After losing two straight on the road against teams that didn’t make the Southland Conference Tournament last year, the Texas State men’s basketball team is working from behind early in the league season.
The Bobcats fell again Saturday afternoon, 77-72 at Central Arkansas. The loss dropped Texas State to 1-2 in the league and 8-8 overall. Central Arkansas improved to 1-2 and 8-9.
The Saturday afternoon loss featured some of the earmarks of Texas State’s 89-64 loss at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last Wednesday night. The Bears broke out in the first half Saturday and three times ran leads up to 11 points. Central Arkansas then extended that lead to 44-31 early in the second half and the Bobcats, who had shown few signs of life in their last three halves, appeared to be sunk.
But Texas State head coach Doug Davalos found a productive combination when he inserted inserted freshmen John Bowman and Roshun Jackson, along with Emanuel Bidias A Moute and Cameron Johnson, to join point guard Corey Jefferson on the floor. The Bobcats scored 11 straight points, climbing to within 44-42. When Jefferson and John Rybak each nailed three-point field goals, the Bobcats moved into a 48-46 lead.
The two teams commenced to going back and forth, with Rybak hitting back-to-back field goals that brought the Bobcats within 67-66 with 2:19 remaining. Then, the game began to ravel away from Texas State.
After Johnson stole the ball from Mitch Rueter on UCA’s next possession, Jefferson’s three-point shot went half-way down before rolling off the rim to UCA’s Dewan Clayborn, who hit Brooks Taylor for a lay-up with 1:22 left in the game. Compounding matters, Texas State’s Ty Gough ran into Taylor while trying to get back and Taylor made the free throw to give UCA a 70-66 lead.
After UCA’s Brian Marks intercepted Jefferson’s pass intended for Bidias A’ Moute, the Bobcats were forced to foul for the remaining 59 seconds. UCA made seven of its 10 free throws down the stretch.
As is so often the case, the free throw line made a big difference in this game. UCA didn’t shoot free throws extraordinarily well, but did shoot a lot of them, making 25 of 36 (69.4 percent). Texas State made nine of 13 free throws.
Texas State outscored UCA in points in the paint (32-26), points off turnovers (25-14), second chance points (13-5), fast break points (12-9) and points off the bench (28-11). But none of that was to overcome UCA’s advantage in free throws.
Rueter led all scorers with 20 points, followed by 19 for Taylor and 15 more for Marcus Pillow. Rybak led the Bobcats with 16 points, followed by 12 each for Jefferson and Brent Benson. Brandon Bush scored 11 points with seven rebounds.
The Bobcats return home for two straight home games this week. They’ll play Sam Houston State Wednesday night, then against Lamar next Saturday. Wednesday tips off at 7 p.m. and Saturday tips at 4 p.m.Email | Print