Ryan White goes on the dribble drive for Texas State in the Bobcats’ 82-78 loss to Texas-Arlington at Strahan Coliseum. Texas State sports information photo.
Texas State’s bid to move up in the Southland Conference men’s basketball standings took a blow Saturday, when Texas-Arlington beat them, 82-78, at Strahan Coliseum.
A win would have made the Bobcats 5-2 in the Southland Conference, 1 1/2 games behind 6-0 league leader Sam Houston State. The Bearkats won a battle of league unbeatens, 70-58, at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Saturday. The loss dropped Corpus to 5-1 in the league’s overall standings. Stephen F. Austin is in third place at 5-2.
The Bobcats dropped to 4-3 (10-11 overall), tied for fourth place with Southeastern Louisiana, and now face their remaining nine games from close to a very crowded bubble. The Bobcats are still ahead of Nicholls State and Lamar, both 3-4. Eighth place, which determines the final league tournament qualifier, is now a four-way tie at 2-4 between Texas-Arlington, Texas-San Antonio, Northwestern State and McNeese State.
It’s even too early to count out 1-6 Central Arkansas, the only other team in the league. So, the Bobcats have a lot on the line every time out, particularly the next time, which is Wednesday at Southeastern Louisiana.
If only one reason were cited for the Bobcats’ loss to UTA, the free-throw line would be a good candidate. In a four-point loss, the Bobcats made seven fewer free throws (26) than UTA (33), even though both teams took 46 attempts. The Bobcats made 56.5 percent, while UTA made 71.4 percent.
Texas State took and made more shots from the floor than UTA. But the Bobcats shot badly, making only 35.3 percent (24 of 68), compared with 44.7 percent (21 of 47) for UTA. The Mavericks shot very well from three-point range, making seven of 17 (41.2 percent). The Bobcats made four of 20 (20 percent).
Otherwise, the Bobcats outrebounded the Mavericks (47-40), made more steals (13 to eight) and made fewer turnovers (21 to 17). But they played from behind, if slightly, for the last nine minutes.
UTA’s Brandon Long made a three-pointer to break a 52-52 tie with 8:59 left. UTA built a 64-57 lead as Marquez Haynes made two free throws with 6:17 left. Frequently ending possessions with missed shots, the Bobcats couldn’t cut their deficit to two before UTA’s Tommy Moffitt made a jumper and added a foul shot, shooting the UTA advantage up to 73-65 with 3:13 left.
The Bobcats still trailed, 79-71, with 1:12 remaining, then cut it to 79-74 when John Bowman scored off Cameron Johnson’s missed free throw with 54 seconds left. As Texas State needed to foul, UTA then missed three of four free throws, while Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute made two free throws for Texas State. The Bobcats were within 80-76 when Bidias A’ Moute rebounded Haynes’ missed free throw with 30 seconds left.
Johnson rebounded Ryan White’s missed jumper with 19 seconds left, then hit a jumper from the paint with 11 seconds remaining, bringing the Bobcats within 80-78. But Moffitt made two free throws with seven seconds left for UTA, putting the game out of reach for Texas State.
Johnson led the Bobcats with 21 points and 11 rebounds, going double-double for the fourth time in his last five games and for the fifth time overall this season. The Bobcats won all those games except Saturday against UTA. With 10 points and 12 rebounds against UTA, Bidias A’ Moute has gone double-double in two of his last three games, reaching double-figure rebounds in all three.
John Rybak added 16 points for Texas State, while White scored 14 points on three-of-15 shooting, with 10 assists against two turnovers.
Haynes, the Southland Conference’s leading scorer, led UTA with 21 points, nine of them from the free throw line. Haynes entered the game ranking second nationally with a 24.7 points average.
Following Saturday’s game at Southeastern Louisiana, the Bobcats return to Strahan Coliseum Saturday against McNeese State (4 p.m.).Email | Print