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UTSA holds off Lamar, 79-73

Buster nets 22 in loss at San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO — Senior Davion Buster scored 22 points to lead Lamar University Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough as the Cardinals fall in a closely contested battle, 79-73, at UTSA. Buster scored 15 of his team-high 22 points in the second half of action.

The Cardinals (1-5) shot 26-of-62 (.419) from the field, including six three-pointers. Big Red dominated the glass outrebounding their hosts, 40-31, including 17 offensive boards (which led to 16 second chance points).

LU turned the ball over 13 times, but only three of those came in the final 20 minutes, and the Cardinals limited UTSA’s ability to score off the mistakes. The Roadrunners could manage just 10 points from the extra possessions.

The Roadrunners were 25-of-53 (.472) from the field, but only six of those makes were three-pointers (6-of-20). UTSA managed to get to the free throw line 28 times in the contest and took advantage of the opportunities converting 23-of-28. LU was 15-of-24 (.625) from the stripe.

The Cardinals opened the game shooting 50 percent from the field, but UTSA was just a touch better converting four of their first five attempts to build an early advantage. The Cardinals trailed by only two points, 15-13, heading into the under 12 media with sophomore Valentin Catt heading to the stripe looking to convert an and-one, but the attempt rolled off the rim. Following the miss, the Roadrunners went on a 10-2 run to build a 10-point advantage.

Despite the run, the Cardinals had a 13-8 lead on the glass through the first 10 minutes of action. LU only added to that lead heading into the intermission leading 23-14 on the boards. Eleven of LU’s rebounds came on the offensive end of the floor leading to a 10-2 lead in second chance points.

The Cardinals struggled to hold on to the ball early in the game with seven of the game’s first eight turnovers, but the LU managed to limit the damage from those miscues. The Roadrunners scored just two points from Big Red’s first seven turnovers.

After falling behind but 10, the Cardinals began to fight back. After consecutive player control fouls called against UTSA (both drawn by senior C.J. Roberts), the Cardinals were able to trim the deficit down to three following a Jordyn Adams three-ball. LU managed to get the deficit down to one twice in the half before UTSA extended the lead going into the locker room.

LU finished the half shooting 11-of-30 (.367) from the field, with two three-pointers. The Roadrunners were 12-of-27 (.444) in the opening 20 minutes with three triples but converted 8-of-10 free throw attempts.

It was a similar story in the second half as LU knocked down 6 of their first 14 attempts, but UTSA was just a touch better opening 6-for-11. Senior Ellis Jefferson got a steal which led to an Avontez Ledet three to trim deficit down to five. It was the first of three consecutive UTSA turnovers. The Cardinals trimmed the deficit down to three before a Dhieu Deing triple pushed the lead back to six. The lead eventually grew to 10 when the Cardinals turned to Buster. The Austin native buried consecutive jumpers (including a three-pointer) to pull the Red and White back within five. The deficit was cut to just two after another stop which led to another Buster three-ball.

The Roadrunners had another answer rattling off an 8-1 run to build back a nine-point lead, 67-58, with less than five to play. LU responded in kind trimming the lead down to three with less than a minute to play, before Deing pushed it back to five on a baseline jumper as the shot clock wound down. Without hesitation, Roberts got the ball back and quickly got it to basket for a layup but he was forced to foul on the inbound pass – fouling out with 17 points and four assists. The Cardinals could get no closer as UTSA held on for the close victory.

The Cardinals will be back in action Saturday when the travel to Lubbock, Texas Saturday to face Texas Tech. The game against the Red Raiders will tip off at 3 p.m. from United SuperMarkets Arena.