PJCarterLamar vs UTSA 54412PhotoByJarrodBrownPJCarterLamar vs UTSA 54412PhotoByJarrodBrown
Men's Basketball

UTSA falls in nail-biter at Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – PJ Carter scored 19 of a career night’s effort in the first half to give the UTSA men’s basketball team (8-17, 2-10 AAC) a modest two-point halftime deficit at the American Athletic Conference’s No. 2 Charlotte (16-8, 10-2 AAC). The Roadrunners battled with the 49ers throughout Thursday night’s rematch at Halton Arena, trimming the game to a single possession twice in the final 10 minutes and made it a four-point game with just two minutes remaining, but the 49ers held on for the 79-70 win over the Roadrunners.

The first half looked like a track meet as the Roadrunners forced the 49ers to match their pace, but Charlotte put down five key threes and Dishon Jackson made a living at the free throw line to keep the 49ers just a step ahead, despite a pair of ties. The Roadrunners trailed by as many as 13 until Carter snapped a two-minute scoring drought and scored 15 of the next 17 UTSA points over a four-minute run. Across the final five minutes of the half, UTSA outscored Charlotte 18-7 with Carter, Christian Tucker and Dre Fuller Jr. leading the charge. The Roadrunners came a couple of friendly bounces from another tie ballgame, as Tucker’s buzzer-beating paint jumper rolled off the rim for a 46-44 Charlotte halftime lead.

Defense ruled the second half after UTSA shot 46.9 percent to Charlotte’s 51.9 percent in the first half. Five minutes into the period, there were only 12 additional points on the board and still only a four-point game. Though Charlotte grew its advantage to eight, Chandler Cuthrell grabbed a defensive board and posted up for a three on the wing to set UTSA toward a key rally, as back-to-back Tucker second-chance scores sliced the game to a 59-56 difference with 9:03 on the clock. Every time Charlotte tried to push out, UTSA was right there, as Jordan Ivy-Curry took an outlet pass the distance, slicing down a seam for the full-court fast break and the 63-60 score with 5:49 remaining.

With the clock ticking down and another eight-point deficit looming, Tucker hit four consecutive unanswered free throws to trim the game to 71-67 with 2:05 to go. However, the 49ers netted back-to-back scores from Nik Graves and Igor Milicic Jr. After Fuller hit a clutch three to make it 75-70 in the final minute, Tucker grabbed a steal on the inbound and UTSA had the opportunity to cut it to three at the line – but the free throws wouldn’t fall. With the Roadrunners forced to foul, the 49ers dropped all four free shots and pulled away for the 79-70 win.

Carter scored a career-high 22 points on a career-best 5-for-9 from the perimeter, while dropping 7-for-14 overall. Tucker added 13 points, Fuller with 10 and Cuthrell with nine points and seven rebounds. Trey Edmonds paced the effort on the glass with 10 rebounds and seven points.

Though the Roadrunners only had nine turnovers, the 49ers capitalized, scoring 14 points off turnovers on the night. UTSA held a 43-36 rebound advantage, including 18 offensive boards, putting back 18 points off second-chance opportunities.

With the addition of tonight's stats, Tucker has 131 assists on the season and moves into another tie with Lloyd Williams (1998-99) for the No. 7 spot on the UTSA single-season assists list.

Up Next
The double-game road swing continues for the Roadrunners into the weekend, making the direct move to Philadelphia for a Sunday, Feb. 18 matchup at Temple in The Liacouras Center.



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