Men's Basketball

Roadrunners rematch with Charlotte on the road Thursday night

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After coming up short on a Let’s Go 210 Day comeback against visiting East Carolina, the UTSA men’s basketball team (8-16, 2-9) are looking for their second crack at the surprise rising star of the American Athletic Conference, Charlotte (15-8, 9-2 AAC). The Roadrunners and 49ers will meet for the second time this season at Halton Arena on Thursday, Feb. 15. In the last matchup at the beginning of conference play in San Antonio, the 49ers led wire-to-wire, but UTSA rallied in the final five minutes of each half, only to be held off by key Charlotte free throw shooting in the final moments of the 66-58 loss at the Convocation Center. Thursday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN+ alongside the radio broadcast on Sports Radio AM 760 The Ticket live from Halton.On the Air and on the Web

Set for a 6 p.m. CST tipoff, Thursday’s meeting between the Roadrunners and 49ers is set to stream live on ESPN+ for subscribers, with Bobby Rosinksi (play-by-play) and Jobey Thomas (analyst) set to make the broadcast call.

Andy Everett (play-by-play) will cover the game on the radio in Charlotte via the broadcast on Sports Radio AM 760 The Ticket and, as always, will feature a 30-minute pregame and 15-minute postgame show – available online at or via the free iHeartRadio app.  

Charlotte Athletics will also provide LIVE STATS.

Last Time Out
Sluggish first-half shooting limited the Roadrunners for the second straight game, allowing a perimeter-focused East Carolina team to establish a 23-point halftime advantage. UTSA shot 32 percent from the field in the first half, while ECU uncharacteristically took eight of its first nine shots from three and buried nine of their 13 triples in the opening period.
 The first six minutes after halftime were almost all Roadrunners. PJ Carter drained a three-pointer just 13 seconds into the half and UTSA scored on eight of its first 12 possessions, racking up a 21-8 advantage in that six-minute stretch to trim the deficit to 10.
 ECU finally got the offense going again, but UTSA used 6-0 and 7-0 runs to get the deficit back to 10 two more times.  
With UTSA bringing its comeback, East Carolina managed to burn clock and keep the Roadrunners at a safe distance, holding on for the 84-73 road win.
 Jordan Ivy-Curry led UTSA scorers with nine of his 14 in the second half. Carter also scored 10 of his 12 in the second half. Adante' Holiman netted 11 for his third double-figure game in as many tries since returning from an early-January injury.
Ivy-Curry paces all UTSA scorers at 17.5 ppg, built on 11 double-figure performances in 14 games, including six games of at least 20 points. He’s averaging the second-most assists at 3.43 apg and grabs 5.4 rpg from the guard spot. Registering the league’s top single-game score with 38 against ranked Florida Atlantic, the junior is sixth in conference scoring with 19.09 ppg against AAC opponents.
With 129 assists on the year, Christian Tucker has tied Lloyd Williams (1996-97) for the No. 10 spot on the UTSA single-season top 10. He’s also leading the American Athletic Conference (34th NCAA) in total assists and 5.4 assists per game (35th NCAA) for the 15th consecutive week – No. 4 in the AAC (66th nationally) with a 2.48 assist-to-turnover ratio.
At the line, Tucker is also in his fifth week leading the AAC in free throw percentage with an NCAA 19th-best 89.9 percent (98-109).
 When shots are dropping, they are raining – UTSA is fourth in the high-power AAC with a 79.2 ppg team average, helped along by a league-leading 9.8 threes per game (19th NCAA) on 28.8 perimeter attempts per game (12th NCAA). The Roadrunners also stand at second in the conference on the glass at 39.83 rpg (29th NCAA).

Series with Charlotte
With a series dating back to 2014 as familiar opponents from their shared time in Conference USA, Thursday marks the 13th meeting between these schools. After downing UTSA, 66-58, on January 13 in San Antonio, Charlotte holds a 7-5 edge in the overall series; a 4-1 advantage in Charlotte. The last win for UTSA on the road was a 98-97 overtime triumph on Feb. 17, 2018. Then-freshman Jhivvan Jackson scored 30 against the 49ers, hitting a baseline jumper to go to the extra period, and then capped the one-point victory on a layup with 36 seconds remaining.

