UTRGV uses strong second half to defeat UTSA in home opener

UTRGV

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team scored 47 points in the second half to defeat the UTSA Roadrunners 81-64 in its home opener on Saturday at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.

Redshirt junior Sean Rhea led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including going 7-of-9 from the free throw line, as he also finished with six rebounds and two blocks.

The Vaqueros (1-1) had three others in double-figures with junior Uche Dibiamaka scoring a career-high 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting as he added seven rebounds and four assists. Redshirt sophomore Quinton Johnson II scored 13 points with seven rebounds and five assists while senior Javon Levi added 12 points with four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Jordan Ivy-Curry led UTSA (1-1) with 12 points while grabbing three rebounds. Jhivvan Jackson chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds.

Junior LaQuan Butler converted on a layup in the first half to give the Vaqueros the 10-6 lead before UTSA got a jumper from Jackson and a three-pointer from Luka Barisic to grab the 11-10 lead.

After a jumper from Levi, UTSA took the 13-12 lead with 11:50 in the first half. That was the final lead UTSA would have as UTRGV put together an 8-0 run that was capped by a pair of free throws from Rhea to take the 20-13 lead.

Later in the half, Levi knocked down a jumper and added a layup before senior Chris Freeman knocked down a three-pointer giving UTRGV its biggest lead of the first half at 31-18. UTSA then answered with an 11-3 run to close out the half as UTRGV led 34-29.

UTRGV used seven three-pointers in the second half to fend off multiple UTSA runs. After UTSA tied the game with a three-pointer from Erik Czumbel and a layup from Jacob Germany, Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to give UTRGV the lead right back at 37-34.

A layup by Barisic got UTSA within 45-40 but Dibiamaka quickly answered with a three-pointer followed by a jumper from Johnson as UTRGV took the 50-40 lead.

Later in the half, UTSA got a layup from Keaton Wallace to get within 58-53. That would be the closest UTSA would get as the Vaqueros put the game away with a 13-0 run that featured back-to-back three-pointers from Johnson and Rhea.

UTRGV will be back in action on Wednesday, December 2, when it hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7 p.m. at Bert Ogden Arena in the Bert Ogden Arena series, presented by the City of Edinburg, as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union.

Seating will be limited at Bert Ogden Arena and with single game tickets available at www.BertOgdenArena.com.

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