UTSA knocks off top-seeded Louisiana Tech on Thursday night, 73-67
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Kannon Burrage recorded the first double-double of his career with 26 points and a career-high 13 rebounds to lead No. 9 seed UTSA past top-seeded Louisiana Tech, 73-67, in Thursday's quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament.
Burrage went 8-of-15 from the floor, including a career-high five 3-pointers, for the Roadrunners (10-21), who became just the second team to pull off the biggest upset by seed in the event’s 30-year history (ninth-seeded Air Force topped No. 1 Colorado State in 1990).
Michael Hale III added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Jeromie Hill pitched in 11 points, eight boards and three assists for UTSA, which advanced to Friday’s second semifinal where it will face fourth-seeded UT Arlington (18-12) at 10:30 p.m. (CT).
The Bulldogs (26-6), who shared the league’s regular season title with Denver (also an upset victim to Texas State on Thursday), got 16 points from Kenneth Smith and 12 from Raheem Appleby, but they struggled to a 32.4-percent night from the floor, including making just eight of 33 shots from downtown. Louisiana Tech scored 19 points off 18 UTSA turnovers, but it was out-rebounded by a 48-35 count in dropping its third consecutive outing.
In a game that featured 15 lead changes and seven ties through the opening 25 minutes, UTSA used an 11-3 run keyed by a pair of Burrage treys to build a 52-44 lead as the teams neared the midway point of the second half.
Burrage later knocked down a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give UTSA a 62-50 lead, its largest of the night, with 4:40 remaining.
Smith answered at the other end with a trey of his own to make it a nine-point game and the Bulldogs then cut it to 62-55 after a pair of Appleby free throws at the 3:34 mark.
However, UTSA went 9-for-11 at the charity stripe down the stretch to keep Louisiana Tech at bay and secure the six-point victory.
The first half featured three ties and 12 lead changes, the last coming on a long 3-pointer by Smith in the final seconds, which handed the Bulldogs a 31-29 halftime advantage.
Louisiana Tech used its pressure defense to force UTSA into seven turnovers through the first 12 minutes of the contest, which led to 10 points and a 21-13 lead.
Hyjii Thomas ended a five-minute and 23-second field-goal drought by UTSA with a trey from the corner and he then converted a layup on a fast break after a turnover to pull the Roadrunners to within three with five minutes left in the frame.
A Jordan Sims layup and a Burrage 3-pointer from the wing pushed the run to 10-0 and gave the Roadrunners a 23-21 edge.