Vashaun Newman
Men's Basketball

UTSA’s upset bid falls short as it drops Saturday’s contest to UAB

SAN ANTONIO – The Roadrunners dropped a heartbreaker this afternoon, as their upset bid of UAB, the third-place team in Conference USA, came up short, falling 83-78.
UTSA (8-20, 2-15 C-USA) attempted to avenge an earlier 23-point loss to the Blazers from December, leading for over 75% of the game but were unable to close it out. UAB (20-8, 11-6 C-USA) earned its seventh win in its last eight contests as Jordan "Jelly" Walker had a game-high 25 points, including a dagger three-pointer with a minute remaining.
For the Roadrunners, Japhet Medor had a team-high 22 points to pair with four rebounds and a team-high four assists. Both DJ Richards and John Buggs III had 14 points on the day. Richards pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go along with his 14 points. Senior big man Jacob Germany tallied 11 points with six rebounds while Massal Diouf had five points and six rebounds. In his third-straight start, Lamin Sabally recorded six points and six rebounds.
The Rundown
The Roadrunners came out of the gates hot, ripping off an 11-0 run to open the game and would lead 11-1 at the first media break. The Blazers trimmed the lead back down to two, trailing 16-18, by the under-12, and coming out of the break, took their first lead of the game thanks to a Walker triple. The two teams would trade baskets as they entered the under-eight timeout knotted up at 22 apiece. UTSA started gaining some separation, going up by five, only to see the lead evaporate as UAB reclaimed a one-point lead, 29-28, with 5:19 left in the half. From there, UTSA went on a 13-6 run to close the half, going into the break up 41-35. After one half of play, Medor had a game-high 13 points while Richards had nine points and seven rebounds.
UTSA was able to extend its halftime lead back to 11, as UAB's best player (Walker) picked up his fourth foul and had to take an early seat on the bench. The Roadrunners took full advantage of his absence, controlling the action for the first ten minutes of the second stanza. However, around the 10-minute mark, UAB began to change its offensive strategy. The Blazers began to push it to the rim instead of settling for open jumpers, resulting in either free throws or layups as they chipped away at the Roadrunner lead until it stood at one (69-68). The Roadrunners held that one-point advantage going into the final media break, however, it was time for the 2021-22 C-USA Player of the Year to shine as Walker scored ten of the Blazers' final 15 points, closing out UTSA and securing the win for UAB.
Up Next
UTSA will be back in action next weekend when it hits the road for the "Florida trip." The Roadrunners will face current top-25 squad Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Feb. 23, in the first leg of the trip. Next Thursday's game against the Owls is scheduled to tip at 6 p.m. (CT), will be streamed on ESPN+ and will be broadcast on Ticket 760 AM.
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