The Roadrunners escaped their gym with a win on a turnaround prayer from Jhivvan Jackson to beat North Texas 76-74. The game was a back-and-forth affair featuring two of the better coaches in a league increasingly containing quality coaching.
Jackson started slowly but finished strong, getting some clutch buckets to slow the NT comeback late by attacking the rim and getting in the lane. His offensive rating was a putrid 68, but the Mean Green’s focus on stopping him helped Nick Allen and company get buckets. Allen finished with 16, grabbed 7 rebounds, and came up with big buckets as UTSA racked up a nine-point lead.
Other guys like Adokiye Iyaye — who has been good all season — contributed and the that is the recipe for being a good team. Jhivvan Jackson is the name most people know and this season Keaton Wallace has been growing into a dynamic scorer in his own right. Neither had a great afternoon, but UTSA came out with a win over formerly 16-1 North Texas and went to 4-0 in a solid league.
Head Coach Steve Henson turned UTSA into an exciting team capable of an upset last season. He might have a good team capable of making noise this season. This early couple of weeks have seen some strange things thus far and while that is the nature of the game at this level, there is plenty of basketball to be played and things average out.
It is reasonable to be skeptical of the UTSA progress thus far as two UTEP games and one Rice matchup were the other three wins of the four but this win over UNT was genuinely impressive. Upsets made on the strength of big games by one or two players are common in the game, but UTSA won with their two leading scorers struggling.
As Giovanni De Nicolao said in the post game, this is a long season and there is a lot of basketball to be played. For now, UTSA can enjoy life at the top.