SAN ANTONIO — Devon Agusi scored a game-high 23 points as UTSA snapped a four-game losing streak with a 66-56 win over Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
Agusi went 7-of-10 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, and seven free throws for his highest point total since a season-best 28 points against Cameron on Dec. 31, 2013. Jordan Sims added 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc for the Roadrunners (8-16, 4-7 C-USA), who claimed the inaugural meeting between the schools.
UTSA shot 42.9 percent for the game and held a 47-39 rebounding edge, thanks in part to a game-high 10 boards from Edrico McGregor.
Meanwhile, Pablo Bertone paced the Owls (10-16, 5-6 C-USA) with 16 points, but hit just 7-of-23 attempts from the field. Marquan Botley and Jackson Trapp chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Florida Atlantic was limited to 31.3 percent shooting, which is a season-low for a UTSA opponent, and connected on just 7-of-33 3-point attempts.
UTSA built a 12-point halftime advantage with a 13-0 run over the final 4:35 of the half and allowed a season-low 16 points in the first 20 minutes.
The burst started when Keon Lewis found McGregor for a layup that was followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Agusi and James Williams. UTSA closed the run with a free throw and baskets by George Matthews and Kaj-Björn Sherman.
The UTSA defense forced five missed shots and four turnovers during that time to help the Birds gain a 28-16 cushion at halftime.
The Roadrunners led throughout the second half and answered each Owls threat with a bucket or run of their own.
Florida Atlantic outscored UTSA, 16-7, over the first 7:18 of the second half to cut the Roadrunners’ lead to 35-32. But Hyjii Thomas drove inside for a layup on the Birds’ next possession to ignite a 12-2 run that gave the home squad its largest lead of the afternoon, 47-34, with 7:43 to play.
After Thomas’ basket, Agusi scored seven consecutive points before McGregor capped the spurt with an old-fashioned three-point play.
Florida Atlantic cut the deficit to four on Trapp’s 3-pointer with 1:35 to play, only to see Agusi hit six free throws to help the Roadrunners put the game away.
UTSA’s stellar defensive effort started early after Florida Atlantic got on the board first with a Pablo Bertone bucket. The Owls then went ice cold and missed their next 11 shots over six minutes.
Florida Atlantic was able to battle back and grab a brief lead at thanks to seven offensive rebounds that led to eight of their first 11 points. But the Birds wasted no time getting the advantage back on another triple by Sims, who scored 11 of the team’s first 15 points.
UTSA will be back in action on Thursday, Feb. 20 for a 7 p.m. contest at Southern Miss (21-5, 8-3 C-USA).