Strong second half guides UTSA past Southeastern Oklahoma State, 71-43
SAN ANTONIO — Senior Michael Hale III scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to help give UTSA a 71-43 victory against Southeastern Oklahoma State in its lone exhibition contest of the season on Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
The Federal Way, Wash., native recorded eight steals, five of which came after intermission, and the Roadrunners scored 29 points off 32 Savage Storm turnovers.
Junior Jeromie Hill finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting and he also grabbed eight rebounds, as the Birds improved to 6-0 in exhibition games under seventh-year head coach Brooks Thompson.
Meanwhile, Urald King recorded a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to pace Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Tied at 28 at intermission, UTSA used an 11-0 run to start the second half to push the lead to double digits. Hale had six of the first eight points during the run, while the Savage Storm missed their first six shots and committed a half dozen turnovers during the stretch, three coming off steals by Hale.
King ended the run with a jumper to give Southeastern Oklahoma State its first points of the half at the 14:28 mark to make it 39-30.
The Savage Storm kept the deficit under 10 until a pair of free throws by junior Edrico McGregor gave the Roadrunners a 45-34 advantage with 11:16 remaining.
UTSA blew the game open with a 24-6 run over the next 10 minutes and cruised to the 28-point victory.
The Roadrunners overcame a tough night shooting, as they made just 39.1 percent (27-of-69) from the field, including 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and 50 percent (12-of-24) from the free-throw line.
However, they did it by forcing the 32 turnovers, 25 of which came on steals. Hale’s eight thefts would have tied the school record if exhibition statistics counted.
UTSA held Southeastern Oklahoma State to 39.6 percent (21-of-53) shooting and the Savage Storm missed all five free-throw attempts and their first 15 3-pointers before Quinton Threadgill connected from downtown with less than a minute to play.
After a slow start, UTSA used a 9-0 stretch midway through the first half to take a 15-8 lead. That advantage grew to 10 after an acrobatic layup by junior Hyjii Thomas put the Birds up 26-16 at the 4:38 mark.
However, the Savage Storm closed the first half on a 12-2 run, including scoring the final eight points of the half to knot the score at 28.
Southeastern Oklahoma State shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) in the frame despite missing all six of its 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, UTSA made just 33.3 percent (11-of-33) from the floor and 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) at the charity stripe.
The Roadrunners will tip off the regular season next weekend at the three-day Liberty Tax Classic in Norfolk, Va. UTSA will open tournament play against Morgan State at 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9.