Games in the American loom after UTSA routs Prairie View A&M

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 had 22 points and eight assists off the bench Thursday night as UTSA downed Prairie View A&M, 103-89. UTSA hosts UAB next Tuesday to open a new era in the American Athletic Conference. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Generally speaking, the UTSA Roadrunners were feeling pretty good about themselves Thursday night.

After all, they executed on both ends of the court, shot a season-high 55.4 percent from the field and romped past the Prairie View A&M Panthers, 103-89, at the Convocation Center.

Steve Henson. UTSA recorded 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

Steve Henson’s UTSA Roadrunners focused on ball security and defense and came away with a 14-point victory over the Prairie View A&M Panthers. Henson said ‘it’s going to be tough every single night’ when his team starts play in the American next week. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Clearly, it was one of the team’s better performances of the season.

But at the same time, as much as the Roadrunners enjoyed the winning feeling, they were also feeling a bit antsy. Why? Just as they built a 28-point lead early in the second half, they frittered most of it away during an eight-minute stretch with a frustrating series of mistakes.

At one point, the Panthers rallied to within 10 with 5:44 remaining before they were slowed by the Roadrunners, who snapped a troublesome three-game losing streak.

UTSA coach Steve Henson didn’t spend much time at all during his post-game interview session dwelling on the lost lead.

For the most part, he lauded his team’s execution of the offense (with only 13 turnovers) and praised its defensive effort, especially in the first half.

But what he said about losing the lead seemed significant.

“When they were in their run, it was way too big (of) a run,” Henson said. “It snowballed on us. (We) turned it over four times in five possessions. They scored on all of those. (It) got their confidence up a little bit.”

One of the bright spots for UTSA was, as the coach said, a first half that ended with the Roadrunners leading, 52-32. Specifically, Henson liked his team’s brand of defense that limited the Panthers to 34 percent shooting from the field.

Another positive before the intermission centered on UTSA’s offensive execution. The pace was fast, and the Roadrunners handled it well, turning it over only six times — all while scoring at the rim and from the three-point arc.

Trey Edmonds. UTSA recorded 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

Trey Edmonds scored 12 points for his second straight game in double figures for the Roadrunners. Edmonds has hit 8 of 11 from the field in his last two games.- Photo by Joe Alexander

“I liked the way the guys opened the first half,” the coach said.

Then again, the 8-minute and 21-second stretch in the second half when Prairie View outscored UTSA 28-10 did not sit well with the coach. Late in the run, Henson had to start making changes. First, he put Christian Tucker back in the ball game.

Later, he stopped play again to send both Jordan Ivy-Curry and Carlton Linguard Jr. back onto the floor. Finally, UTSA stifled the uprising when Tucker drove to the basket, drew a foul and knocked down two free throws.

Later, Tucker answered the call again when he buried a three from the wing off an assist from Ivy-Curry, boosting the Roadrunners back into a 15-point lead with 4:57 remaining. It was a pivotal moment, as the Panthers never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

Henson said it was important for UTSA to win the ball game, period, to bring an end to the team’s second three-game skid of the season.

Within a span of nine days, the Roadrunners had lost by nine points in Arkansas to the Little Rock Trojans, by one in Oregon to the Oregon State Beavers and then by 10 at home to the Army Black Knights.

The last one may have hurt the most, because the Black Knights had not won a game on the road all season, and yet they held the Roadrunners to 31 percent shooting and 53 points on Dec. 21.

“We felt like we did some good things at Oregon State,” Henson said. “Obviously (we were) very disappointed with the result (and) the way we played against Army … We needed to make sure it didn’t bleed into the next game.”

Next up for UTSA is play in the American Athletic Conference. For its inaugural game in the AAC after 10 seasons in Conference USA, UTSA (6-7) hosts UAB (7-5) next Tuesday night at the Convocation Center.

“It’s going to be really tough every single night,” Henson said. “We know that. We don’t like our record right now, but the mindset is good. Our confidence is high enough. The chemistry is terrific. We think we can build the next three or four days and be ready to play good basketball against UAB.”

Against Prairie View, Ivy Curry led the UTSA attack with 22 points and eight assists. In all, six UTSA players finished in double figure scoring.

The others included Linguard Jr. and Tucker with 16 points apiece, Trey Edmonds with 12 and Isaiah Wyatt and Dre Fuller Jr. with 11 each. Chris Felix Jr. led the Panthers with 19 points. Linguard, who started next to Edmonds on the front line, enjoyed a solid overall game that included 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

For the Roadrunners, it was their first 100-point game since they defeated Dallas Christian at home, 101-48, on Jan. 3, 2022.


Prairie View A&M 5-7
UTSA 6-7

Coming up

UAB at UTSA, Tuesday, 8 p.m. (American Athletic Conference opener)


In the wake of the victory, the UTSA Roadrunners improved 20 spots in the NET rankings, moving up to No. 292 out of 362 Division I teams nationally. UTSA remains as the lowest rated team in the 14-team AAC on the NET computer, trailing Rice (219), UAB (217) and East Carolina (207) in the league’s bottom four. Leading the conference are FAU (6), Memphis (38) and SMU (52). After losing at UTSA, Prairie View of the Southwestern Athletic Conference dropped 20 spots to No. 259.

Coming into the game against Prairie View A&M, one-time walk-on Christian Tucker led UTSA in scoring at 13.1 points per game. He also led both the American Athletic Conference and the team in assists at 5.5 … Other scoring leaders were Isaiah Wyatt (10.5), Dre Fuller Jr. (10.2), Adante’ Holiman (9.9), Carlton Linguard Jr. (9.8) and PJ Carter (8.3).

Trey Edmonds (7.8 points, 6.7 rebounds) also entered the game as one of the team’s primary contributors. Jordan Ivy-Curry came in averaging 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Ivy-Curry has now played in three games since he became eligible based on a recent court-ordered injunction. A court in West Virginia ruled all players in the NCAA who had transferred twice or more in their careers were eligible immediately for the rest of the season.


The Roadrunners shot 55.9 percent from the field and raced to a 52-32 lead at halftime. The Panthers were within 22-17 on a Javontae Hopkins driving layup with 10:19 remaining. From there, it was all UTSA. The Roadrunners sprinted away on a 30-15 run to the intermission buzzer. Ivy-Curry, who struggled in his first home game of the season against Army, made amends with a strong performance. He had 13 points and five assists in 13 minutes. Linguard, another key player who struggled against Army, had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Carlton Linguard Jr. UTSA recorded 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

Carlton Linguard Jr. posted his third double double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Linguard also had three blocked shots. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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