’s tenure. Though this year’s squad will not have high-scoring Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who was in the Dallas Mavericks’ camp last fall before getting waived, UAB will come in with a talented squad featuring 6-2 point guard Eric Gaines.

While UAB is expected to finish in the upper division in the AAC, UTSA isn’t getting nearly as much attention at the moment. Tonight, however, the Roadrunners will get their first chance to start making some noise. To drive the narrative in another direction.

“We all have that chip on our shoulders,” forward Trey Edmonds said. “But, with us, we constantly have to be reminded of that. Like, OK. Remember what we’re here for. Remember that. This is the reality of the situation. The reality is, we’re not supposed to be doing anything.

“A lot of people think we’re not even supposed to be in this conference.”


UAB 8-5
UTSA 6-7

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, tonight at 8
UTSA at Rice, Saturday, 2 p.m.

AAC Standings

Memphis 11-2
Florida Atlantic 10-3
Tulane 9-3
Tulsa 9-3
SMU 9-4
South Florida 7-4
UAB 8-5
Wichita State 8-5
North Texas 7-5
East Carolina 7-6
Temple 7-6
Charlotte 6-6
Rice 6-7
UTSA 6-7

Tonight’s schedule

East Carolina at FAU, 6 p.m.; UAB at UTSA, 8 p.m.; Charlotte at SMU, 8 p.m.

NET ratings/AAC teams
Through games of Jan. 1, 2024

18. Florida Atlantic
40. Memphis
47. SMU
94. North Texas
107. Wichita State
112. Charlotte
126. Tulane
160. South Florida
189. Tulsa
201. Temple
215. UAB
225. Rice
239. East Carolina
289. UTSA

UTSA’s Trey Edmonds makes the most of a new opportunity

Trey Edmonds. UTSA beat Lamar 86-83 in non-conference men's basketball on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Trey Edmonds, averaging 8.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, has emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises among newcomers to the team this season. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA post Trey Edmonds admitted Sunday afternoon that he didn’t have any major plans for New Year’s Eve. “Just going back to the crib,” he said. Which is just about the norm in his life, anyway.

With most of his time committed either to basketball practice or school, not much of any day remains for other interests.

In less than a year since he moved to San Antonio to join the Roadrunners, the native Coloradan acknowledged that, yes, he spends time with some friends that he’s made outside the team.

He said he likes to watch movies, and he also is a music fan, particularly a rapper by the name of “Babyface Ray.”

“The team makes fun of me for listening to him, because they really don’t like him,” Edmonds said with a laugh. “That’s my favorite, but I also listen to R&B sometimes. I got some country sometimes. I got hip hop, rap. I mix it up.”

Where Edmonds really mixes it up is on the basketball court, particularly in the painted area, which has pleased his teammates and coaches immensely.

In fact, the 6-foot-10, 255-pounder has emerged as one of the most pleasant surprises out of all the team’s incoming transfers leading into Tuesday night’s American Athletic Conference opener against the UAB Blazers.

“He’s better than we anticipated, for sure,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said.

For the last two years, he was a reserve and didn’t play much for Dixie State University, which has since been renamed as Utah Tech. This season, Edmonds has started all 13 games for the Roadrunners.

Given the opportunity, he has made the most of it, averaging college career bests of 8.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 21.1 minutes.

“We were extremely happy with what he has been able to do since he got here,” Henson said. “He works his tail off. He’s very conscientious. He’s coachable. Pretty high IQ player. Physically, just look at the guy, he’s just strong, and he has pretty good hands.”

Edmonds, a native of Aurora in the Denver area, said he enjoys living in San Antonio and attending UTSA.

“It’s been great,” he said. “When I was in the (transfer) portal, me and my dad came and visited here and we loved it. We came on one of the rainier days so it kind of reminded us of back home. The coaching staff made us feel great.”

UTSA announced Edmonds’ arrival in May, and he started school in June. Immediately, the UTSA front line looked better, with Edmonds joining 7-footer Carlton Linguard, Jr., and 6-10, 240-pound Massal Diouf.

“When we got here, we got straight to work,” he said. “Coach Henson introduced the vision he had for me on the team, what he wanted me to buy into, and I made the decision to come here.

“I think we have a special group. Everybody’s focused. Everybody’s locked in. Everybody takes care of their stuff off the court. Like in school, we handled our business this (past) semester. So, I’m proud of ’em.”

Making the decision to leave Utah Tech, located in St. George, Utah, was an easy one considering the numbers in the statistical record. As a freshman he played in 20 games and averaged about seven minutes. Last year, he played in 33 games, averaging nine minutes.

“Frustrating, for sure,” Edmonds said.

This season, he’s already played almost as many total minutes (275) in 13 games for the Roadrunners as he did all of last season for the Trailblazers (301). As a result, Edmonds is making progress.

He’s performing at a much higher level than his first two years in college, shooting a UTSA team-leading 58.6 percent from the field, including eight of 11 over his last two games.

“It’s beautiful to see that I’m growing so much here,” Edmonds said. “The coaches have a lot of trust in me. My teammates have trust in me. I love this team. We gel together on and off the court, amazingly. I couldn’t have made a better decision to come here.”

Edmonds said he sensed it would be a good situation for him when he made his campus visit.

“They only had a couple of people here at the time,” he said. “But seeing the stuff they had … With Carlton and Massal, the ball-handling they did every day, working on shooting jumpers every day, I thought, ‘This is a place where I could really improve my game.’ That was a grabbing point for me and my dad and my mother.”

Fred Edmonds, the UTSA post’s father, was a four-year standout for the University of Colorado Buffaloes in the 1990s. He played with Chauncey Billups on the 1996-97 Colorado team that reached the NCAA round of 32.

“Ever since we started this basketball dream, my dad has always put the idea in my head not to be boxed in,” Trey Edmonds said. “Like, ‘You can only do this, or you can only do that.’ He wants me to be able to expand my game in different areas. I feel like being here, that’s going to help me do that.

During the fall semester, Edmonds would work out with a group of players that would arrive with teammates to get in some shooting early in the morning. Combined with the official workout later in the day, he’s started to blossom.

“We’re working on a lot of areas of my game that I feel are really going to help me and my teammates be better this year, get that losing record to a winning one, and start to make something happen in the AAC.”

UAB (8-5) will come in Tuesday loaded with talent, including two 6-9 posts with one of them weighing 265 pounds and another 230. UTSA (6-7) lost three in a row recently but played well in its last outing, rolling past Prairie View A&M, 103-89.

“I feel like every day is an opportunity to grow, and I feel like, that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re coming in here, motivated to practice and feeling like every day (there) needs to be an improvement. And we know that we’re picked last in the AAC. We know that we’re not expected to do much.”

The latest numbers in the NCAA’s NET rankings support that very narrative. The Roadrunners are rated 290th out of 362 teams in Division I. They are rated last among the 14 teams in the AAC.

“We all have that chip on our shoulders,” Edmonds said. “But, with us, we constantly have to be reminded of that. Like, OK. Remember what we’re here for. Remember that. This is the reality of the situation.

“The reality is, we’re not supposed to be doing anything. A lot of people think we’re not even supposed to be in this conference.”

For UTSA to prove the skeptics wrong, a lot will need to go well. Leaders such as Linguard and Christian Tucker and Jordan Ivy-Curry must step up their games. Edmonds and the other newcomers to high-level D-I competition will need to continue to progress.

“I’m excited for us,” he said. “The AAC is a great conference (with) great teams. But I think the sky’s the limit for us. I think the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves … I actually believe we can make something happen in this conference.”