Brent Benson scored a game-high 25 points and Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute came off the bench to add 18 points and six rebounds as they led Texas State to a 76-66 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the opening round of the Verizon Wireless Tip-Off Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 8-1 lead in the first 4:12 of the game as Benson hit a jumper off a steal by John Rybak for the first points of the game. Rybak added a pair of free throws before he and Ty Gough added a pair of lay-ups.
Playing in his first game for the Bobcats after transferring from Kilgore College, Bidias A’ Moute scored his first two points in the game on a jump shot with 12:55 left to play. He added a lay-up and another jump shot after Ryan White made two free throws to extend Texas State’s lead to 18-9.
The Bobcats never looked back as they opened up a 17-point lead in the final minute of the first half after Benson made a pair of free throws to give Texas State a 40-23 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Texas State extended its lead to 47-27 after Corey Jefferson made a jump shot in the lane and Benson scored five more points on a lay-up and three-point field goal with 17:59 left to play.
However, Cal State Fullerton didn’t go away quietly as the Titans used a 19-4 run to pull to within 49-44 with 12:47 left to play. Gerard Anderson scored 16 points and Josh Akognon added three to lead the Titans. Texas State’s only points during that five-minute stretch was a lay-up by Benson and a pair of free throws by Jefferson.
The Titans couldn’t get any closer as White hit Roshun Jackson made a jumper in the lane and Benson added a lay-up before White nailed a three-point shot to give Texas State a 56-47 lead with 11:27 left to play in the game.
The Bobcats used a 13-8 run to extended their lead to 69-55 with five minutes left to play. They never looked back and went on to win their third straight season-opening game under head coach Doug Davalos.
In addition to Benson’s 25 points and Bidias A’ Moute adding 18, Rybak finished with eight points and White added seven points.
Texas State will play San Francisco in a second-round game on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. (Central) before playing its first home game of the season against Huston Tillotson on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
by Rick Poulter
University News Service