The prospects for a trip to the Southland Conference Tournament already are looking dim for the Texas State men’s basketball team, which lost for the fourth time in a row Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats fell, 71-65, to Lamar at Strahan Coliseum Saturday. Lamar built a 14-point lead at 38-24 late in the first half and the Bobcats never cut it to fewer than five points in the second half.
The Bobcats now are 1-4 in the league and 8-10 overall. As the standings read now, Texas State would not be in the league tournament, which includes only the top eight out of the conference’s 12 teams.
On the bright side for the Bobcats, they’ve got 11 league games left and they’re only one game out of playoff position, as Lamar, Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana are all tied for seventh place at 2-3. However, the Bobcats really are further behind than that because their losses to Lamar and Central Arkansas would work against them in tiebreakers.
Texas State made a late push when Lamar held a 67-59 lead with 1:02 left. Two free throws by Brent Benson and a jumper by John Rybak brought the Bobcats within 67-63 with 36 seconds remaining. But Jay Brown made two free throws for Lamar with 16 seconds left, extending the visitors’ lead to 69-63.
As was the case in their loss to Sam Houston State Wednesday night, the Bobcats substantially outrebounded their guests, but shot so poorly that it didn’t matter. Texas State held a 46-37 advantage on the boards, including an impressive 22 offensive rebounds. But the Bobcats shot only 34.7 percent (25 for 72). Lamar shot 49 percent, making only one less field goal (24) despite taking 23 fewer shots (49).
Cameron Johnson turned in a double-double for Texas State with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Rybak added 13 points for the Bobcats.
Brown led a balanced Lamar effort with 16 points, followed by Brandon McThay with 14 and Ashton Hall with 13.
Now, the Bobcats go on the road for two important games Wednesday night at Texas-San Antonio and next Saturday at Texas-Arlington. UTSA is 2-2 in the league, while UTA is 3-2.