Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Concerns from the Cardinal Classic

Concerns+from+the+Cardinal+Classic
Courtesy of UTSA Athletics

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Roadrunners found themselves going 1-1 in the Cardinal Classic tournament. After suffering a loss to Jacksonville State Friday, the team was able to rally and gain a much-needed win against Incarnate Word the following Saturday. While the team showed flashes of exceptional play, there are certainly areas for concern. Whether it is the increasing turnover rate, slow starts or screen defense, these are the three main concerns from the Cardinal classic. 

Slow starts 

Slow starts have plagued the Roadrunners nearly all season. Their inability to make shots at an efficient rate has caused the team to fall into quick deficits at the beginning of numerous games. In just the Cardinal classic alone, the team shot 11% from three and 33% from the field in the first halves of each game. Their shooting struggles have caused a majority of the offense to stall, as the team relies heavily on the drive and kick. Even with the extremely slow starts, the Roadrunners have been able to pick it up in the second half, as they shot 50% from the floor and 45% from three in the second halves of both games. While their second-half heroics aided in their win against Incarnate Word, they proved to be not enough in their tournament loss against Jacksonville State. The team’s slow offensive starts are something that became very apparent within the tournament and is something that drastically needs to improve going forward. 

Pick-and-roll defense 

UTSA’s overall lack of pick-and-roll defense in the tournament is certainly something that should be concerning. Using a combination of switching off the screen and staying with the defender, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly the defensive mindset is when it comes to the screen and roll. While coach Henson has stated in the past that the team likes to switch off of the screen, the past two games saw players refusing to switch with hopes of fighting through the screen. When refusing to switch, the opposing guard was seen either rising up for a jump shot or driving to the paint. When the Roadrunners did decide to switch on the screen, there were unfavorable mismatches such as guard Adante’ Holiman being tasked with defending an opposing team’s center. The mismatch created defensive problems for UTSA, as they were unable to counter the mismatch without fouling or committing multiple defenders. 

Turnovers

Recording 14 turnovers against Jacksonville State and 15 against Incarnate Word, the team has definitely struggled recently taking care of the basketball. While the majority of the turnovers came within the first halves of those games, they are still something that desperately needs to be taken care of. Most of the Roadrunner turnovers came from either sloppy passes, lack of ball security or aggressive defensive pressure in the tournament. Although the number is alarming, it is something that will hopefully be fixed in the near future, as UTSA has made it a point this season to limit their team turnovers to single digits. 

Sitting at 3-4, it is crucial that the Roadrunners improve in these areas if they hope to win more games. Though the concerns are alarming, they are things the team can improve upon throughout the season. By limiting their turnovers, defending the pick-and-roll properly and starting games at a more efficient rate, UTSA should have no problem stringing together a quality win streak. The team will look to face Lamar at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Convocation Center.

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About the Contributor
Logan Martinez, Staff Writer
Logan Martinez is a communication major set to graduate in 2026. This is going to be his second semester at The Paisano. He is heavily passionate about writing and hopes to one day become a sports journalist after graduating college. He is a huge San Antonio Spurs fan and a die-hard Yankees fan. When not tasked with writing, he is almost always listening to music, watching sports or hanging out with friends.

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