Ethan Montalvo, senior guard, isn’t necessarily known for his defense. But that didn’t stop the Nebraska native as he collected a school record-tying eight steals.
Montalvo’s historic performance helped the Bobcats finish the game with 29 points off turnovers as they beat UTSA 76-53 on Wednesday night.
Coach Danny Kaspar said it was important for the Bobcats to come out with defensive intensity.
“I’m just getting this feeling that they’re buying in. That this can be the way to get there,” Kaspar said.
The Bobcats improve to 3-1 on the season following the victory over UTSA.
Anthony Roberson, sophomore guard, filled in for the injured Cameron Naylor. Roberson showcased his rebounding ability as he scored the first four Bobcat points on put back layups.
“I was pretty jittery coming into it—nervous. But I was pretty comfortable once I got going. I had my teammates behind me, supporting me,” Roberson said.
Following the consecutive buckets from Roberson, the Bobcats never looked back as they held the lead for the remainder of the game.
For Emani Gant, senior forward, it was his home opener. Gant finished with 16 points and five rebounds.
But the story was the defense.
The Bobcats led the turnover battle 14-1 at the end of the first half. In fact, the Bobcats scored 21 of their 39 first half points off of turnovers.
And it didn’t stop there. UTSA finished the game with 26 turnovers. Montalvo picked up five steals in the second half, pretty much sealing the Roadrunners fate.
“Real pleased with Ethan’s defense tonight. I thought he really got in the passing lanes and disrupted,” Kaspar said.
The pressure defensively from the Bobcats led to clean looks and fast break opportunities offensively.
“I was very pleased with our team’s defense. In particular, the first half,” Kaspar said. “Knowing our team only had one turnover at halftime, I was really pleased with that.”
The Bobcats carried that momentum out of the locker room as they opened on an 8-0 scoring run to start the second half.
Naylor led the Bobcats in scoring in the second half with 10 points and three rebounds.
The double-digit lead for the Bobcats allowed Kaspar to spread the minutes around.
“We had eight people play 12 minutes or more and Kendell got nine minutes so we almost had nine people play double minutes. That’s a good thing,” Kaspar said.
The Bobcats are scheduled to travel to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a Dec. 5 matchup. The Islanders are 5-2 this season with their only losses coming against Texas and Texas A&M.