Fresno, CA -
UTSA simply ran out of time on Friday night. The 'Runners showed grit and extreme resiliency in fighting and scrapping until the score board hit triple zeroes with Fresno State hanging on for the close win 69-66.
Sophomore Nick Allen would hit a trey from the left wing to cut the deficit to three with only 1.2 seconds remaining. On the following play, Fresno State would inbound the ball, evade the UTSA defense and run out the clock. Head Coach Steven Henson talked about his team's gritty performance.
"We did a good job of hanging in there I was proud of that," Henson told InsideRunnerSports following the game. "We fought and fought. We got down big at one point and just hung in there. Late, we turned it into a two possession game a couple of times, trying to extend the game, foul them, stretching it out a bit."
Down by as many as 15 points in the second half, the 'Runners would dig in and use a total team effort for the rally. Over the last three minutes of the game, UTSA would use a 16-9 run to virtually erase the Fresno State deficit. During the second half charge, Nick Allen (Sophomore), Giovanni De Nicolao (Freshman), Jeff Beverly (Junior), and Byron Frohnen (Freshman, all made key plays and crucial shots for the 'Runners.
Allen finished with a career performance, notching personal highs in both points and rebounds, registering 17 and 14 respectively. In the final three minutes where the 'Runners mounted their run, Allen had 9 points and numerous boards.
Freshmen Giovanni De Nicolao and Byron Frohnen also hit clutch shots. De Nicolao, isolated with a big on him, hit an ice cold three pointer from straight away. Frohnen was a monster on the offensive and defensive glass racking up 11 rebounds and finishing with 11 points, also logging a double-double.
Walk-on junior Jeff Beverly was saddled with foul trouble the entire game before fouling out late in the second half, keeping him from getting into rhythm. Despite the fouls, in only 17 minutes he tallied 14 points and 8 rebounds, almost making it three roadrunners with double-doubles.
Three point shooting, missed free throws and turnovers were all key factors in why UTSA fell short. The 'Runners went 5 of 25 from beyond the arc, shot 11 of 23 from the free throw line, and turned it over 20 times. That was too many self inflicted wounds in order to top a team the caliber of Fresno State.
Oddly enough, the 'Runners manhandled a much bigger and athletic Fresno State team on the boards finishing with a lopsided edge of 55 to 30 on the glass. Rebounding and their defensive effort is what allowed the Roadrunners to rally.
UTSA (0-1) gets a travel day on Saturday and will then face another stout opponent in Oregon State of the PAC-12 on Sunday afternoon. The Beavers, like Fresno State, are coming off of an NCAA tournament bid. Tip is set for 4 p.m. (CST).