Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
SAN ANTONIO — Senior Devin Gibson and freshman Jeromie Hill posted double-doubles and UTSA from start to finish in a 65-61 victory against East Dvision-leading McNeese State on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.
The Roadrunners kept pace in the tight race in the Southland Conference's West Division by improving to 6-5 in the league and 13-11 overall. The Cowboys, 15-9 overall, fell into a tie for first with Northwestern State in the East by dropping to 7-4.
Gibson scored 20 points behind a 13-for-16 night at the free-throw line and dished out 10 assists in registering his fifth double-double of the season and the ninth of his illustrious career. The Houston native was two rebounds shy of his second triple-double of the year and he added three steals.
Hill scored a dozen points and pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the campaign Sophomore Melvin Johnson III pitched in with 14 points, five boards and a pair of thefts.
UTSA led by as many as 10 points but had to withstand a late rally by the Cowboys.
A slam dunk by Hill gave the Roadrunners a 35-25 lead two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, but a pair of quick 3-pointers by Diego Kapelan, who led McNeese State with 17 points, cut the deficit to four. A layup by P.J. Alawoya at the 13:05 mark made it a three-point contest (39-36) before Johnson III answered with a trey.
McNeese made another run and cut the deficit to two when a Dontae Cannon jumper made it 44-42 with 9:13 remaining.
UTSA responded with a 10-2 run to stretch the lead back out to double digits with less than four minutes to play.
The Cowboys mounted one final rally in the final minute.
Patrick Richard was good from six feet to pull McNeese to within three at 57-54 with one minute on the clock. Junior Sei Paye got loose behind the full-court press for a layup at the other end, but Alawoya converted down low on the ensuing possession to make it 59-56 with 38 ticks left.
C.J. Collins answered a Gibson free throw and a Johnson III layup with a three that made it 62-59 with 18 seconds remaining. Gibson was fouled intentionally and made one of two at the line to put the Roadrunners up by four. Kapelan knocked down a short-range jumper with less than three seconds to go, but Gibson was fouled and made both to ice the win.
UTSA shot just 34.9 percent from the floor, including making just 3-of-23 from downtown, but it turned the ball over only eight times. The Gibson and Hill double-doubles also marked the first time two Roadrunners recorded a double-double in the same game since Jan. 17, 2009, when Travis Gabbidon posted 23 points and 10 rebounds and Richie Frohlich had 14 points and 10 boards against UT Arlington.
McNeese State was ice cold from the field in the first half, shooting just 24.1 percent. The Cowboys finished the night at 31 percent, but they out-rebounded the Roadrunners, 48-42. Richard and Collins joined Kapelan in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively, while Alawoya matched Hill with a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Roadrunners travel to Thibodaux, La., to face Nicholls (11-11, 5-6 SLC) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.