San Antonio – Junior guards Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace have led the UTSA men’s basketball team in scoring since their freshman year. Both players have averaged double figures each of the last three seasons with the combined average growing each year and the guard duo is currently second in scoring in NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball. The pair – who are also roommates – say they motivate one another to play at a high level.
“We actually feed off each other a lot,” said Wallace. “If he sees me get going, then, he knows I’m going to give him that look like, ‘Come on, let’s turn up’ and vice versa. So, you know, we feed off each other’s energy a lot.”
Jackson and Marquette’s Markus Howard have been trading spots as the country’s leading scorer. Howard is the current leader at 27.6 points per game and Jackson is just .3 points back. For Jackson, the total is up from the 22.9 average his sophomore season. He credits his teammates and coaches for his increased efficiency.
“I just think I’m taking better shots,” Jackson said. “I watch a lot of film and just think the shots that I’ve been taking lately have been the best shots I’ve taken since I’ve been here. I think that’s all thanks to my teammates and my coaches obviously, you know, they put me in those great positions and all those plays they run for me.”
Head Coach Steve Henson noted that the duo put up similar numbers a season ago and that both players continue to expand their games. Per Henson, Jackson has become a better practice player and has developed better daily habits while Wallace has been making a concerted effort to get to the rim and the foul line. This season the two are averaging 46 points, which also allows for more opportunities for their teammates.
“When they’ve got the ball in their hands, the defense is locked in. The defense is usually putting extra attention on them, double-teaming them so that it opens up things for other players,” Henson said.
For both players, the most important outcome is a Roadrunners win and that the points are a byproduct of helping the team to achieve that goal.
“We find ways to get our team going and just to get that win that’s really our main goal,” said Jackson. “We don’t really care that much about that scoring and all that. We just really try doing anything we can to win.”
The Roadrunners have a 13-16 overall record and are 7-9 in conference games. UTSA has two Conference USA Bonus Play games remaining, including a road contest at Old Dominion Wednesday.