“We played hard. We played together, we’ve just got to do more,” said Jeff Beverly after the ‘Runners’ 69-59 loss to The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Thursday, ending UTSA’s undefeated homestand of 8-0.
Beverly poured in a team high 21 points [8 of 17] with 3 triples. His strong performance helped reduce the deficit created by the Middle Tennessee’s 17 run in the second half.
The Team from Murfreesboro entered the game with a conference best record 19 wins and three losses, thanks in large part to their starting forward, number 22 Jacorey Williams. Williams (at 6 foot 8 inches) was clearly the most physically gifted player on the floor Thursday night. A redshirt senior transfer from The University of Arkansas in 2015, the big man is averaging 17.5 points per game and absorbing 7.6 rebounds. His stifling defense and aggressiveness on offense was the difference-maker in the game. He had help from Giddy Potts, the Raiders starting guard whose 22 points on 55 percent shooting eclipsed 1000 points scored for his career during the game.
The story was quite different in the first half with UTSA leading by two going into halftime. In a low scoring, defensive battle, The Roadrunners showed impressive toughness and physicality despite being over matched by Middle Tennessee’s frontcourt.
”I like the way our guys approached the week,” said Head Coach Steve Henson about the team’s ability to hang with the conference’s best competition. “They were ready to line up and play with confidence and attack, and we did that in the first half.” As the game wore on, the Raiders were able to shut down the ‘Runners’ offense, holding the team to 39.3 percent shooting from the field. Despite the loss, Henson stated there were still “a lot of positives” to take away from the game.
Only two days after suffering their first home loss of the season, the Roadrunners pulled off an emphatic 82-67 win over the UAB Blazers in the Convocation Center thanks to a historic night from Jeff Beverly.
Beverly scored a career high 32 points in the win, 20 of which he put up in the first half. This marked UTSA’s first ever win against UAB in school history and the first 30 point game by a player since last year, when J.R. Harris hit ten three-pointers in a loss at UAB.
Beverly went 10 for 17 and made 11 free throws, snapping the team’s four game losing streak and improving the home record to 9-1 this season. The ‘Runners shot 47.5 percent, displaying tenacity in the paint, outscoring (32-20) and outrebounded (38-23) a talented Blazers team. Beverly and Lucas O’brien, the team’s starting center, combined to score 34 of the team’s total 44 points in the first half. In the second half, the Blazers reduced the Roadrunners 11 point halftime lead down to six, striking fear in the hearts of everyone in the stadium. Despite the run, UTSA was able to hold the Blazers off and seal the victory.
The Roadrunners face another tough conference matchup Thursday, Feb. 4 in the Convocation Center against Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles had five players score in double figures the last time their team took the court so expect to see a high scoring game on both sides this Thursday as the ‘Runners ride hot handed Beverly.