Bobbie Modica
Men's Basketball

Hot start fuels top-seeded WKU past Roadrunners on Thursday in Frisco

FRISCO, Texas -- Top-seeded Western Kentucky used a hot start to fuel an 80-67 win over UTSA men's basketball in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Championships, played on Thursday night at The Star in Frisco. 
UTSA (15-11) couldn't overcome the hot start from Eastern Division Champions WKU (19-6) in the C-USA quarterfinals, as WKU used a pair of early runs and a strong defensive effort to build an advantage that had UTSA chasing points throughout. 
The Roadrunners were led by senior guard Keaton Wallace, who had 30 points, six rebounds and three assists. 
A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, UTSA senior guard Jhivvan Jackson finished with five points, five rebounds and six assists. 
UTSA got eight points and five rebounds from sophomore center Jacob Germany. 
UTSA shot 39 percent in the game – and 28 percent in the first half – as WKU won the battle of the boards (39-34), points in the paint (30-22) and fast-break points (22-4), shooting 46 percent in the game. WKU made 24 of 25 free throws to UTSA's 4 of 7. 
WKU was led by C-USA Player and Defensive Player of the Year Charles Bassey, who had 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. 
To open the game, the Roadrunners answered a 3-pointer from Carson Williams with a paint bucket from Germany and a wing 3-pointer from Jordan Ivy-Curry. After WKU evened the game at five, Wallace sank an elbow jumper to give UTSA a 7-5 lead in the opening minutes. 
Williams connected on a pair at the line and finished a dunk for a 9-7 WKU lead before Wallace sank a 3-pointer to give UTSA a 10-9 lead. That would be the last lead for the Roadrunners as WKU ripped off a 7-0 run to force a timeout, taking a 21-13 lead after Bassey got on the board and Jordan Rawls hit a 3-pointer. 
The lead grew to 24-15 as UTSA missed 20 of its first 26 shots to allow WKU to build an advantage. The lead grew to 31-21 after Luke Frampton hit a transition 3-pointer with just over three minutes left in the first half and went to 34-21 after an and-1 jumper from Taevion Hollingsworth. 
Cedrick Alley Jr. got on the board to cut the lead to 11 as the clock ticked under a minute. WKU took a 38-25 lead at halftime as UTSA shot just 28 percent. 
The lead grew to 20 as WKU scored the first seven out of the break. 
Erik Czumbel's transition 3-pointer cut the lead to 55-44 with 9:31 left in regulation, part of a 9-0 UTSA run.  Wallace sank a corner midrange jumper to cut the lead to 66-56 with 8:44 left but Bassey completed a three-point play with an and-1 to take the lead back to 13. 
Wallace's floater cut the lead to 59-48 after the under-eight minute media timeout but Bassey hit a top of the key 3-pointer to regain a 14-point lead. 
- UTSA -