SEATLLE, Wash. — Michael Hale III made the most of his homecoming by scoring a career-high 35 points and that helped UTSA hold off Seattle, 78-75, on Thursday night at Key Arena. The victory, the Roadrunners' first in more than a month, snapped a seven-game losing streak and was the program's first in Western Athletic Conference play.
UTSA (5-13, 1-7 WAC) never trailed and led by as many as 14 points, but it had to hold off a furious rally by the Redhawks (6-12, 1-7 WAC).
Hale III, who hails from nearby Federal Way High School, was 9-for-18 from the field and 16-of-17 at the free-throw line in topping his previous career best of 31 set last Saturday against Texas State. He was 8-for-8 at the charity stripe in the final four-and-a-half minutes to help the Roadrunners respond after Seattle had tied the score at 65 with 6:03 left to play.
Trailing 58-46, the Redhawks reeled off nine unanswered points to pull to within three (58-55), the closest they had been since the opening minute of the contest.
UTSA stretched the lead back to six after a Jordan Sims 3-pointer at the 8:40 mark, but Seattle cut it to two on a pair of Prince Obasi free throws and then knotted the score on a D’Vonne Pickett Jr. layup with six minutes remaining.
Allen Tate made a pair of free throws to pull the Redhawks to within 69-68 with 3:10 left, but the Roadrunners scored the next five points — all at the free throw line — and took a 74-68 lead with two minutes to play.
Hale made two more free throws with 35 seconds left to give UTSA a 76-69 advantage, but Seattle did not give up.
Jarrell Flora knocked down a 3-pointer with 15 seconds on the clock to make it a four-point contest. Larry Wilkins pushed the lead back to six with a layup, but Flora struck again from downtown with 2.3 ticks showing to make it 78-75.
UTSA was fouled and missed both free throws with 1.4 seconds left, but the home team was unable to get off a final shot before time expired.
Hale’s 35-point outburst is tied for the 14th-best individual scoring performance in program history. Kannon Burrage and Hyjii Thomas joined Hale in double figures with 19 and 12, respectively.
Deshaun Sunderhaus led Seattle with 16 points, while Pickett (14) and Flora (12) also reached double figures.
Burrage rattled off 12 consecutive points over a two-and-a-half-minute span in the opening half to help turn an 11-8 lead into a 23-10 advantage for the visitors. Hale III, who scored six of UTSA’s first seven points, knocked down a 3-pointer that made it 26-12 midway through the half.
The Redhawks trimmed the deficit to 33-29 after Flora drained threes from the left wing on back-to-back possessions, but Hale III answered with a three-point play and a 15-foot jumper to help give the Roadrunners a 38-31 halftime lead.
UTSA will face Idaho (7-11, 3-5 WAC) at 9 p.m. (CT) on Saturday.