SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA men's basketball team will close out the preseason on Monday night at the Convocation Center with its second exhibition game of the 2023-24 season, welcoming Abilene’s McMurray War Hawks to San Antonio for the seventh overall meeting and the first exhibition contest in the series. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., admission is FREE and the game will be broadcast on Sports Radio AM 760 The Ticket with a telecast streaming live on ESPN+.
On the Air and the Web
Tuesday’s game will tip at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center and will air live on the Radio with Andy Everett doing play-by-play alongside analyst Tim Carter. The broadcast will appear on Sports Radio AM 760 The Ticket with Everett in his 17th season covering UTSA games. The broadcast will feature a 30-minute pregame and 15-minute postgame show and will be available online at Ticket760.com or via the free iHeartRadio app.
In addition, Monday’s exhibition contest will air live on ESPN+ (for subscribers) with Karl Schoening (play-by-play) on the call, alongside UTSA basketball legend Devin Brown (analyst). Brown was inducted last weekend into the inaugural UTSA Athletics Hall of Fame – a nod to his legendary UTSA career that grants him one of two jerseys hung in the Convocation Center rafters. A local product from the Southside’s West Campus High School, Brown played three of his eight seasons for the Spurs, including the 2005 NBA Championship campaign. He was also inducted in 2023 into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
UTSA Athletics also will provide LIVE STATS from the Convo.
New Season, New Look Roadrunners
Entering the eighth year under head coach Steve Henson, UTSA’s roster features a completely new look this season, as the Roadrunners bring 12 new players to the floor, complementing two returners from last season – junior guard Christian Tucker and sophomore forward Massal Diouf – and another player returning to San Antonio after a season at Pacific – junior guard Jordan Ivy-Curry. Diouf heads into the season as UTSA’s lone returning starter from a year ago, taking the floor in 27 games last year with 21 starts. Tucker saw 30 games with six stats and Ivy-Curry started 19-of-21 appearances in 2021-22 with a team second-best 13.9 points per outing.
Having lost significant production from last season’s squad, the Roadrunners will look to throw the 12 newcomers right into the action. The most prominent of the group was expected to join UTSA last season, but 7-foot center Carlton Linguard Jr. required a year in residence following his transfer from Kansas State. The Roadrunners also expect early contributions from 6-6 guard Dre Fuller Jr., who averaged 5.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per outing through 67 games at UCF. In addition, UTRGV sophomore transfer point guard Adante’ Holiman averaged 7.5 points and 3.0 assists on 44.7 percent shooting for the Vaqueros down in Edinburg, and a was a four-star prospect coming out of high school as the No. 1 player in Oklahoma. Arriving from the junior college ranks at Miles (Montana), guard/forward Blessing Adesipe did not play in the first exhibition but will be an exciting player to watch, having scored 1,132 points in two seasons and was an honorable mention JUCO All-American with 21.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. UTSA has also added DI transfers Justin Thomas (Milwaukee), Trey Edmonds (Utah Tech) and Juan Reyna (Campbell), DII transfer Isaiah Wyatt (Chadron State), junior college transfers Chandler Cuthrell (Odessa College), PJ Carter (Georgia Highlands), Josh Reid (Gulf Coast College) – along with freshman guard Nazar Mahmoud out of Plano’s Spring Creek Academy.
The revamped UTSA roster hails from nine different states, with one player from the Netherlands. Featuring 10 juniors, one senior and one graduate student, there’s plenty of collegiate experience to go around. The Roadrunners have also gained some height on the roster, averaging just under 6-6 on the 2023-24 squad.
Last Time Out
The Roadrunners debuted the new roster with a scorching offensive output, knocking out their first 100-point game since the 2021-22 season via a 100-70 finish against Trinity in the first exhibition of the inaugural American Athletic Conference season.
UTSA notched six players in double figures against the Tigers, with Linguard putting 20 points on the board on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. He was just shy of a double-double in his UTSA debut, registering nine boards with three assists. Cuthrell did achieve that feat, collecting 10 points with 11 rebounds. Edmonds also had 14 points and seven rebounds, while Carter was 3-for-5 from long range for 13 points, Fuller ended with 12 points, eight rebounds and tied Christian Tucker with a team-high five assists.
The 11 Roadrunners who made the court for the exhibition averaged 47.7 percent shooting and held Trinity to 34.9 from the floor, winning the rebound battle 60-34 with the most rebounds in two seasons.
Series with McMurry
Dating all the way back to 1981, the Roadrunners and War Hawks have met on six prior occasions, earning a 5-1 UTSA advantage in the series. All six contests have been at the Convocation Center and McMurry garnered the win in the last outing, departing San Antonio with a 73-71 triumph. Through the remaining five games, UTSA has averaged a 23-point margin of victory in the series.
The War Hawks return seven players from a 2022-23 squad that was 7-18 and enter the ninth year under coach Zach Pickelman with eight new faces on the roster. Topping the returning players, Dallas-native senior guard CJ LeBlanc averaged a team-leading 18.1 points per outing, along with averages of 3.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals last year. LeBlanc earned third-team All-American Southern Conference honors last season and was previously the ASC West Co-Freshman of the Year. A senior from Houston, forward Elias Garcia grabbed a team-best 6.4 rebounds and put up 12.4 points per game while shooting 61.3 percent from the floor – he received All-ASC honorable mention for his efforts last season. In addition, junior forward TJ Hilliard brings back 12.0 ppg with 5.6 rpg from last year’s team.
Last season, the War Hawks averaged 89.2 points per game as a team, while opponents scored 92.5 ppg. On the floor, a lot of points went through the post, collecting a 46.6 percent field goal average, while only taking nine threes per game on a 34.7 percent average. McM faced a rebound deficit at -5.9 after grabbing just 35.4 boards per contest.
Pickelman enters his ninth season leading the War Hawks with an 58-137 (.297) record, named the program’s 16th head coach after eight years on the staff at Hardin-Simmons University – also in Abilene.
UTSA officially opens its 43rd season on November 6 with the first program meeting against Western Illinois, hosting the Leathernecks in a 7 p.m. starts at the Convocation Center.
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