UTSA vs SEOSU Exhibition Impressions
Brooks Thompson and his leaping Roadrunners returned to action tonight in an exhibition game against Division II Southeastern Oklahoma State. After losing Edrico McGregor, Jordan Sims, Devon Agusi and Hyjii Thomas, the Roadrunners were definitely anxious to see how the squad would replace four key contributors. Behind a starting five of Keon Lewis, Larry Lewis, Ryan Bowie, Jeromie Hill, and Kaj Sherman, UTSA would use an explosive second half to bury SEOSU 101-80. It was the first time the Roadrunners broke the century mark since a beat down of Jarvis Christian on January 25, 2012. While the Roadrunners had their way with the Savage Storm, the Oklahoma program is no slouch as they gave Texas Tech a scare earlier this week.
UTSA shot 53% from the field and an impressive 45% on 31 attempts from deep. Lead by seven rebounds for Sherman and eight from Bowie, UTSA would out-rebound SEOSU 36 to 27. While the zone defense allowed some easy shots for the Savage Storm, UTSA’s guard-heavy rotation forced nine turnovers on steals. Given that UTSA will be athletically outmatched in many of their games this season, a chaotic, fast-paced defensive attack could keep them within striking distance of better teams if the defense can force errors that lead to easy baskets. Here are a few of my thoughts on individual players following the exhibition:
I want to see more of Larry Lewis and Christian Wilson but Ryan Bowie might be UTSA’s best all-around player. The 6’1” guard from Iowa Western Community College is tough as nails on defense with active hands and quick feet. Bowie showed an ability to knock down the open three and seems to have a high basketball IQ. The Roadrunners haven’t had a player like that since Stephen Franklin graduated so I’m glad to see what Bowie can bring to the table throughout the duration of his career.
James Ringholt played a lot more minutes tonight than I anticipated. The 6’10” Australian freshman still has a lot of developing to do but he never looked overwhelmed, albeit while matched up against Division II opposition. Ringholt isn’t as thin as O’Brien but he’ll still have a tough time matching up against the larger centers and power forwards in C-USA.
Jeromie Hill is back and the forward clearly returned with a vengeance. Had the exhibition game counted for official stats it would have been Hill’s best shooting game ever as he totaled 29 points on the back of six field goals from beyond the arch. Jeromie was also efficient, going 11 of 18 from the floor and six of ten from three. He’ll need to polish his free throw shooting (1-5) but it was a great offensive performance for the former Southland Conference Freshman of the Year. There’s still some rust to be knocked off but I’m encouraged by what I saw from Hill.
True freshman Austin Karrer played 22 minutes for the Roadrunners and looked solid despite a pedestrian showing in the stat book. I’ve heard a ton of praise for Karrer so it’s good to see him living up to the hype as a freshman. UTSA is going to play guard heavy this year so it should leave opportunities for Karrer even after Christian Wilson returns from his suspension.
There’s no player that gives UTSA fans heart palpitations quite like Keon Lewis. When he’s on his game he’s absolutely brilliant to watch as he throws his strong frame into defenders to draw tough fouls. When he’s off, he’s not much more than an offense-stalling chronic over-dribbler. Tonight he was very, very on. Lewis had a lot of mental issues to work on this off season; hopefully this game is a sign that he’s in a better place as a teammate. Lewis started the game at the point and totaled 31 points on 79% shooting.
Storify Twitter recap:
A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter