UTSA (8-17, 1-11 Conference USA) saw Middle Tennessee (15-7, 6-3 C-USA) improve to 10-0 at home with the win as the Blue Raiders were able to build on a six-point halftime lead in the opening minutes of the second half, earning a double-digit advantage that wouldn’t be relinquished.
The Roadrunners opened the game missing 13 of their first 16 shots but finished the first half making 11 of the final 23 efforts to cut the lead to 38-32 at the break, with the Blue Raiders using an 11 of 12 mark at the charity stripe to build the halftime lead.
The Blue Raiders came out hot in the second half, making their first eight shots – and 10 of their first 11 – to build a 15 point lead in the opening minutes. The Roadrunners rallied on a 10-4 stretch to cut the lead to 80-75 with 36 seconds left but the Blue Raiders were able to hold off the late-game comeback bid from the Roadrunners.
Jordan Ivy-Curry, a native of La Marque, Texas, had 19 points on 7 of 17 shooting, making three triples. A 6-foot-11 junior center, Jacob Germany had 16 points and nine rebounds. Dhieu Deing finished with 14 points, five rebounds and two assists, making four 3-pointers. Erik Czumbel added nine points.
The Roadrunners shot 43.5 percent from the field and 9 of 29 from deep, while Middle Tennessee finished with a 53.7 shooting percentage and was 7 of 16 from 3-point range. The battle of the boards was won by UTSA, 35-34, with UTSA owning a 17-8 margin in offensive rebounds. Middle Tennessee scored 44 points in the paint and had 23 fast-break points.
Middle Tennessee was led by Green Bay graduate transfer guard Josh Jefferson, who had 18, including 11 in the first half. DeAndre Dishman, a product of Bryan Station High School in Lexington, Ky., had 18 points and five rebounds.
The Roadrunners will return to action on Saturday, breaking from the road to host Western Kentucky at 3 pm at the Convocation Center, live on CUSA TV and Ticket 760 AM.
Ivy-Curry opened the scoring with a midrange jumper before Middle scored the next six points, including a pair of buckets from Josh Jefferson and a floater from Donovan Sims. Phoenix Ford got the lead to 6-5 with an and-1 after cleaning up the offensive glass.
The teams traded 3-pointers, with MT getting one from Christian Fussell and UTSA answering from deep with a Deing triple. McNeill answered four straight at the free-throw line from Middle Tennessee and after a Blue Raiders bucket, Germany and Bofinger finished paint buckets to cut the lead to 15-14.
The teams traded corner 3-pointers and the Blue Raiders took the lead to 23-17 before UTSA got consecutive buckets from Ivy-Curry and Czumbel to cut the lead to 23-21 with 7:50 left in the first. The lead grew to five before Sims sank a corner-3pointer off an offensive rebound.
Germany finished a drive to the rim and after two MTSU free throws, Czumbel laid in a hard take to cut the lead to 31-25 with 3:46 left.
UTSA used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to two, getting a transition lay in from Germany and a free-throw line jumper from Ivy-Curry. Two at the line, a transition 3-pointer and a drive and basket from Jefferson, regained a 38-29 lead for the Blue Raiders.
Isaiah Addo-Ankrah snapped the MTSU run and cut the lead to 38-32 at half. UTSA shot 39 percent in the frame, while MTSU shot 42 percent, including 5 of 10 from deep. Jefferson led all scorers with 11 points, while Ivy-Curry had nine and Germany added eight.
Ivy-Curry opened the scoring in the second with a corner midrange jumper before DeAndre Dishman answered. The run continued to 6-0 after two consecutive UTSA turnovers led to sprint-out uncontested lay-ups on the other end, taking the lead to a game-high 10 with 18:16 left.
The run continued to 8-0 after Dishman finished in the paint before Germany narrowed it to 10 with a lefty hook on the other end. The lead grew to 15 after a 3-pointer from Jefferson with 15:47 left and was stretched to 19 with 10 minutes left, the MTSU lead would not relinquish despite the Roadrunners cutting the lead to five with 36 seconds left.
– UTSA –