The game of missed opportunities: UTSA loses dramatically in C-USA first round 67-64


Lachlan Bofinger soars through the air to throw down a dunk during UTSA’s opening round game against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles during the first round of the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Championship. Bofinger, a freshman from Sydney, Australia, started five of UTSA’s six regular season games and averaged 3.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this year. Photo courtesy of Conference USA

Luke Lawhorn, Assistant Sports Editor

After beating Rice in dominant fashion three days prior, UTSA men’s basketball (10-22) flamed out in the first round against the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (7-25) 67-64. In a game that was there for the taking, the Roadrunners will be left to rue the missed opportunities.

For the fifth game in a row, UTSA used a different starting lineup. Not due to injuries or disqualification, but the coaches’ decision. Jacob Germany started the game red-hot, with a quick four points within the first minute, and the first 11 points of UTSA’s 14. Both teams played sloppily in the first half, going several minutes with missed shots and unforced turnovers. There were back-to-back fast break possessions in which Dhieu Deing dumped the ball down to Germany and the ball went straight through his hands out of bounds. A couple possessions later, Lachlan Bofinger missed an alleyoop dunk. Germany also led a 3-on-1 fast break which resulted in a block by a Golden Eagle. In the span of five minutes, UTSA left eight easy points off the scoreboard, which gave USM more opportunities to score. The teams went into halftime with UTSA up 30-25 and Germany with 17 of those points. 

Southern Miss was shooting a higher percentage from the three-point line (31.3%), but UTSA had a higher percentage from the field and free-throw line (44.4%, 80%). The Roadrunners started the second half with another failed fast break, with Bofinger missing a floater in the paint. Southern Miss slowly came back into the ballgame, eventually taking the lead with 15 minutes left to play. The two teams went back-and-forth with layups and made free-throws, leaving UTSA up four points with three minutes left to play. The game was tied at 64 with one minute left, when USM’s Tyler Stevenson made a dunk and with 22 seconds left, went one of two from the free-throw line awarding them a 67-64 lead. The Roadrunners received the ball with five seconds remaining and inbounded it to Deing, who missed the potential game-tying three ultimately ending UTSA’s season 67-64. 

Germany had a career high 28 points and 12 rebounds, Isaiah Addo-Ankrah had 14 points and both Bofinger and Erik Czumbel had 10. UTSA again had no clear number two scoring option, which has been the case in all Roadrunner losses. The ‘Runners also turned the ball over 18 times to Southern Miss’ nine, which led to a 16-6-point differential. The Golden Eagles also got 34 points from the bench, while the ‘Runners had zero.

This season caps off the third straight year in which the Runners have had a losing season. On top of also having six scholarship spots available, next season could and hopefully will look a lot different for UTSA men’s basketball.