NORFOLK, Va. — Junior Jeromie Hill scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half and UTSA opened the frame on a 13-1 run before holding off Holy Cross, 60-56, on Saturday at the Liberty Tax Classic.
Hill added 10 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end, for the seventh double-double of his career to help the Roadrunners even their record at 1-1 on the season. Senior Michael Hale III also contributed 17 points and added four steals and three assists.
Justin Burrell led the Crusaders (1-1) with 17 points and Jordan Stevens went 4-of-10 from the 3-point line en route to 14.
Hale III put UTSA on the board first with a steal and layup, but Holy Cross scored the next seven points, including a pair of fast-break baskets, to gain the early advantage.
A 3-pointer from junior Jordan Sims ignited a 10-0 run and the Roadrunners took a 12-7 lead, their largest of the half, with 13:52 to play. Hale III hit another layup and a pair of free throws, while senior Kannon Burrage knocked down a jumper and freebie to cap the run.
The Crusaders responded with a 16-3 spurt of their own that was punctuated by a Stevens 3-pointer, which gave them a 23-15 advantage with 10 minutes to go in the half.
The lead went on to balloon to 11 (32-21) on a pair of Burrell free throws, but the UTSA defense turned up the defensive pressure and Holy Cross went cold from the field.
The Roadrunners held the Crusaders to just one field goal over the final 5:51 of the stanza and they scored nine of the last 11 points to pull within four, 34-30, at intermission.
The defensive pressure continued into the second half and helped fuel UTSA’s 13-1 run to open the period.
Jumpers by Hill and Burrage started the run and Sims added another trey. Hale III gave the Roadrunners a 43-35 lead with 14:07 to play and they did not trail the rest of the evening.
Dave Dudzinski’s layup at the 12:23 mark ended a nine-and-a-half minute drought from the field that spanned both halves. All told, Holy Cross connected on just one of its first 10 attempts in the second half and committed five turnovers.
UTSA grabbed a double-digit lead twice with the last coming on a pair of Hale III free throws that made it 52-42 with 9:02 remaining.
The Crusaders began to chip away at the deficit and scored 11 of the next 15 points to trim the lead to three, 56-53, on a Burrell 3-pointer with 3:40 on the clock.
That ended up being Holy Cross’ last field goal of the contest, as it managed just three free throws the rest of the way.
Senior Larry Wilkins and Burrage each hit a free throw in the final 23 seconds and Burrell was unable to connect on a layup and 3-pointer in that span.
After going 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) from the 3-point line in the first half, Holy Cross managed to connect on just two of its final 12 attempts and shot 20.8 percent overall in the second half.
UTSA will conclude tournament play with a 1 p.m. (CT) tilt against host Old Dominion (1-1). The game will be televised in the San Antonio area on KCWX-2.