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UTSA Beats UTEP as Dan D’Antoni Watches

CUSA Report is at the CUSA Tournament and filing dispatches from the games. They are a stream of observations but sometimes straight game recaps. 

Two teams with the same color scheme in the same game is usually a novelty. But when the Great Realignment happened, we saw Nebraska in the same league as Wisconsin. Here in CUSA, we have UTEP and UTSA battling for the most UT System school award each season.

The Miner band wore blue, while the Runners wore Orange. Both squads did the thumb+pinky finger thing. It is odd, and not date either of these programs intended way back when they conceived of the program.

It is a fact of life, as is the sea of similar green in the crowd representing the North Texas and Marshall fans.

This game started slowly, but heated up quickly. Nick Allen, UTSA’s long-haired JR forward came ready to play. He had fire in his eyes and it showed as he tired an early yam on a suspecting UTEP player. It was unsuccessful but his earlier three was. UTSA is missing Freshman of the Year Jhivvan Jackson and it showed, as the life and pop was missing. The effort and intensity — elements that Conference Coach of the Year Steve Henson instilled — was there however.

UTEP played hard and gave a good effort but there is not enough talent — or fully formed talent to be clear — to compete with UTSA. Evan Gilyard had 29 points, showing an array of drives and tough finishes mixed with the occasional shot. He was not efficient, but that was mostly due to the UTEP offense being ineffective but for Gilyard buckets.

UTSA’s Byron Frohnen has a nice midrange game. In the first half he hit a couple that opened up the game and kept UTSA comfortably ahead. In modern college basketball, there are two aspects of offense that every D1 player needs to be successful: A jumper, and an inside game. The most athletic guys attack the rim and get buckets — look at Gilyard — and the clever ones who cannot jump over 6’8″, long-limbed, athletic marvels?  Well they develop a nice midrange game.

Watching so much basketball up close highlights the unique value of a 8-foot flat-footed one handed shot. It is not quite a floater but it is not quite a full-on jump shot. It works, as it does the job.

UTSA needs every kind of bucket it can get from everyone against Marshall. Herd coach Dan D’Antoni spend the game in the front row, taking notes on a manilla folder.

 

Tonight’s game will be a different feel. The Denton contingent will be much smaller. UTEP outnumbered the UTSA fans, who were no-doubt kept away by the chances, the timing (a Wednesday) and the loss of Jackson.

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