Dayton, OH (Sports Network) – Melvin Johnson III scored 25 of his 29 points in the first half and Texas-San Antonio held on for a 70-61 victory over Alabama State on Wednesday for its first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament.
The Roadrunners, after leading by 27 points at halftime, staved off an Alabama State rally and moved on to face Jared Sullinger and No. 1 overall seed Ohio State in the East Region on Friday.
They did it behind the tournament’s first star performance — even if it only lasted a half.
Johnson took over the first 20 minutes for Texas-San Antonio (20-13), hitting eight of his 13 shots and all eight free throws to lead the Southland Conference tournament champions to their big lead.
Refusing to quit, Alabama State (17-18) pulled within nine points down the stretch to inject some drama into the opening-round game. But it was too little, too late.