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Texas State men lose two cage tilts in Rockies

STAFF REPORT

The Texas State men’s basketball team will return home Wednesday against Southwest Assemblies of God (7 p.m.) after making a trip to the Rocky Mountains for two games last week, and losing both.

The Bobcats fell, 97-96, at Wyoming on Nov. 23 before losing at Northern Colorado, 105-93, on Nov. 26. The Bobcats now are 2-3 this season.

Texas State was in the game at Wyoming until the bitter end. Brent Benson hit a three-pointer for the Bobcats, bringing them within 97-96 with four seconds left, and was fouled on the shot. However, Benson missed the free throw and Wyoming ran out the clock, improving to 4-0 this season.

The Bobcats maintained leads of ten-points during the opening minutes of the second half, the last coming at 63-53 on a lay-up by Brandon Bush with 15:52 left in the game. However, Wyoming closed that gap and took a 68-67 lead with 12:24 remaining when Sean Orrigi stole the ball and set up a lay-in by Brandon Ewing.

Wyoming took the lead for good when Orrigi made two free throws for a 76-74 advantage with 9:11 remaining. The free throws told the story of this game, for Wyoming won this game at the free throw line.

The Cowboys took an astounding 56 free throws, making 44, as Texas State committed 36 fouls. Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute, an efficient producer in the first three Texas State games, fouled out in only six minutes off the bench. Forward Cameron Johnson fouled out in 18 minutes off the bench. Starting center Ty Gough fouled out in 12 minutes.

Texas State, meanwhile, tried only 19 free throws, making 10. Brent Benson scored a career-high 32 points for the Bobcats, while Bush hit his high for the season with 22 points.

Three days later, the Bobcats suffered in Greeley, CO, where they never led against Northern Colorado. Texas State worked to a 24-24 tie with 9:25 left in the first half, but Northern Colorado tore off a 23-6 run for a 47-30 halftime lead.

The highlight for Northern Colorado was a 15-0 spurt in the back of the first half, during which the Bobcats made four turnovers and missed every shot they took, which consisted in two free throws and a jumper.

During the second half, Texas State couldn’t cut the deficit to less than 14 until 4:07 remained in the game, when Benson hit a three-pointer to make it 87-76. With Benson’s free throw as 3:18 remained, the Bobcats crept to within 89-83. But then Texas State committed four fouls in the next 1:14 and Northern Colorado made all eight free throws, building its cushion back up to 97-83 with 2:04 remaining.

Again, Texas State received little production from its two largest players. Gough didn’t foul, but he played only ten minutes to produce two points and two rebounds. Bidias A’ Moute committed three fouls in 13 minutes, scoring four points with one rebound.

Benson scored 19 points to lead the Bobcats, while Bush added 15. Texas State coach Doug Davalos spread the playing time across his roster, giving 11 different players at least ten minutes. Bush (24 minutes) and Benson (22) were the only Texas State players with 20 minutes or more.