By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay
The UTSA Roadrunners lost Friday afternoon at home by 15 points and felt horribly about it. But they weren’t about to allow a bad-hair experience against Jacksonville State (Ala.) turn into two homecourt losses in two days.
After trailing for most of the first half Saturday against the University of the Incarnate Word, they broke from a tie score and stormed to a 90-80 victory at the Convocation Center.
UTSA shot 54 percent from the field and hit eight three-point shots after intermission to secure the win.
Sophomore guard Adante’ Holiman, who hit five threes and scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, said players knew what had to be done from the moment they arrived at the Convo for the morning film session.
“We knew we had to bounce back,” he said. “It was a bounce-back game for us. Today was a day to prove ourselves. That was the mindset of the whole team.”
The two programs are the only ones in San Antonio playing in NCAA Division I. While UTSA is more established, having competed in D-I for more than 42 years, UIW is entering only its 11th season at the highest level.
Coming in riding a three-game winning streak, the Cardinals were clearly energized and intent on beating the Roadrunners for the first time in school history.
During warmups, they were chanting and clapping. When the game started, they started to defend and run and score, riding the inspired play of guard Sky Wicks to build as much as an eight-point lead at 19-11.
“I thought there’d be some pace to the game,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Thought we’d have some opportunities in transition, but we had to take care of the basketball. We turned it over nine times in the first half, and you saw what happened.”
What happened was, UIW kept blunting UTSA’s efforts to get the ball into the paint and ran off all the broken plays at a frenetic pace.
At the end of the first stanza, UTSA rallied to tie it, 43-43. Second half? It was a different story completely after intermission as the Roadrunners settled down and started to run better offense.
In general, the ball moved better, players seemed to relax and play with more fluidity, and the shots just started to fall. Particularly for Holiman, a 6-foot transfer from UT Rio Grande Valley.
Holiman, who was 0 for 3 from the three-point arc in the first half, responded in the final 20 minutes to knock down 5 of 9 from distance.
By the time it was over, five Roadrunners finished in double figures, including Holiman, PJ Carter (17), Carlton Linguard Jr. (16), Christian Tucker (11) and Isaiah Wyatt (10).
Coming off the bench, Linguard was a force defensively, blocking three shots. The 7-footer from Stevens High School in San Antonio also pulled down 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
Wicks led UIW with 24 points on 10 of 26 shooting from the field. Josh Morgan scored 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Dylan Hayman added 13 and Elijah Davis 10.
UIW vs. Jacksonville State (Ala.), Sunday, 3 p.m., at UTSA
Lamar at UTSA, Thursday, 8 p.m.