JJ Perez, InsideRunnerSports

UTSA falls to Middle Tennessee to end the season

UTSA lost to top-seed Middle Tennessee, 86-70, in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA Tournament.

By JJ Perez
For InsideRunnerSports.com

Middle Tennessee used hot shooting and tough defense to down UTSA 86-70 in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament on Thursday. The loss ends the Roadrunners’ season.

UTSA battled the Blue Raiders closely to begin the game. There were six lead changes early in the first half. But as the half went on, MTSU continued their hot shooting to build as much as a 17 point lead they would never look back from.

Three UTSA players scored figures Thursday. Jeff Beverly, Giovanni De Nicolao, and Austin Karrer each had 10 points.

UTSA finishes the season with a 14-19 overall record.

(Courtesy of the Roadrunner Sports Network)
Head Coach Steven Henson on the loss to MTSU
“They’re an awfully good team. I was very impressed with them. We battled at our place in the Convo. I knew they were a good team at the time but they were on a different level today. Our guys fought, competed, did a great job on the boards, attacked, got to the free throw line, but we just couldn’t stop Middle. They scored inside, they scored outside, they were awfully good.”

Henson on UTSA out-rebounding MTSU
That’s an indicator that we’re playing hard. Those rebounds and free throws attempted by us tells me we were aggressive and trying to do the right things. Defensively, we just couldn’t get stops. They didn’t turn it over, they made shots. They were good.”

Henson on UTSA’s 13 turnovers
“In the first half we were going a little fast. Their 1-3-1 bothered us. We went too fast against the 1-3-1. Then when they went man and they were real physical with us. We could set screens. They kind of manhandled us. We couldn’t respond to that.”

Henson on the season overall
We’re most proud with the way our guys went about business every single day. The way they came to practice, the way they came to play games. We were over-matched certain nights, in terms of physicality most nights, quickness, and athleticism, but our guys just came real close to maxing out. That’s the true measure. We all know it’s not because people look at wins and losses. But our guys, gah-lee, they did a lot of good things. They stayed together. We talked about being together, we talked about chemistry, we talked about being tough. If you go around the league I think most people will respect our team in terms of the way we competed. That’s something our guys need to feel proud of. We’re trying to build something and I think we had a great foundation built this year.”

Henson on the play of younger players
“Some guys did a great job getting thrown into the fire. Some of those young guys and returners did a great job. Now everybody got a taste of it. They know what it’s going to take. We need to have a great offseason. I can’t wait to get those guys in the weight room and get them back in the gym to improve our shooting, improve our skill level. Overall, we did a lot of good things. They know it. They’re disappointed right now. Most teams end the season disappointed. Everyone except the champ. They’ll bounce back. They’ll get to work. We except bigger and better next year.”

 - Off the bench, Austin Karrer played one of his best games of the season as he recorded a career-high 10 points.
 - UTSA’s 21 offensive rebounds was the fifth-most in a CUSA tournament.
 - Jeff Beverly reached 800 career-points.
 - This game was UTSA's first quarterfinal appearance in four seasons of play in Conference USA.
 - UTSA’s 14-win season nearly tripled the total from last year. The Roadrunners’ 8-10 conference record matched their best in four seasons of CUSA play. 


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