UTSA knocks off top-seeded Louisiana Tech, 73-67March 15, 2013
LAS VEGAS — Kannon Burrage recorded his first double-double with 26 points and a career-high 13 rebounds to lead No. 9 seed UTSA past top-seeded Louisiana Tech, 73-67, on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
Burrage went 8-of-15 from the floor, including a career-high five 3-pointers, for the Roadrunners (10-21), who became just the second team to pull off the biggest upset by seed in the tournament’s history (No. 9 Air Force toppled No. 1 Colorado State in 1990).
Michael Hale III added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Jeromie Hill pitched in 11 points, eight boards and three assists for UTSA, which advances to Friday’s semifinal round. The Birds will face either No. 4 UT Arlington or No. 5 Utah State at 10:30 p.m. (CT).
LA Tech (26-6), the league’s regular season co-champion, got 16 points from Kenneth Smith and 12 from Raheem Appleby, but struggled to a 32.4-percent night from the floor, including making eight of 33 from downtown. The Bulldogs, who have lost three straight contests, scored 19 points off 18 UTSA turnovers, but were out-rebounded by a 48-35 count.
In a game that featured seven ties and 15 lead changes through the first 25 minutes, UTSA used an 11-3 run keyed by a pair of Burrage treys to build a 52-44 lead as the teams neared the midway point of the second half.
Burrage later knocked down a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give UTSA a 62-50 lead, its largest of the night, with 4:40 remaining.
Smith answered at the other end with a trey of his own to make it a nine-point game. The Bulldogs cut it to 62-55 after a pair of Appleby free throws at the 3:34 mark, but UTSA went 9-for-11 at the charity stripe down the stretch to keep LA Tech at bay and secure the six-point victory.
The first half featured three ties and 12 lead changes, the last thanks to a long 3-pointer by Kenneth Smith in the final seconds that handed LA Tech a 31-29 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs used their pressure defense to force UTSA into seven turnovers through the first 12 minutes of the contest, which led to 10 points and a 21-13 advantage.
Hyjii Thomas ended a five-minute and 23-second UTSA field goal drought with a trey from the corner and then converted a layup on a fast break after a LA Tech turnover to pull the Roadrunners within three with just under five minutes left in the frame.
A Jordan Sims layup and a Burrage 3-pointer from the wing pushed the run to 10-0 and gave the Roadrunners a 23-21 lead.