By Jerry Briggs
Trailing by nine points with 1 minute and 10 seconds remaining, UTSA rallied Wednesday night for a stunning 79-78 road victory over the rival Texas State Bobcats.
Freshmen Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson and sophomore Giovanni De Nicolao all hit three-pointers in the final 70 seconds for the Roadrunners to stun the Bobcats in San Marcos.
With UTSA down by one, Jackson hit two free throws with eight seconds left for the game’s final points.
At the end, Texas State rushed it up court, and Isaiah Gurley missed a hurried three. De Nicolao rebounded in the final seconds and secured the win.
“We didn’t expect it to be easy, and it wasn’t,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. “We just got whipped on the boards. That’s something that’s been a little bit of a concern for us.
“Really good game for us. They’re tough. They’re aggressive. Physical style. We’ve got a lot of respect for the way they play.”
Texas State pounded the ball inside most of the night to take advantage of a size advantage.
“We don’t see that kind of post up play in practice,” Henson said. “We don’t throw it in there much. Just liked the way our guys hung in there, hung in there and did a lot of things right down the stretch with no timeouts.”
De Nicolao led four UTSA players in double-figure scoring with 17. The sophomore from Italy also produced four rebounds and three assists.
Jackson scored 15, Wallace 11 and Nick Allen 10.
For the second game in a row, the Roadrunners (2-0) sank 11 three-pointers.
The Bobcats (0-2) seemingly had the game won with 1:10 left when Nedeljko Prijovic hit a free throw for a 73-64 lead.
Wallace promptly answered with a three on the other end, sparking a 15-5 run for UTSA down the stretch to secure the win.
With the victory, UTSA increased its all-time lead in the series to 35-24.
Guard Tyler Blount scored 22 points to lead the Bobcats, while Nijal Pearson added 14 and Deris Duncan 10.
With Texas State leading 78-77, Blount missed two free throws with 13 seconds left, and that left the door open for the Roadrunners.
Five seconds later, Jackson drove a drew a foul by Alex Peacock.
Jackson, from Puerto Rico and Euless Trinity High School, promptly hit two free throws for the game winners.
UT Arlington 69, UTSA 68 (OT)
Guard Crystal Allen scored 21 points and center Rebekah VanDijk added 14 as undefeated UT Arlington knocked off UTSA in overtime.
The Mavs (3-0) held on for the victory despite Crystal Chidomere’s 26 points. Marie Benson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for UTSA (1-2).
Texas State 74, UIW 33
The Bobcats surged to a 13-point lead after the first quarter and then cruised to an easy victory at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Guard Toshua Leavitt scored 20 points, and the Bobcats hit 11 three-pointers to remain undefeated.
Texas State (2-0) built leads of 22-9 at the quarter and 43-23 at the half.
In the second half, the Bobcats’ defense took over, holding the Cardinals (0-3) to 10 points.
Texas State guard Taeler Deer, who poured in 44 in Sunday’s season opener at Texas Tech, scored 14.