A Rebounding Victory
Roadrunners set school record for rebounds in a game and snap two-game home losing streak with a 72-63 win over Marshall
Playing their first home game in nearly two weeks the Roadrunners came into Thursday night's contest with Marshall needing to rebound from their last home stand. They had lost both games in the last homestand and last week split their road trip up the eastern seaboard of Conference USA.
On Thursday night against Marshall the Roadrunners certainly rebounded. In more ways than one. UTSA took advantage of a frigid second half shooting by Marshall to pull out a 72-63 win over their visitors from West Virginia.
"We were working pretty hard defensively," UTSA Head Coach Steve Henson said. "Second half we came and made 10 straight stops. We took away their transition and easy buckets."
The Roadrunners also tied a school record for rebounds with 67 total. 40 of those rebounds came on the defensive glass, helped out by a Marshall team that put up enough bricks to build a small family home.
Every Roadrunner who played in the game came down with a rebound. Atem Bior and Jhivvan Jackson led the Roadrunners with 10 rebounds apiece.
"We wanted to limit their easy buckets," Bior said. "And we did that."
Byron Frohnen just missed double figures on rebounds as he finished with nine. Jackson also led the Roadrunners with 25 points and Bior added nine points to the UTSA cause.
"Each of our big guys had a stretch where it felt like he needs to be in the game," Henson said. "Atem (Bior) in the first half was good, Luka (Barisic) had a stretch where he was making some baskets. Adrian (Rodriguez) had a stretch where he gave good energy. Byron (Frohnen) I have so much trust in him and Jacob (Germany) was fine. All those guys chased after balls. Jhivvan had a lot of rebounds. It was good to see.
Other Roadrunner scorers of note included Keaton Wallace with 13 points. Luka Barisic added nine points and Makani Whiteside pitched in six points.
"Our bigs were aggressive," Jackson said after the game. "We were able to get around them and grab a couple of rebounds."
The game itself could best be described as a tale of two halfs. In the first half Marshall almost couldn't miss as they shot 43% and led 38-34 after closing the half on a 9-0 run. UTSA on the other hand had issues with their scoring as they only managed to make 33% of their field goals and went the final 2:50 of the half stuck on 34 points.
In the second half the Roadrunners clamped down on their defense. They were helped by a Marshall side that went the first seven minutes of the second half without a made field goal. The Roadrunners took advantage of that cold spell to take the lead just 2:14 into the second half. UTSA never relinquished that lead but despite the Herd's cold shooting they stayed in the game thanks to free throws. The Roadrunners largest lead in the second half was just nine points.
"Defense has been the point of emphasis all season," Jackson said. "We've been getting better at it. We're going to be a better defensive team."
Now the Roadrunners will turn to Saturday afternoon when they play Western Kentucky in the Convocation Center.
"In the locker room we started talking about that," Bior said. "We want to use this to get some momentum."
UTSA and Western Kentucky will tip off at 2 p.m. on Saturday. After that UTSA will find out which pod they will play in when pod play starts next weekend.