UTSA men’s basketball stumble on the road

These past two weeks the UTSA Men’s Basketball team has struggled through the first half of their six-game road trip and are currently on a three-game losing streak. Their Wednesday, Nov. 21 loss to Brigham Young University (BYU) ended at 81-62 in Provo, Utah which was followed by a 95-75 defeat to Oregon University a week later in Eugene, Ore. Recently, they were blown out by the California State-Bakersfield Roadrunners, 85-52 on Dec. 1.   

In Provo, the ‘Runners stuck around for the first six minutes of the game trading baskets with the Cougars, and had an early 11-10 lead. However, this did not last very long with a Cougar 15-2 run ignited by two three-pointers drained by BYU junior forward Agustin Ambrosino. The Cougars continued to shoot well in the first half at 56 percent compared to the ‘Runners 39 percent from the field. UTSA was unable to capitalize on BYU’s 18 turnovers, scoring only nine points off turnovers, as well as leaving points left on the free-throw line. The Cougars went into halftime with a 48-28 lead.  

In the second half, the ‘Runners came out fighting, making seven of their first 14 attempts. UTSA senior guard Michael Hale III and senior guard Kannon Burrage combined for the last two of those points and had the momentum going to cut the Cougars lead to 13. Then BYU powered back with a 9-2 scoring run that increased the lead once again. This was the tone for the rest of the game as Cougars sophomore guard Tyler Haws and senior forward Brandon Davies scored 22 and 20 points respectively to break down the UTSA defense.

On offense, the ‘Runners had three double-digit scorers in Burrage, (22 points) Hale (13 points) and junior forward Jeromie Hill (12 points) but their effort just wasn’t enough.

It was a different story in Eugene, Ore. when UTSA faced the Oregon Ducks. UTSA fought to keep the score close for the majority of the game. In the first half, Burrage, Hale and Hill continued to carry the Runner offense.

In the first few minutes, the ‘Runners had an early 12-6 over the Ducks, but UTSA’s 23 turnovers were the downfall of the ‘Runners, as the Ducks scored 33 points off them. The Ducks also won the rebounding war with 31 rebounds to UTSA’s 19, and also recorded 12 second-chance points.

In the second half, Hale hurt his knee and didn’t return to the game after helping cut Oregon’s lead to five points. Hale finished with 18 points and two assists after playing 21 minutes. The Ducks took advantage of the absence of Hale’s high energy to produce an 8-0 run. This pushed their lead to double digits which the ‘Runners were never able to recover from. Both teams shot well, UTSA 57 percent and Oregon 63 percent, in UTSA’s second consecutive loss.

UTSA’s offense which was powered by Hill’s 19 points and three assists and Burrage’s 17 points and six assists. The Ducks offense was led by senior guard Arsalan Kazemi recording 20 points, four assists and six rebounds. Kazemi was also impressive on the defensive side of the ball with three blocks and five steals against the ‘Runners. 

Turnovers hurt UTSA again on Dec. 1, in Bakersfield, Calif. against the California State-Bakersfield (CSUB) Roadrunners. In the meeting between the two Roadrunners, the home team ran away with the score quickly, capitalizing on six UTSA turnovers committed within the first four minutes. More miscues, that equaled 20 turnovers by the end of the first half led to 27 CSUB points. The score at halftime was 51-23.

UTSA did improve their free-throw percentage to 89 percent, and had only six turnovers in the second half. Burrage had 18 points helping UTSA shoot 40 percent for the night. Also, junior forward Tyler Wood had seven points contributing to UTSA’s 18 bench points which outweighed CSUB’s 13.

But the West Coast Roadrunners eventually overpowered UTSA with a final score 85-52. Senior guard Stephon Carter led the CSUB offense with 20 points while shooting 35 percent from the floor. Five CSUB players recorded more than 10 points in the lopsided game, and UTSA’s third consecutive loss.     

The UTSA Men’s Basketball team will go on to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-5) on Dec. 4 in Starkville, Miss. at 7 p.m.