MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The UTSA men’s basketball team (7-9, 1-2 AAC) was so close to upsetting the 13th-ranked Memphis (14-2, 3-0 AAC) that both the Roadrunners and every Tigers fan in the FedEx Forum could positively taste it. The Roadrunners led for nearly 20 minutes of regulation, but the Tigers cleared a four-point UTSA lead in the final 67 seconds to force the second consecutive overtime for the Roadrunners. Memphis maintained the early edge in the extra period and held on for the 107-101 win on Wednesday night.
The teams came out swinging, combining for 23 points in the first five minutes and heading into the first media timeout with UTSA on top thanks to Trey Edmonds battling inside for the first UTSA go-ahead score at 12-11. Twice the Tigers swung the subsequent possessions back to a tie, but Jordan Ivy-Curry hit the first of his six three-pointers to push the Roadrunners ahead for nearly the remainder of the first half, going up 20-18 with 12:44 on the clock.
Right behind him, PJ Carter started the find his stride, driving the paint on the next possession and then hitting from long range to push UTSA up six – while Ivy-Curry dropped another triple on the ensuing possession to make it a game-high seven-point UTSA lead at 9:24 in the first.
Although Memphis knotted things at a brief 28-all tie, back-to-back threes from Ivy-Curry and Chandler Cuthrell gave the Roadrunners some breathing room. In the final minute of the half, the Tigers’ David Jones knocked the lead to a single point, but Edmonds free throw at :02 gave UTSA a 37-35 advantage heading into the locker room.
Four ties and a lead change highlighted the opening four minutes of the second half, but the Tigers started to gain a little ground after new-found success from long range. The Tigers put away a string of eight shots in nine attempts, with five coming from beyond the arc and generating an eight-point advantage. However, the Roadrunners were undeterred, wiping away the deficit in half the time it took Memphis to build it, as Carlton Linguard Jr., Massal Diouf and Isaiah Wyatt combined for a 7-0 run across a two-minute stretch that trimmed the Memphis lead to 63-62.
After five ties and four lead changes over the next eight minutes, it looked like the Roadrunners finally had a breakthrough, as Wyatt collapsed the defense and kicked back to Dre Fuller Jr. for a three and the 89-86 lead. Ivy-Curry made it a four-point advantage with 1:16 to go. A pair of Memphis free throws and then a stolen inbound for a Nick Jourdain bucket led to the game’s 11th tie. Christian Tucker delivered at the line to give UTSA a 94-92 lead with 36 ticks to go, but Jones put away a pair to tie it for the Tigers on the other end. With a shot to win it, officials whistled Diouf for an offensive foul with 6.9 seconds on the clock and regulation ended at a 94-94 deadlock.
Into the extra period, Jahvon Quinerly managed to collect a four-point play to open overtime scoring. Fighting against a two-possession deficit the entire overtime, Memphis maintained a 13-7 advantage in the extra period, holding off the UTSA upset bid in the 107-101 final.
Leading all scorers on the night and six from UTSA in double-figures, Ivy-Curry racked up a career-high 28 points, in addition to nine rebounds and five assists. His six from long-range was also a career best, pacing a 17-shot effort by UTSA beyond the arc – with contributions from seven different players.
Tucker added 14 points and dished out a team-high seven assists, while Cuthrell collected a career-best 13 points, including three from distance. In addition, Edmonds, Linguard and Carter each scored 10 apiece.
While threes made up the difference for the Roadrunners, the Tigers developed a commanding 43-34 advantage on the glass and despite shooting under 70 percent at the line (30-for-43), Memphis was able to make more free throws than UTSA shot (16-for-21).
The Roadrunners head back home to the Convocation Center for the second nationally televised game of the year, hosting Charlotte on ESPNU at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13. The following week will see UTSA travel to Tulsa (Jan. 17) and then host conference preseason favorite Florida Atlantic (Jan. 21) at the Convo.
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