SAN ANTONIO – For the second straight game, the UTSA men’s basketball team (8-16, 2-9 AAC) struggled to bury buckets in the first half and were pushed to shoot their way out of a notable deficit in the second half against East Carolina (12-12, 5-6 AAC) on Saturday at the Convocation Center. Staring down a 23-point halftime deficit, the Roadrunners never strayed from the fight, outscoring the visiting Pirates 48-36 in the second half. However, UTSA could only cut the lead to 10 as the half ticked away, succumbing to the 84-73 loss.
Taking a long-distance approach, the Pirates fired off eight of their first nine shots from beyond the arc and connected on five to build up a 15-6 advantage in the first seven minutes before the Roadrunners kicked the offense into gear. Down by 13, UTSA outscored ECU 12-6 over the next five minutes to cut the deficit to only seven, but six unanswered scores over a three-minute stretch, including three triples, ballooned the Pirates’ lead and Trey Edmonds’ buzzer-beating layup send the teams to half with East Carolina up 48-25.
After shooting just 32 percent in the first half. the Roadrunners came firing right out of the break, sparked by a PJ Carter three-pointer just 13 seconds into the period. UTSA notched scores on eight of their first 12 possessions of the half, making a deep cut in the deficit down to 10 points, besting ECU 21-8 across the first six minutes of the half, keyed by triples from Carter, Carlton Linguard Jr. and Adante' Holiman. The Pirates extended their advantage back out to 17, but as the clock shifted into the final 10 minutes, UTSA made runs of 6-0 and 7-0 to get the difference back to 10 thrice more – Christian Tucker’s NBA three at 2:16 and Jordan Ivy-Curry’s fight to the rack at 1:13 providing the last two opportunities. With time ticking away, the Pirates successfully burned clock and mostly kept the Roadrunners from shedding any more points, holding on for the 84-73 win.
The Pirates made an uncharacteristically high 13 from long range to create too much separation, despite the Roadrunners’ second-half recovery for 50 percent shooting from the field and the perimeter after the break. Giving UTSA its best chances to rally, the Roadrunners hit 13-for-15 from the free throw line.
Carter scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half to get the Roadrunners on track. Also delivering a big second push, Ivy-Curry netted nine of his team-high 14 after the break, going 6-for-11 on the afternoon. Holiman also scored 11 for his third consecutive double-figure game since returning from injury.
Loss aside, UTSA Athletics celebrated the second recognition of “Let’s Go 210 Day”, featuring a pregame tailgate at the Convocation Center, a 2:10 p.m. speech from Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos ahead of a set from Spirit of San Antonio (SOSA) band, and a halftime unveiling of the State of Texas proclamation of the official day this year. Roadrunner fans showed up for the team and packed 1,535 into the Convo.
The Roadrunners head out next week for their longest road trip of the year, taking on the first double-road trip since starting AAC play. UTSA will travel to Charlotte for a rematch with the hot-hand 49ers on Feb. 15, before heading on to a program-first meeting with Temple in Philadelphia on Feb. 18.
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