Jhivvan Jackson scored nine of his game-high 29 points in overtime Wednesday night, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners past Western Kentucky 81-76.
In the game played at Bowling Green, Kentucky, UTSA survived amidst 12 ties and nine lead changes, taking over second place in Conference USA and clinching a bye in next week’s conference tournament.
For the Roadrunners, Giovanni De Nicolao scored a surprising 17 on 7 of 10 shooting, while Keaton Wallace added 13.
Jackson, the leading scorer in Conference USA, hit 8 of 22 from the field and 4 of 10 from three.
Charles Bassey, a 6-foot-11 center who played two seasons at St. Anthony in San Antonio, led the Hilltoppers with 21 points. He also added 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
UTSA will close out C-USA regular-season competition Saturday on the road against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
The C-USA will hold its tournament March 13-16 in Frisco.
Group 1 standings
Old Dominion 13-4, 23-7
UTSA 11-6, 17-13
Western Kentucky 11-7, 18-13
Southern Miss 10-7, 18-11
UAB 9-8, 17-13
UTSA 81, Western Kentucky 76, overtime
Southern Miss 59, Old Dominion 52
UTSA played shorthanded in the post against Western Kentucky. Starting forward Nick Allen, who has an injured toe on his right foot, didn’t play. In addition, Atem Bior fouled out and Adrian Rodriguez went to the bench in the second half with a bloody nose.
‘The theme of the game was toughness. I thought our guys fought like crazy. I looked over and we’ve got guys jamming blood-sticks up their nose. (Trainer) Josh (Modica) was working on Adrian (Rodriguez), and Jhivvan needed some tape on his shoulder and Gio was cleaning his own bloody knee. We fought like crazy. I can’t say enough about those guys.’ – UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.
With 20 seconds left in regulation, Jackson hit a long three to put UTSA up by one. Western Kentucky’s Lamonte Bearden had a chance to win it but missed the first of two free throws with six seconds left. Jackson, a 6-foot sophomore, scored nine of UTSA’s 13 points in overtime.
‘We just got to give credit to Gio (De Nicolao) in the first half and our bigs. Our bigs played great (against Charles) Bassey. He’s tough to defend. We tried to limit the passes inside, just by really bothering the passes. We did that, and down t he stretch, we just got some stops.’ — UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson.