SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA men’s basketball team (8-12, 2-5 AAC) delivered a much-needed to snap a four-game losing skid with, closing out the Tulane Green Wave (12-7, 3-4 AAC) after a series of close-call losses. Jordan Ivy-Currydrilled the game-winner from the top of the arc with 2.3 seconds remaining to elevate the Roadrunners to an 89-88 win on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center - edging him over the career 1,000-point threshold in the process.
Forced to play from behind throughout the first half as the teams traded scores, the Roadrunners kept themselves in play with a stalwart performance at the free throw line, hitting 11-for-13 at the stripe in the opening period – making up for a chilly 1-for-17 run from the perimeter despite their presence as the top three-point shooting team in the American Athletic Conference. In the meantime, Tulane was staying ahead in the race by three-point success with 5-of-12 dropping in from beyond the arc.
Twice in the final five minutes of the first half, Tulane extended their lead out to nine, but Carlton Linguard Jr.brought the Roadrunners to life with a slump-snapping three with 3:11 on the clock to bring an end to 14-consecutive long-range misses. Four consecutive points from Trey Edmonds followed and trimmed the deficit to a single possession. The next time down, Linguard tipped in a second-chance shot and Edmonds’ dunk on the next trip down the floor gave UTSA its first lead with only 40 seconds to go in the half. A pair of Jaylen Forbes free throws granted the Green Wave the slightest edge at half, going ahead 41-40 at the break.
With the second half under way, it was like a switch flipped. Linguard rejected a Sion James drive on the first Tulane possession and settled in position to drain the three off Edmonds’ pass on the break. A flurry of long-range shooting traded threes across five of the first six possessions of the period – including four triples from Linguard. The game swayed back-and-forth in the second half, featuring a season-high 17 lead changes and eight ties. With the clock evaporating late in the half, both teams were forced to make a stand at the free throw line, with nearly half of the combined points in the final 10 minutes coming at the line (18-39).
After Ivy-Curry recorded the game’s final tie on a step-back jumper that made it 85-all with 1:29 remaining, Forbes edged the Green Wave in front once more at the line. It looked like the Roadrunners were in dangerous territory in the final :08, as Linguard missed the front end of a two-shot foul, and Collin Holloway stretched the lead to two on split free throws when the Roadrunners were forced to foul. Christian Tucker brought the ball up off the make, shielding his shooter as he pitched back to an advancing Ivy-Curry – who pulled up for the game-winning shot from the top of the arc with 2.3 on the clock to secure the 89-88 victory.
Coming off a career 38-point night against No. 23 Florida Atlantic, you could say Ivy-Curry had a quiet night drawing the defense’s attention with just nine points – but he delivered with the game on the line. Filling the void, Linguard scored 20 of his career-high 31 points in the second half, shooting 6-for-10 with 5-for-7 coming from the perimeter – collecting a double-double with 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Shooting a career-best 7-of-8 at the free throw line, Edmonds scored 11 points with eight rebounds, and Chandler Cuthrell was a big momentum-builder, throwing down a pair of rim-rattling putback dunks toward UTSA’s 17 second-chance points.
The Roadrunners shot 70 percent from the line (20-30), outpacing Tulane’s 62-percent performance. UTSA was able to extend possessions thanks to a dominant performance on the glass, outrebounding the Green Wave 48-33.
The tests never stop in the AAC, as UTSA heads back to the road to face a South Florida team in Tampa that sits in a tie for third with a 5-1 conference record. The Roadrunners and Bulls will face off on Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Yuengling Center. UTSA opens next week at home for a second opportunity against Rice, following the Roadrunners’ Jan. 6 overtime win in Houston.
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