Red hot finish: UTSA Men’s Basketball explode in 98-79 win over Southern Mississippi


Luke Lawhorn, Assistant Sports Editor

The UTSA men’s basketball team ended a five-game losing streak against Southern Miss. Thursday, Feb. 17, avenging themselves from their earlier loss to the Golden Eagles on Jan. 6. With the Roadrunners looking to turn their season around, they had to take advantage of Southern Miss. on their seven-game losing streak, and they did just that. 

Southern Miss. won the jump and immediately went up 2-0, seeming to have an early dominant presence against the ‘Runners. The Golden Eagles had the lead for over 15 minutes of the first period and had a commanding score of 18-8 less than seven minutes into the game. They maintained that lead with a score of 25-14 with just over eight minutes left before half. UTSA then went on a 12-2 run over the next two minutes to cut the lead down to just one point and kept the game close the last five minutes of the period. The two teams went into the half tied up at 38. 

The last five minutes of the first half set the tone for the entire second half. The largest lead was just four points by the ’Runners, which shows how hard each team played. Every time one team seemed to have hit a big shot and gained momentum, the other team would answer. The game was tied up at 74 for nearly two minutes until Erik Czumbel made a layup to put the ‘Runners up by two points with just over a minute left. Southern Miss. got a defensive rebound with twelve seconds to go and dumped the ball down to center Tyler Stevenson, where he missed his first two layup attempts but made his third as time expired to send the game to overtime. 

Though Southern Miss. put up a good fight at home, the wheels fell off in the extra period. The ’Runners showed who the better team was by going up 88-76 just two minutes into overtime. UTSA ended up allowing just three points in overtime while scoring 19 points, winning 98-79. 

UTSA had five total players in the double-digits in scoring, led by Dhieu Deing off the bench with 26 points while going 6-14 from the three-point line along with 10 rebounds, a team-high. His season average was just 14 points and five rebounds. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah finished the game second in scoring with 21 points after having a season average of just 4.9 points per game. Addo-Ankrah went 7-13 from three, showing him and Deing combined for 13-27 (48%), which came up big and won this game. The ‘Runners shot 46.7% from the field and 47% from three, while Southern Miss. shot just 27.3% from three. The Golden Eagles also shot 65% from the free-throw line and gave up 15 turnovers, which was eight more than the ’Runners. 

After the dramatic overtime win over Southern Miss. on Thursday, UTSA looked to carry that momentum into Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech on Feb. 19. The game however was not in the ‘Runners’  favor whatsoever, with them getting trounced right out of the gate. 

From the moment the clock started, the Bulldogs scored the game’s first three points and never looked back. In the first four minutes of the game, LA Tech went up 10-0 until UTSA finally scored their first basket. LA Tech went up 21-3 with 12 minutes left in the half and just did not seem to miss. The ‘Runners scored 17 points in the last six minutes of the half, but at that point, it was already 42-17 and there were still another twenty minutes to be played. 

The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas and just five minutes into the second half were up 55-33. LA Tech dominated every aspect of this game and it was highlighted by their 28 point lead at one point in the game. The final score was 95-71, with LA Tech leading every second of the game. 

Without watching the game, one can look at the box score and see how this got out of hand so quickly. The Roadrunners shot 41.7% from the field, while LA Tech shot 53.3%. The Roadrunners shot 22.7% from three, while Tech shot 39.4%. In free throw percentage, rebounds, assists and blocks, UTSA recorded less in the stat columns, while also getting more turnovers and team fouls. This is a recipe for disaster for any team at any level. 

There were only two double-digit scorers from UTSA: Jacob Germany with 21, and Dhieu Deing with 15 off the bench. Of the team’s 71 points, 36 of them came from those players alone, and besides Germany’s ten rebounds, no one else had more than four. There just is not enough help around Germany to compete with a red-hot team, unlike last game against Southern Miss., where there were five players above 14 points. 

For Louisiana Tech, Keaston Wills had a season high 30 points, shooting 10-14 from the field and 8-12 from three-point land. Cobe Williams also had 19 points, shooting 7-11 from the field and 3-7 from the three. The starting five for LA Tech combined for 66 points, nearly matching all of the ‘Runners points. The Bulldogs just could not seem to miss and their top two players had outlier performances. 

UTSA has three games left on their schedule, next being Thursday, Feb. 24, at home against UAB, who is currently second in the “Group B” bracket. The Roadrunners will need some help from their supporting cast if they have hopes of pulling off the upset.