Courtesy of Zach Derbala / The Paisano
The UTSA Roadrunners, on Feb. 28, 2013, battled and then ran away from the Idaho Vandals in a home victory at the Convocation Center, 74-56. The win splits the season series between the ‘Runners and Vandals after UTSA lost a close game back on Jan. 26 in Moscow, Idaho. UTSA, after some poor play earlier in the season, is now playing better. The Roadrunners secured their third consecutive win.
“I had forgotten about it [winning],” Thompson said. “It’s been a long one…they [UTSA basketball team] have never, ever quit. They’ve got such great character and always just bounced back every day and came to work.”
Down 40-38 at the half, it was UTSA guard Michael Hale III who helped to push a two point deficit into an 18 point victory. Hale scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half while playing all 40 minutes of the game. The Vandals fell flat shooting 24 percent (6-of-25) in the second and scored just 16 points to match, Hale’s entire second half output.
In his final season with UTSA, Hale has been one of Thompson’s trusted leaders and scorers. “He’s [Hale] a competitor and a warrior…the guy likes winning,” Thompson said.
In the final moments of the game with a win in hand, UTSA fans started chanting for Hale as he buried one last three. Hale, is appreciative of the fans support all season.
“I love our crowd,” Hale said. “I saw one poster that had my name on it and said ‘Hale yeah,’ so I like that. It shows the fans appreciation and I appreciate them.”
UTSA and Idaho exchanged leads 11 times in the first half. The Vandals took advantage early with 7 3-pointers and center Kyle Barone’s 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Right out of halftime UTSA went on a 13-2 run giving them their first double digit lead at 53-42 with 12:14 left in the game. The ‘Runners pushed the lead to 15 on a Jeromie Hill dunk, but the Vandals answered with a 7-2 run capped by a Connor Hill 3-pointer that cut the lead to 10. It was UTSA that put a final stamp on the game with a to a 12-2 run.
The Vandals finished with only one 3-pointer in the second and Barone scored just one bucket to finish with 13 points and 15 rebounds for the game, a stark contrast to the previous half.
UTSA’s Kannon Burrage had 16 points and Hill added 12 as part of the Roadrunners trio of scorers. Idaho guard Mike McChristian led his team with 19 points.
With the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Vegas around the corner, UTSA is building confidence for a successful finish. “Hopefully we can be hot going into Vegas and leave Vegas going hot,” Thompson said.
Seattle University (7-19, 2-14 WAC) will be UTSA’s last home opponent this Saturday at 4 p.m. UTSA holds a victory over them this year when they went to Key Arena and won 78-75 behind Hale’s career high of 35 points.