HUNTSVILLE — Junior Kannon Burrage scored 17 points, including the game-tying and winning baskets and UTSA squeaked past Sam Houston State, 62-60, on Sunday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum.
Trailing by seven with less than four minutes to play, Burrage and junior Michael Hale III helped key a 10-1 closing run to seal the Roadrunners’ (9-6, 2-0 SLC) first victory in Huntsville since Feb. 14, 2004.
The Bearkats (6-9, 0-1 SLC) took a 59-52 lead when Darius Gatson made a pair of free throws at the 3:33 mark.
UTSA began its finishing stretch with a turnaround jumper by senior Alex Vouyoukas.
Marcus James then was fouled at the other end and he made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to give Sam Houston State a 60-54 advantage with just under three minutes to play.
Sophomore Jeromie Hill was fouled on the missed free throw and he made both freebies to pull the Roadrunners to within four.
A Hill layup on UTSA’s next possession made it a two-point game with 2:04 remaining.
The two teams then traded turnovers with Sam Houston State losing possession on a charge drawn by Hale III with 1:26 left.
With the shot clock winding down, Burrage drove into the lane and drained a short floater to tie the score at 60 with just under a minute to play.
Hale III then drew his second charge in as many possessions to give the ball back to the Roadrunners with 23.9 ticks left on the clock.
With the shot clock turned off, Burrage worked his magic again, this time driving into the lane for another running jumper to make it 62-60 with 1.9 seconds left.
The Bearkats’ desperation mid-court heave was off the mark and UTSA scored its sixth win away from home this season.
Burrage was 7-for-8 from the floor, including making both of his 3-point attempts, and he added four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Meanwhile, Hale III scored 13 behind a 5-for-9 day from the field, including 3-of-5 from downtown, and he also recorded a half dozen assists, three boards and a theft.
UTSA shot 56.1 percent (23-of-41) for the game and made 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line to help overcome a rare off night at the free-throw line (8-of-16) and 20 turnovers. The Roadrunners also out-rebounded the Bearkats, 34-25, and dished out a season-high 19 assists.
Konner Tucker led Sam Houston State with a game-high 19 points behind five 3-pointers, but no other Bearkat reached double figures. Sam Houston State shot 43.1 percent (22-of-51), but made just 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from beyond the arc and 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) from the charity stripe.
Despite first-half foul trouble for Hill and Vouyoukas, who only played nine and two minutes , respectively, the Roadrunners built an eight-point advantage after 20 minutes of play, largely behind a hot hand from downtown.
Burrage (2-of-2) and Hale III (3-of-3) combined to go 5-for-5 from beyond the arc in first half, as UTSA made 8-of-12 3-pointers (75 percent) and 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from the field overall.
Aaron Harwell’s layup gave the Bearkats a 19-17 lead with 7:32 to play in the first, but the Roadrunners responded with a 17-5 run.
Burrage and Hale III drained treys on back-to-back possessions to put UTSA up by four. Senior Sei Paye and sophomore Iggy Nujic then found their range, as they connected from long distance to make it 31-25 with 3:27 left in the half. Senior Stephen Franklin followed with a trey from the top of the key to help open up a 34-25 lead with just over two minutes to play in the first.
Sam Houston State’s Steven Werner made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line in the final minute to provide the Roadrunners' eight-point advantage.
Sam Houston State trimmed the deficit to two when Tucker drilled his fifth 3-pointer of the game, this time from the left wing to make it 44-42 with 13:19 to play. A Werner layup knotted the score at 44 and a Demarcus Gatlin 3-point play put the Bearkats up, 47-44.
The lead grew to six on a Werner layup that made it 53-47 with less than 10 minutes remaining. UTSA was unable to get closer than four until the decisive game-ending run.
UTSA returns home on Wednesday, Jan. 11, when it hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1-13, 0-2 SLC) at 7 p.m.