champs

Katy, Texas—Get on your dancing shoes, UTSA! The Roadrunners are in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004 after knocking off the one seed McNeese State Cowboys 75-72 in front of a capacity crowd at Katy’s Merrell Center.

The Roadrunners did it behind the play of Jeromie Hill who had 25 points, Devin Gibson who had 15 points and Melvin Johnson who had 14 points. Stephen Franklin also got in the act with 10 points as in the end, seven Roadrunners tickled the twine in some way.

“Very proud to be sitting here a winner,” Head Coach Brooks Thompson said. “It was a hard fought 40 minutes.”

The Roadrunners got down early but as had been the case all week; they never gave in as they quickly took the lead and then withstood a Cowboy run to go in at the break up 30-28.

The Roadrunners never trailed in the second half but things did get interesting toward the end with the Cowboys missing their last chance to win the game when guard C.J. Collins missed a three and then stepped on the out of bounds line to give the Roadrunners the ball and the victory.

“I can’t say enough about our players,” Thompson said. “They are so deserving, the word resilience jumps out at me.”

Gibson earned conference tournament MVP for his performance in the tournament, a triple-double on Wednesday, a double-double on Thursday and another strong outing on Saturday.

For the players, the championship is proof that talking things out can lead to great things.

“We had a lot of player meetings in the second half of the season,” Gibson said. “We talked about what we could do; it really came out on the court.”

In winning the Southland, the Roadrunners became just the third seven seed in the tournament’s history to win the title. The Roadrunners are the first seven seed to knock off the top three seeds en-route to the conference crown.

For Jeromie Hill, the trip to the dance happened quicker than he expected.

“For the past two years, I have been watching the NCAA tournament, I knew I could get there,” Hill said. “To come so quickly I am very thankful, very humble, to send Devin out this way.

The Roadrunners will now await the decision of the selection committee as to where they will go but for a team that a week ago needed a win at UT-Arlington just to get in the Southland tournament, the opponent doesn’t matter, all that matters is the Roadrunners are dancing for the first time since 2004.

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