UTSA brings the intensity in preparation for Southern Miss

Luka Barisic. UTSA beat Louisiana Tech 89-73 in Conference USA on Thursday at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Luka Barisic scored a career high 16 points Thursday night in UTSA’s 89-73 victory over Louisiana Tech. – Photo by Joe Alexander

A day after the UTSA Roadrunners played their best game of the season, they did not rest.

They came in to practice, focused and intense, in an afternoon workout at the Convocation Center.

Byron Frohnen. UTSA beat Louisiana Tech 89-73 in Conference USA on Thursday at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Senior Byron Frohnen had nine points and 10 rebounds against the Bulldogs. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“It was good,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said Friday. “We had some bumps and bruises. Wanted to make sure we were real specific about what we did today (with) sessions very short and intense. I think we accomplished what we needed to.

“Hoping to come in here, feeling really fresh tomorrow.”

The Roadrunners (7-9, 1-2) hope to sweep a two-game Conference USA homestand when they host the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (4-12, 0-3) Saturday.

Tipoff is at 3 p.m.

Southern Miss, a program in transition under first-year coach Jay Ladner, has lost three straight and five of six.

UTSA also got off to a bumpy start in conference play, losing last week at both Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

But on Thursday night at the Convo, the Roadrunners finally started to look like the team that had been pegged for second place in the C-USA preseason poll.

They won easily against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, bagging an 89-73 victory.

Reporting to practice Friday, the players brought a business-like attitude.

“Again, I kept telling our guys, how good I think LA Tech is right now, prior to the game and a day afterward,” Henson said. “You know, it was one of the bigger wins we had, when you look at the analytics and the KenPom numbers and all that.

“LA Tech is playing at a very high level. So, we did some good things in the game. But our guys know, it’s just a home game. That’s all it is.

“Having given one away (at Florida International), you certainly can’t come in relaxed. You got to back it up with a good effort tomorrow.”

Keaton Wallace. UTSA beat Louisiana Tech 89-73 in Conference USA on Thursday at the UTSA Convocation Center. - photo by Joe Alexander

Keaton Wallace is averaging 16.7 points on the season. He’s also producing 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Against LA Tech, UTSA got a monster game from Jhivvan Jackson (37 points) and also solid complementary performances by Luka Barisic, Keaton Wallace and Byron Frohnen.

“It was a good game for us, because we were a little knocked down from those losses in Florida,” Barisic said. “So, it was a great win for us. A great feeling.”

Barisic, averaging 7.3 points for the season, scored a season-high 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Croatia hit a season-high four three-pointers in six attempts.

“I got open shots,” Barisic said. “I have to make those if we want to win.”

Jackson, a 6-foot junior from Puerto Rico, continues to enjoy a remarkable season with a consistent string of performances, which includes six scoring games in the 20s, six in the 30s and one in the 40s.

He’s averaging 26 points per game, which ranks second in the nation behind Markus Howard of Marquette (26.8.)

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