SAN ANTONIO — Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace scored 24 points apiece and UTSA used a big second-half run to down Florida Atlantic 86-74 for its 10th straight home win on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
The Roadrunners improved to 15-10 overall and 8-3 in Conference USA action to keep pace at the top of the league standings with their 12th victory in the last 15 games.
Jackson made 8 of 16 from the floor, including 6 of 12 from behind the three-point line, in topping 20 points for the 17th time this season and 31st in 51 career contests. The sophomore from Puerto Rico also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out three assists.
Meanwhile, Wallace registered his 13th 20-point outing of the season on the strength of five 3-pointers and the sophomore from Dallas now sits alone atop the program’s single-season 3-pointers list with 101. He also posted eight rebound, three assists and a pair of steals.
Giovanni De Nicolao dished out a career-high 10 assists to go along with 10 points and five boards, as UTSA recorded 17 dimes on 29 field goals and turned the ball over only eight times.
With the game knotted at 53-all early in the second half, the Roadrunners used a 16-0 run to break the game open and extend the program’s longest home winning streak in 27 years.
Trailing by seven at the break and by a 53-44 count early in the second stanza, the Owls (14-11, 5-7) scored nine unanswered points, the last two on a Zavian Stapleton jumper that tied the game at the 15:20 mark.
The Roadrunners responded with the 16-0 stretch over the next five and a half minutes, which was highlighted by five points from De Nicolao and a Jackson fast-break trey from the left wing.
After a Karlis Silins free throw stopped the FAU scoring drought, Atem Bior was fouled on a layup and the junior converted the plus-one free throw to give the home team a 72-54 advantage with 8:07 left.
The Owls trimmed the deficit to 13 with a 5-0 spurt, but Wallace heated up with a pair of long-distance connections and a runner in the lane to help extend the UTSA lead to 82-62 with a little more than four minutes on the clock.
FAU made it a 12-point game on a corner 3-pointer by Cedric Jackson in the final minute, but that was as close as the Owls could get.
Kevaughn Ellis led five Owls in double figures with 14 points, while Anthony Adger posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Michael Forrest (13), Aleksandar Zecevic (11) and Simeon Lepichev (10) also reach double digits in scoring for FAU.
Jackson (16) and Wallace (14) combined for 30 first-half points to help the Roadrunners grab a 46-39 advantage through the first 20 minutes.
The duo teamed up to help UTSA get out to a 14-7 lead through the first five minutes. Wallace knocked down his record-setting three to start the scoring and he added three free throws, while Jackson connected twice from downtown and sank a floater in the lane at the 15:14 mark to cap an 8-0 run.
The Owls used as 6-0 spurt that was keyed by an Adger corner three and a layup by Lepichev to claim a 27-26 lead, but Jackson and Allen answered with back-to-back 3-pointers for a five-point advantage with 6:40 left in the half.
FAU again closed the gap, knotting the score at 37-all on a pair of Lepichev free throws. However, UTSA closed the half with a 9-2 stretch that included another Wallace three and a layup from Jackson off a De Nicolao pass on a backdoor cut.
The Roadrunners will hit the road to face Southern Miss on Thursday, Feb. 14. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Hattiesburg, Miss., and the game will air on ESPN+ and Ticket 760 AM.