By JJ Perez
Middle Tennessee came into Thursday night’s game vs UTSA as Conference USA’s best team. But for much of the first half, it was the ‘Runners who looked like the better squad as UTSA used stingy defense grab a 25-23 lead at halftime.
But the second half was a different story. The Blue Raiders would use a 17-0 to build a double digit lead they’d never surrender.
“They went 2-3 zone on us and we couldn’t get a bucket,” UTSA Head Coach Steve Henson said of MTSU’s run. “We couldn’t make a shot, we couldn’t get into the paint.”
UTSA held MTSU to just 23 points in the first half on 34 percent shooting from the field. But the Blue Raiders picked up the pace scoring 46 points in the second half on 46% shooting from the field.
“Coach did a great job with defense trying to confuse them. I think it worked,” said UTSA Center Lucas O’Brien said. “They’re a great team. We can’t let up, it’s a 40-minute game.”
UTSA Forward Jeff Beverly had another solid performance pouring in 21 points and grabbing five rebounds. Eighteen of those points would come in the second half as the ‘Runners were climbing back into the game.
“We’ve got to do more, it’s the little things we’ve got to do, like rebounding and talking on defense, just little things” said Beverly.
The loss snaps UTSA’s nine-game winning streak at the Convocation Center. It’s also the fourth loss in a row. But Coach Henson says there are some positives to take way from the game.
“We told our guys this is Conference USA Basketball, we can’t come away from this feeling good,” said Henson. “There were positives. If we play with that approach, we give ourselves a chance every night.”
UTSA is now 9-13 overall and 4-5 in Conference USA play. The Roadrunners next play Saturday vs UAB. Tip off is set for 3pm.
ADDITIONAL POST GAME INTERVIEWS