Vashaun Newman
Men's Basketball

UTSA closes out road slate with 16-point comeback win

MIAMI – UTSA picked up its second road win of the season on Saturday night, overcoming a 16-point deficit to defeat the FIU Panthers, 95-91, and earning its third C-USA victory of the season.
UTSA (9-21, 3-16 C-USA) picked up a much-needed victory Saturday night, downing the seventh-ranked team in the conference on its senior night. FIU (13-16, 7-11 C-USA) led for 75% of game time and got double-figure performances from five Panthers, but it wasn't enough.
Nine different Roadrunners logged their name in the scoring column on the evening and many achieved personal bests. Leading the way was John Buggs III who tallied 18 points including a three-pointer with 58 seconds remaining that put the Roadrunners up by three. Jacob Germany had a career-best 18 rebounds on the evening to go along with sixteen points, marking his eighth double-double of the season and 24th of his career. Germany was also a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line and had two blocks, taking his career total to 102. Isaiah Addo-Ankrah had a season-high 15 points, going 4-5 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line, a career-best. Japhet Medor had 13 points to pair with a career-high nine assists and five steals, tying his career-best from earlier this season at Utah. Christian Tucker also chipped in 13 points as the sophomore guard tallied four steals, a career-best, to round out his stat line. Freshman Massal Diouf notched seven points, a personal best, including two and-one stuffs. Overall, UTSA shot 47% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. The Roadrunners recorded 13 steals, a season-high, as well as 46 points off their bench, also a season-high. UTSA recorded 19 fast break points on the evening, tying its season-high.
The Rundown
FIU came out the gates hot, picking up a quick 6-0 lead thanks to a three, a jumper and a free throw. The Roadrunners struck back with a Lamin Sabally dunk and Medor jumper to cut the lead down to two. The two teams would trade blows until eventually, the Roadrunners tied the game up at 11 apiece. A free throw from Tucker pushed UTSA to a one-point, 12-11, lead with 13 minutes left in the first half. The pace of play, as well as the scoring, really picked up from that point as FIU started pushing the envelope and UTSA did too as the teams combined to score 75 points in the remaining thirteen minutes as the Panthers took a 14-point lead, 56-42, into the break. It was the second-straight contest a team has scored a 50-point half against the Roadrunners.
After trailing by as many as 16 in the first half, UTSA got busy quickly in the second half, chipping away at the lead little by little. Massal Diouf converted an and-one dunk, DJ Richards got a jumper to fall, Sabally got a basket in transition, Medor connected on two straight baskets and Germany finished the run with a layup in the paint. The Roadrunners had trimmed a 14-point halftime deficit to five with just over 16 minutes remaining in the second half. The Panthers found their footing and were able to extend the lead back to ten, 69-59, thanks to a pair of layups and a free throw with 14 minutes remaining. The Roadrunners rattled off 11 unanswered points from there to take the lead. It all started with a Medor floater. On the other, UTSA got a steal which resulted in a Germany dunk. Another Panther turnover resulted in a pair of free throws for Jacob while the third straight FIU turnover turned into a Richards slam which pulled UTSA within two. One defensive stop later, UTSA came down the floor and Medor found Addo-Ankrah in the corner who buried a triple to give the Roadrunners a one-point lead with 11:34 remaining. The Panthers and Roadrunners went shot-for-shot down the stretch, finding themselves knotted back up at 88-all with a minute and a half remaining. After a clock-draining possession, UTSA found Buggs beyond the arc who buried a triple and gave the Roadrunners a three-point edge with 58 seconds remaining. FIU knocked down three freebies to knot the game back up, only to foul Medor and see him knock down some free throws to push the lead back to two. FIU missed a layup with nine seconds remaining that UTSA rebounded and got to Medor who was again fouled. Japhet cashed his last two free throws to put the Roadrunners up four and ice the game.
Up Next
After wrapping up its final road trip of the season, UTSA will return to the Convocation Center for one final regular season contest against the Charlotte 49ers on Thursday, March 2. Thursday's game will be Senior Night for the Roadrunners as both Jacob Germany and Erik Czumbel will be honored pregame. Conference USA will have its final gameday on Saturday, March 4, where the remaining 10 teams will compete before the Conference USA Tournament the following week.
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