South Texas
Will Johnston is all smiles after UTRGV beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday night. Courtesy UTRGV Athletics.

UTRGV Men and Women Sweep South Texas Rival in Edinburg

The South Texas Showdown has become must-see television over the past few years. When UTRGV and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi meet on the hardwood, it is instant entertainment. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, fans at UTRGV Fieldhouse saw just how entertaining the South Texas Showdown can be.

On Tuesday, in what is known as ‘School Day’, Lane Lord’s Vaqueros needed overtime to get a win in the South Texas Showdown. 2,786 fans watched as the UTRGV women and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women went back and forth and needed an extra five minutes to determine a winner.

Iyana Dorsey had a career-high 30 points. Mele Kailahi had 15 points and four rebounds. And sophomore Deborah Ogayemi had a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.

UTRGV got out to a 13-2 lead aided by three consecutive 3-pointer from Jena’ Williams. And a pair of long 3-pointers by Dorsey pushed the lead to 16 points later in the second quarter. A&M-CC cut the deficit to 12 with a 4-0 run to end the second quarter.

And in a wild third quarter, the Islanders outscored the Vaqueros 13-7 to cut the deficit to six heading into the fourth quarter.

The Islanders eventually tied the game and then took their first lead with 6:15 to play. A&M-CC actually led 55-50 with 3:08 to play. But, Halie Jones hit a pair of free throws and Mele Kailahi hit a 3-pointer just as the shot clock expired to tie the ball game. After a pair of Iyana Dorsey free throws gave the Vaqueros a 57-55 lead, the Islanders got a bucket with 14 seconds remaining to give the crowd some free basketball.

And in the overtime period, Iyana Dorsey came up big for the Vaqueros. Dorsey hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and knocked down four free throws to give UTRGV a 66-65 lead with 1:01 to play. Following a stop, Dorsey knocked down two more free throws to push the lead to three. UTRGV came up with a defensive stop to seal the overtime win.

Johnston & Johnson For the Win

Will Johnston and Justin Johnson have been really good for UTRGV thus far in 2022-23. The South Georgia Tech transfer has been a really good compliment to the First-Team All-WAC selection. And on Wednesday night, in the South Texas Showdown at UTRGV Fieldhouse, this guard duo showed how that works.

Johnston had a career-high 29 points and Johnson had 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists as UTRGV knocked off South Texas rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 89-82.

Justin Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the game. And after an Islander 8-0 run, Johnston hit a three to cut the deficit to two. Another 6-1 run from A&MCC pushed the lead to seven. But, Will Johnston scored the final four points of the first half to cut the deficit to three at the break.

And every time A&MCC went on a run or looked to extend the lead, it was either Will Johnston or Justin Johnson who got a needed bucket. Just when it looked like A&MCC was going to pull away early in the second half, Johnson and Johnston led a 7-0 Vaquero run to take a 49-48 lead.

And with UTRGV trailing 61-57 with 11:30 to play, it was GCU transfer Dima Zdor who started a 16-4 run for the Vaqueros. Zdor’s dunk and Will Johnston’s free throws tied the game at 61.

Following an Isaac Mushila layup that gave A&MCC a 63-61 lead, Justin Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Vaqueros the lead.

And on the next UTRGV possession, Johnson hit a layup to make it a 3-point lead with 8:46 to play. UTRGV never relinquished the lead en route to the 89-82 win on Wednesday night.

The Vaqueros improve to 5-3 overall and head to Macomb on Saturday to face Western Illinois. UTRGV already has a win over the Leathernecks on Nov. 21 at Bert Ogden Arena.

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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