By a variety of helpful circumstances, the Texas State men’s basketball team clinched a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament Saturday with an 89-75 win at Northwestern State.
The most remarkable of those circumstances consisted in the performance or reserve forward J.B. Conley, who came off the bench and scored 42 points in 36 minutes — tied for the third highest scoring total by a player at Prather Coliseum with a 1972 performance by Louisiana-Lafayette All-American Dwight “Bo” Lamar.
Meanwhile, the women’s basketball team at Texas State put together one of its best games this season with a 76-57 win Saturday against Northwestern State at Strahan Coliseum.
Conley’s output helped the Texas State men through the loss of star forward Cameron Johnson, who served a one-game league suspension for violent play in a loss Wednesday night against Stephen F. Austin. Conley scored 20 against Nicholls State two games ago.
“I’ve seen it happen time and time again,” said Northwestern State head coach Mike McConathy. “When a team loses its best player, it opens the door for somebody else to step up. (Conley) had a great game and their team rallied around each other.”
The victory raised Texas State to 7-7 in the league, all alone in seventh place. The top eight teams go to the league tournament. After Texas-San Antonio dropped Lamar, 76-74, and McNeese State beat Nicholls, 69-53, in Saturday’s games, eighth place now is tied among four teams — Northwestern, Lamar, McNeese and Nicholls, all at 5-9.
As the Bobcats have a two-game lead against each of those teams with two games left, they can do no worse than finish in a four-way tie for seventh with three of those teams (Nicholls and Lamar play each other on March 6).
However, the Bobcats are 4-1 in their games against the other four teams, and they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against all of them except Nicholls. The other four teams in the possible tie hold these records against the teams that could be in that tie: Nicholls (3-2), Northwestern (3-3), Lamar (1-3) and McNeese (2-4).
Conley made 14 of 22 field goal attempts and 12 of 20 free throws. Conley already had 22 points at halftime, when the Bobcats forged a 45-36 lead.
Both teams shot badly. Texas State made only 38.2 percent of its field goal attempts (29 of 76), while Northwestern State made 36.1 percent (22 of 61).
Texas State plays at Texas-San Antonio Wednesday, then ends the regular season at Strahan Coliseum on March 6 against Sam Houston State.
Saturday’s win was too little, too late, for the Texas State women’s team, which already was out of race to enter the Southland Conference Tournament. The Bobcats are 3-11 in the league with two games left. Sam Houston State Northwestern State are tied for seventh at 6-8, with the league’s top eight teams going to the tournament.
Diamond Ford led the Bobcats with 16 points. Texas State teammates Victoria Davis, Kelsey Krupa and Chika Ofoegbu each scored 11.
“Beyond wins and losses, today it was about how we played and how we competed,” Texas State head coach Suzanne Fox said. “It is in a Bobcat’s nature to compete hard to the last minute, and I saw an unbelievable effort today. I was proud and I know the alumni watching were very proud.”
The Bobcats made 43.9 percent of their field goal attempts (25 of 57), compared with 35.7 percent (20 of 56) for Northwestern State.
Texas State will play Texas-San Antonio Wednesday at Strahan Coliseum (7 p.m.), then finish out the season on March 6 at Sam Houston State.Email | Print