San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 4th, 2010
Bobcats could climb at basketball finale

030410johnsonaCameron Johnson returned to the Texas State lineup Wednesday and scored 29 points in the Bobcats’ 83-76 win at Texas-San Antonio. Texas State sports information photo.

STAFF REPORT

Going to its final game of the season Saturday against Sam Houston State at Strahan Coliseum, the Texas State men’s basketball team can finish as high as a tie for third in the Southland Conference, or it can go to the league tournament next week as the seventh seed out of eight teams.

But the going doesn’t promise to be smooth for the Bobcats, who would have to knock off regular season champion Sam Houston State for their best tournament scenario. Sam Houston will be the prohibitive favorite to win the league’s only bid to the NCAA Tournament, going to Sunday’s game 22-6 overall and 14-1 in the Southland Conference.

The Bobcats, 8-7 in the league, are tied for fifth place with Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) and Texas-Arlington (UTA), and all of those teams are right behind the two teams tied for third — Southeastern Louisiana and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, both 9-6. It’s conceivable that all five of those teams could find themselves tied for third, depending on the outcomes of Saturday’s final games.

In games among those five teams, UTA and Corpus are the front runners with 4-2 records, while the Bobcats and UTSA are 3-4 and Southeastern Louisiana is 1-3. The Bobcats could finish cleanly ahead of UTSA and UTA, but they could no more than tie with Corpus or Southeastern Louisiana. The Bobcats are on the wrong end of the tiebreaker against both of those schools.

The Bobcats put themselves in much improved position Wednesday night with an 83-76 win at UTSA. Cameron Johnson returned to the lineup with 29 points for the Bobcats, while Ryan White scored a career high 18 points. After scoring 42 points off the bench at Northwestern State last Saturday, J.B. Conley took a start at guard and scored four points in 20 minutes.

The Bobcats shot 50 percent (29 of 58) from the floor, lighting it up in the first half with 60 percent shooting (15 for 25). But they could manage no better than a 39-39 tie at halftime.

Texas State didn’t distinguish itself statistically in the second half, as both teams shot 42 percent and took 19 rebounds. However, Texas State cut off UTSA’s transition game and marked up better hustle in the second half. In the first half, UTSA beat Texas State 9-0 in second chance points and 6-0 in fast break points. In the second half, the two teams tied 2-2 in fast break points and 5-5 in second chance points.

White triggered the Bobcats with seven points while they broke a 60-60 tie with 11:21 left into a 71-62 lead with 7:09 remaining. White’s three-pointer with 7:34 left extended the Texas State lead to 69-62 before Uriel Segura rebounded Melvin Johnson’s missed jumper and White followed with a layup to make it 71-62.

The Bobcats blew their lead out to a high of 81-67 when Johnson made two free throws with 3:00 minutes left.

The Saturday game with Sam Houston State, which begins at 2 p.m., will be televised on the Southland Conference Network, which is affiliated with Time Warner Cable and Grande Communications in San Marcos. The game also will be shown on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com. A replay will be shown on Fox College Sports Central at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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