It was a rough week for the Roadrunnner men’s basketball team as they dropped two important conference matchups at UT Arlington, Wednesday Feb. 1, and at Lamar on Saturday, Feb. 4.
The two losses dropped the Roadrunners into third place in the Southland West Division and into sixth place overall in the conference with a month to go until the Southland Conference tournament in Katy, Texas.
UT ARLINGTON, 67; UTSA, 66
The Roadrunners and The Mavericks of UT Arlington entered Wednesday night’s inaugural contest at Arlington’s College Park Center with just one game separating the two teams in the Southland Conference West division.
By the end of the night, the Roadrunners would find themselves one point short of the Mavericks winning score and two games back in the standings as the Mavericks pulled off a 67-66 victory.
Early on, it looked like the Roadrunners might send the home crowd away in defeat as they raced out to a 9-0 lead before the Mavericks countered with an 11-0 run of their own to take their first-ever lead in the new complex.
From there the game turned into a series of scoring spurts as both teams looked to get the upper hand. Eventually the Mavericks found a spurt that sent the game into halftime and the home crowd into euphoria with a score of 40-33 in favor of the metroplex squad.
“They ended the half on a 12-2 run, and that really hurt us,” Head Coach Brooks Thompson said. “We held them to 27 points in the second half, and, if you do that, you should win, but tonight that wasn’t the case.”
The second half opened with UTSA whittling down the deficit by going on a 16-9 run to tie the game at 49 with 14 minutes remaining. As the game wound down, the intensity level rose until it reached a climax in the final minute as both teams fought valiantly to pull out the victory.
Eventually, the Mavericks proved too much as the Roadrunners scored a useless two-point put-back shot on a potential game-tying three pointer.
“I don’t feel like we played a really good 40 minutes,” Thompson said. “We just have to keep plugging away.”
The Roadrunners were led in their unsuccessful effort by junior guard Kannon Burrage. Burrage scored 21 points for the Roadrunners in addition to five rebounds and three steals.
Also scoring in double figures for the Roadrunners was Melvin Johnson III, who finished with 14 points.
The Mavericks were led by a combination of LaMarcus Reed with 24 and Kevin Butler with 21.
LAMAR, 80; UTSA, 66
The Roadrunners looked to get back on the winning side when they traveled to Beaumont to face the Lamar Cardinals, a team that has historically given the Roadrunners fits.
Saturday was no different as the Cardinals took advantage of Roadrunner turnovers and excellent shooting to down the Roadrunners 80-66 in the last-ever conference meeting between the I-10 birds.
The Roadrunners and Cardinals battled out the first half to a 27-27 tie before the Cardinals took flight in the second half and erupted with 53 points to the Roadrunners’ 39 in the second frame.
The Roadrunners were not without chances as they shot 45 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free-throw line. It wasn’t enough as the Cardinals took advantage of 18 Roadrunner turnovers and 21 second half points from Brandon Davis to finish out the series with the Roadrunners for the foreseeable future with a record of 18-14 in favor of the Cardinals.
The Roadrunners, 14-9 overall and 6-3 in Southland play, will get two home games in the upcoming days. Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Southeastern Louisiana Lions will make their final trip to the Convocation Center. The Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin will make their final trip to UTSA on Saturday at 4 p.m.