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By CHRIS DOELLE
Sports Editor

SAN MARCOS – If ever there were a must-win game for the Texas State Bobcats, Wednesday’s matchup against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks qualified. What few fans didn’t attend the Barack Obama rally just outside Strahan Coliseum saw the Lumberjacks all but end the Bobcats hopes for postseason play by defeating Texas State 74-70.

Coming into the game, the Bobcats were ranked 10th in the conference, but only 1/2 game out of the 8th and final spot for the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament. By the end of the game, it appeared that an appearance in the tournament was almost impossible now. The first half opened with a flash as the Bobcats scored 5 on their first two possessions and seemed to ready to pull off the upset. Despite a rally by SFA to pull to within two at the 15:40 mark, Texas State stretched it back to five (12-7) with fourteen minutes to go in the half. With 12:36 remaining in the first Brent Benson dropped his second three-pointer of the night, opening the lead to 7 (17-10.) Ryan White‘s layup less than a minute later stretched the lead to 19-10. An 8-0 run by the Lumberjacks saw the lead drop to one point by the 9:20 mark. The two teams settled into a rhythm that saw the Texas State fluctuate very little until Brent Holder canned a NBA-length three-pointer followed by a Dylan Moseley three and a fast-break slam-dunk by Brandon Thomas, leaving the ‘Cats up 36-28 with just over four minutes remaining in the first. Within 60 seconds of play, the Lumberjacks once again closed the gap to 3 (36-33.) With just 42 seconds remaining in the half, Stephen F. Austin got their first tie and lead (39-38) on a pair of free throws and the buzzer sounded to end the half on that same score.

Brent Benson’s 3 of 4 shooting from beyond the arc left him as the leading scorer of the first half with 15. Josh Alexander led the way for the Lumberjacks with 14. Both teams shot the three-pointer well in the first with SFA scoring 45.5% of the time and TXST hitting 46.4%.

The second half saw 1:08 tick off the clock before Eric Bell hit two free throws to start the scoring for Stephen F. Austin and a few minutes later, Gerald Fonzie’s three gave SFA a 48-40 lead. With 12:12 remaining, Eric Bell hit a layup that gave the ‘Jacks their biggest lead of the night thus far, 56-44. Neither team seemed to want to do anything other than leave things how they were and the next 8 minutes ran off without much of a swing in either direction until the ‘Cats cut the lead to eight with just 4:09 remaining (69-61.) With SFA in the stall offense, Brandon Bush and Ryan White hit back to back shots and cut the lead to 4 with 3:08 remaining. Dylan Moseley’s three at the 2:45 mark cut the lead the three (71-68.) Eric Bell hit one of two after a foul and then a Brandon Bush put-back cut it to 2 (72-70.) With 30 seconds remaining in the game, Brandon Bush grabbed a rebound off a Matt Kingsley miss and the ‘Cats called a timeout with 29.1 on the clock. Brent Benson jacked up a three with just over ten seconds remaining that bounced out and the scramble for the loose ball was called a jump ball with the possession arrow pointing to SFA. Moseley fouled Kingsley with 7.1 seconds remaining putting the 6’9″ Jr. on the free throw line. Kingsley responded by hitting both freebies and ending the Bobcats’ hopes.

BOX SCORE

1st 2nd Final
Stephen F. Austin 39 35
74
Texas State 38 32
70

STAT LEADERS

SFA
Scoring: Josh Alexander (16), Matt Kingsley (13), Eddie Williams (10)
Rebounding: Matt Kingsley (10), Eddie Williams (8)
Assist: Eric Bell, Eddie Williams (4)
Blocks: Benson Akpan (3), Matt Kingsley, Josh Alexander (1)
Steals: Eric Bell, Fonzie Gerald (1)

TEXAS STATE
Scoring: Brandon Bush (17), Brent Benson (17), Ryan White (8), Dylan Moseley (8)
Rebounding: Brandon Bush (13), Brandon Thomas (7), Cameron Johnson(6)
Assist: Ryan White (5), Brandon Bush, Brandon Thomas (2)
Blocks: Brandon Thomas, Brent Benson (1)
Steals: Ryan White (2), Brandon Thomas (1)

Photo of Head Coach Doug Davalos from Newstreamz Staff Photos

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