The Roadrunners basketball team sits at 6-6 in the Southland conference after a week in which they knocked off East Division leaders McNeese State and fell to Nicholls State.
UTSA 65 McNeese 61
The Convocation Center was the site, Wednesday, for a shootout unlike any since the siege of the Alamo. The combatants were the UTSA Roadrunners and the McNeese State Cowboys.
UTSA (13-11, 6-5 SLC) entered the game trying to shrug off a two game losing streak. The visiting Cowboys (15-9, 8-3 SLC) were riding high in first place in the Southland Conference East Division. Something had to give.
The Cowboys won the opening tip but it would be the Roadrunners who fired the first shot of the night as they took an early 3-0 lead on a Devin Gibson three pointer. The Cowboys had the answer as guard Diego Kapelan knocked in a three at the other end to tie the game at 3 early.
Gibson then put in a layup and drew a foul to put the Roadrunners up 6-3. The Roadrunners would never relinquish the lead as they built it as big as 10.
The Roadrunners held off a McNeese run near the end of the half, and went into the intermission ahead by eight, 31-23.
“I think we played pretty good defensively,”Head Coach Brooks Thompson said. “Offensively I think we shot ok.”
The Cowboys would get closer in the second half but the Roadrunners would respond each time by rebuilding the lead. The Cowboys came close to threatening the Roadrunners lead when they cut it down to three, 57-54, on a Patrick Richard three point field goal with 56 seconds remaining in the second half.
Again the Roadrunners had an answer as they built the lead back up to six points, 62-56, with 26 seconds left. Again the Cowboys made a desperate comeback and got to within two points of the Roadrunners, 63-61, with three seconds remaining. The game would come down to Devin Gibson at the free throw line where he delivered two out of two to give the Roadrunners a 65-61 win.
“We are still growing, we just haven’t found a way to put games away,” Gibson said. “We just couldn’t break away from them; hopefully that will come later in the season; hopefully in the conference tournament.”
With the win, the Roadrunners avoided a season-sinking three game losing streak and kept pace with the leaders of the wild SLC West.
The Roadrunners could look to Gibson and forward Jeromie Hill as a big reason why they were able to pull out the victory. Gibson led the team with 20 points and 10 assists. Hill pitched in 12 points and 13 rebounds. The two double-doubles marked the first time since 2009 that the Roadrunners had two players record a double-double. Sandwiched between Gibson and Hill on the stat sheet was Melvin Johnson III with 14 points.
“This was a must win, the conference is still kind of tightly packed,” Gibson said. “If we win out we have a chance to win conference; the main thing is that we are playing well entering the conference tournament.”
Nicholls 54 UTSA 52
Any chance the Roadrunners had at a two-game winning streak ended when Nicholls forward Anatoly Bose put in a buzzer beating layup that sent the Roadrunners to their third loss in four games and 6-6 in Southland play.
The Roadrunners will try and regroup against Texas A&M Corpus Christi Wednesday from the Convocation Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.