Texas-San Antonio (4-9) at Denver (6-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 6, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Magness Arena (7,200) -- Denver, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: UTSA 1-2, Denver 5-2. Away Record: UTSA 2-6, Denver 1-5. Neutral Record: UTSA 1-1, Denver 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 0-3, Denver 2-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: The Denver Pioneers take aim at their third straight win when the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners come to Magness Arena for a Western Athletic Conference matchup on Sunday.
After an 82-62 rout on the road against New Mexico State, UTSA has now lost three straight games and eight of its last nine overall. On the campaign the Roadrunners are just 4-9 including a dismal 2-6 mark on the road. UTSA will have a three-game homestand open up next beginning against Texas-Arlington.
Denver dispatched Texas State, 64-53, on Thursday to kick off this current two-game homestand. The win was the second straight for the Pioneers who are hovering around .500 this season with an overall record of 6-7. In league play the Pioneers are 2-1 and at Magness Arena they have five wins in seven tries. Up next the Pioneers are on the road for two games against Idaho and Seattle.
This is UTSA's first season as a member of the WAC and also the first season the Roadrunners will face off against Denver.
It was poor shooting and even worse defense in the second half that drove UTSA to the loss against New Mexico State. The Roadrunners allowed the Aggies to hit 77.3 percent of their shots in the second frame, while connecting on just eight field goals themselves.
Despite having three players averaging in double figures this season the Roadrunners are still near the bottom of the WAC offensively. They score 65.2 points per game (8th), while connecting on just 41.7 percent of their attempts from the floor. Rebounding and defense have also proved to be areas that need improvement with the team allowing teams to make 49 percent of their shots from the floor, while pulling in the ninth fewest rebounds (30.0 pg) in the conference. Kannon Burrage (17.3 ppg) leads the team in scoring but could stand to improve his efficiency as he connects on just 36.3 percent of his shots. Michael Hale (14.7 ppg) and Jeromie Hill (13.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are other viable scoring options.
Denver shot better than 50 percent in each half and nailed 9-of-18 shots from beyond the arc in its win over Texas State. The Pioneers also had a 28-18 advantage on points in the paint en route to a wire-to-wire victory.
It is on the defensive side of the ball that Denver has found most of its success. The Pioneers rank 20th in the country in points allowed (57.0 pg), while limiting opponents to 43.6 percent shooting and the 16th fewest assists (9.5 pg) nationally. Those types of defensive efforts have allowed the Pioneers to overcome their league-worst rebounding numbers (26.2 pg) and less than prolific offensive attack which nets just 62 points per game. Royce O'Neale (13.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg) can play anywhere on the floor and leads the team in a number of offensive categories. Chris Udofia (12.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is another double-figure scorer.
Moving into conference play has seemed to get Denver going and that should continue against UTSA which is still trying to get its bearings in its new conference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Denver 69, Texas-San Antonio 60
01/06 10:33:11 ET