Playing their final game at Strahan Coliseum, Texas State men’s basketball seniors Brandon Bush and Brent Benson combined for 47 points in an 80-66 win against Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) Wednesday night.
Based on the Southland Conference’s published criteria for breaking ties to determine which teams will go to the league tournament, Texas State has qualified.
The victory put Texas State alone in seventh place in the Southland Conference at 7-8 in league games, one game ahead of Lamar and Southeastern Louisiana, which are tied for eighth at 6-9. The top eight teams will go to the Southland Conference Tournament next week in Katy.
The Bobcats, who improved to 14-14 overall, will close out the regular season Saturday at Sam Houston State (11-4 SLC, 17-11 overall). Meanwhile, Lamar (6-9, 15-14) plays at Nicholls State (11-4, 18-10), while Southeastern Louisiana (6-9, 12-16) plays at home against Northwestern State (3-12, 11-19).
If Texas State, Lamar and Southeastern Louisiana wind up in a seventh-place tie at 7-9, Texas State owns all of the tiebreakers among the three teams and Southeastern Louisiana owns none. Texas State and Lamar both have won their only games against Southeastern Louisiana.
Though Texas State and Lamar split two head-to-head meetings this year, Lamar finished 3-7 in the West Division. Texas State, 4-5 within the division entering Saturday’s finale, already has clinched a better record.
Bush hit his career highs with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Benson added 19 points as the Bobcats disposed of their Interstate-35 rivals Wednesday night.
UTSA (8-7, 17-11) appeared set to send the Bobcats into doldrums, moving to a 24-14 lead with 10:29 left in the first half. But Texas State went on a 13-2 run for a 27-25 lead when freshman guard John Bowman hit a 15-foot jumper. The Bobcats never trailed for the rest of the game.
“I was really proud of how our team responded tonight,” Texas State head coach Doug Davalos said. “They knew that we really needed to win this one tonight and every player we put into the game made a positive contribution for us.”
Benson picked up Bush in the second half, scoring eight straight points to put the Bobcats into a 54-43 advantage after Bush left the game with his third foul less than five minutes after intermission.
Bush returned to the game five minutes later and the Bobcats kept extending their lead, increasing it to 69-55 with 4:29 left. Soon after, Bush connected with Dylan Mosely on a 35-foot pass over the UTSA press, leading to a dunk that roused the Texas State crowd of 1,875.