Last Time Against Charlotte
The Roadrunners and 49ers met on Jan. 13 at UTSA’s Convocation Center in UTSA’s fourth AAC game of the year. With the Roadrunners coming off a 107-101 overtime loss at then-No. 13 Memphis, Charlotte steadily built a lead throughout the first half, largely inside the arc and at the line. After falling behind 12, UTSA turned a corner and Trey Edmonds, Chandler Cuthrell and Carter reeled off seven unanswered points to slice the deficit to only five with 87 seconds to half – closing the period with a Carter triple to go to half down 32-27. Charlotte established a 13-point second-half lead, but UTSA came rushing back again while holding the 49ers without a field goal for most of the final eight minutes. Though Ivy-Curry’s floater in the lane trimmed it to a seven-point game with 4:20 to go, the 49ers took care of business at the line to keep their distance hitting 7-for-8 free throws in the final 2:15. Scoring 16 in the second half, Ivy-Curry finished with a game-high 20 points to lead all scorers.

Scouting Charlotte
The surprise of the season among the first-year American Athletic Conference inductees, Charlotte was picked at 13th in the Preseason AAC polls and enters Thursday’s game at 15-8, 9-2 in AAC play and just one game out of first in the league.
The 49ers delivered a massive conference victory in their second AAC game, knocking off 17th-ranked preseason AAC favorite Florida Atlantic for Charlotte’s first ranked win in over 10 years, with Lu'Cye Patterson’s free throws at 1.7 seconds setting the 70-68 score. They also went to the wire with South Florida in a battle for conference control on Feb. 6 in Tampa, falling late to the Bulls, 72-69.
Charlotte is 10-1 at home this season in the first year under Aaron Fearne, after he was promoted to the head spot following five years as the Associate Head Coach – recruiting many of the players now under his charge. Fearne is off to the best start for a first-year Charlotte coach in 25 years.
The 49ers’ last outing was a too-close-for-comfort 73-70 victory over Temple in Philadelphia, holding off the Owls at the line down the stretch.
A junior guard, Patterson is still holding strong as the 49ers’ top threat, putting up 14.5 ppg on 42.9 percent shooting. He’s second on the squad at 61 assists (2.65 apg) and leads the team with 26 steals.
In the paint, junior forward Igor Milicic Jr. leads Charlotte with 8.5 rpg and 30 blocks, while adding 13.0 ppg on 50.3 percent shooting – the top threat from deep with a team-high 39 threes.
Rounding out Charlotte’s big-3, center Dishon puts in 5.6 rpg and has 23 blocks, scoring 11.4 ppg on a team-best 54.3 percent shooting. He had a 15-point, 11-rebound career-first double-double at Temple.
 More defense-focused, Charlotte is 13th in the AAC in scoring at 69.3 ppg, but are the third-best conference scoring defense at 64.7 ppg. They have the lowest rebounding averaging in the AAC (33.00 rpg) but a strong field goal percentage at 45.6 percent shooting – also aided by a league-best 9.7 turnovers allowed per game.

Local Ties
Despite the distance between these teams, there’s a surprising amount of Tarheel State crossover between the Roadrunners and 49ers.
As part of his seven-year NBA career, UTSA head coach Steve Henson signed as a free agent with the Charlotte Hornets in 1993 – playing three games. He would move the next season to Portland, where he played 37 games.
Senior Dre Fuller Jr. is from Fayetteville, a little under three hours to the east.
We call him a San Antonio native, but center Carlton Linguard Jr. was born in Durham.
Junior Josh Reid is from Havelock, 300 miles away on the central coast, attending Village Christian Academy. Not in action this year, but Justin Thomas also attended Village Christian and later Queens University of Charlotte.
San Antonio-raised Juan Reyna also played last season at Campbell with 30 games, averaging 5.3 points and 1.1 rebounds.
‣ Carter started his career at Campbell before moving to Georgia Highlands College.
Speaking of Village Christian, new to the bench this season is assistant coach Kurtis Darden, who led Fayetteville’s VCA to back-to-back NCISAA 2-A state titles in 2016 and 2017, a pair of State Runner-Up finishes, was a three-time conference Coach of the Year and was the 2017 Cape Fear Region Coach of the Year. As a high school coach, Darden led his teams to a 243-83 record over 12 seasons before joining the college ranks on the staff at Campbell in Buies Creek. He played his prep ball at Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville, initially played at Campbell and later graduated from Pfeiffer, then earning a master’s from UNC Pembroke.
First-year graduate assistant David Strother hails from Lumberton, southeast of Fayetteville. Strother started his playing career at UNC Pembroke, winning two Peach Belt Conference championships and going to the NCAA tournament in all three seasons with the Braves. He played 94 games with 89 starts as a UNCP guard, scoring 1,046 points over three years while averaging 11.1 ppg on 45 percent shooting. He also averaged 3.4 apg, 3.6 rpg and 1.6 spg. Another VCA tie, Strother was all-county and all-state playing for Darden at Village Christian.

Up Next
Continuing UTSA’s longest road stretch of the season, UTSA will note return to San Antonio – instead heading northeast to face historic Temple in Philadelphia for the first time in program history on Feb. 18 at the Liacouras Center.


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