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Despite a big effort, the Roadrunners (13-15, 4-11 C-USA) were unable to make a comeback in the last seconds of a close game, losing to the Florida Atlantic Owls (15-13, 5-10 C-USA) 71-69 at the Convocation Center on Saturday, March 1.

During the first half the Roadrunners couldn’t stop the efficacy of the Owl’s long distance shots. They hit the net, easily scoring 11 field goals, with four 3-pointers while missing just two of their 14 free throws.

“We can’t allow those kind of baskets defensively. This is a tough league no matter who you are playing against. We lost our focus and that led us to give up easy baskets,” UTSA Head Coach Luby Lichonczak said.

The Roadrunners fought back to cut into the eight point deficit, with baskets by sophomore Akunna Elonu, Kamra King, Alana Heard and Dwanisha Tate. Mathilde Hergott came off the bench to substitute Ashley Spaletta, who twisted her ankle and couldn’t continue for the rest of the game.

“Hopefully she can heal quickly and get her back against Marshall,” Lichonczak said after the game, commenting on Mathilde’s injury.

UTSA finished the first half trailing 38-34, averaging 50% and 80% in field goals and free throws, respectively.

In the second half, UTSA tied the game 42-42 after a good layup by Kamra King. However, that score didn’t last long. The Roadrunners struggled defensively to stop FAU. Owls Takia Brooks and Kimberly Smith were able to extend the lead to 14 points with eight minutes left on the clock.

In the last five minutes of the game, the Roadrunners pushed for a final comeback. The Roadrunners were down by two points, 71-69, and with a dramatic finale Alana Heard failed to score the 3-pointer that would have given UTSA the victory.

“I am very proud of the effort today, we played hard and quick,” Lichonczak said. “Our character of making big shots, making big plays defensively — that’s what we did in the last two minutes. We were down by 14 points and I think cutting the distance was very good”.

UTSA finished the second half averaging 46.4% in FG and 64.3% in free throws.

UTSA Athletics also honored their two seniors, Miki Turner and McKenzie Adams, who played their last Saturday game as part of the UTSA basketball program.

“I feel happy and sad because I wanted to finish with a victory at home,“ said Turner. “I am blessed to belong to this program.”

The Roadrunners have one game left against Marshall on Wednesday, March 5 at 6 p.m. in Huntington, West Virginia. They will try to obtain one last victory before the C-USA Tournament.

“Marshall is a total different game. We have to fix some things, focus and get back to winning,” Coach Lichonczak said.

With El Paso looming in the future, the Roadrunners feel confident about their chances in the C-USA Tournament.

“Everybody thinks that they can beat us,” Guard Turner confidently said. “But all the teams we played, all the teams we beat and all the teams that beat us, all those games were winnable. I feel that going into the tournament, it’s anybody’s game. Whoever comes to play that day, that teams is going to win that day”.

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