Coming from 14 points behind Saturday, the Texas State men’s basketball team moved into first place in the Southland Conference with a 79-71 win against Texas-Arlington (UTA) at Strahan Coliseum.
The win put the Bobcats even for the overall season at 12-12, while they improved to 7-3 in the league. Northwestern State fell out of the lead to 7-4 with a 76-68 loss to Southeastern Louisiana Saturday.
McNeese State is 6-3 in the league, in a technical tie for second place, followed by Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin (SFA) and Sam Houston State, all at 6-4. Thus, six teams are bunched within one game of the league lead.
UTA is 11-12 and 5-5, tied with Texas San-Antonio for the final two league tournament positions as it now stands.
The Bobcats are off to their best start in the Southland Conference since they started the 1998-99 league schedule at 7-3.
UTA controlled the first half, moving to its first 10-point lead at 24-14 with 7:59 left in the half. Texas State had a miserable time shooting in the first half, making only nine of its 26 field goal attempts (34.6 percent). At halftime, UTA led, 39-25.
But in the second half, UTA exactly duplicated Texas State’s first half shooting performance, while the Bobcats went on a tear and shot 60 percent (15 of 25).
A jumper and a layup by Cameron Johnson brought the Bobcats within 39-34 with 16:33 left in the game. Two free throws by Tony Bishop brought them to within one point, 41-40, with 14:47 left. UTA extended its lead back out to 45-40, at which point the Bobcats responded with a 7-0 run. A three-pointer by Ryan White game Texas State its first lead since very early at 47-45 with 12:23 left. The Bobcats would never trail after that.
A subsequent 10-0 run increased the Texas State lead to 62-49 with 7:28 left. J.B. Conley scored six points during that rally. The Bobcats twice pushed their lead to as high as 15 points, the last time at 71-56 with 3:43 remaining.
Eddie Rios led the Bobcats with 20 points, followed by Johnson with 16 and Travis Jones with 15. Bradley Gay led UTA with 17.
The Bobcats will play Tuesday night at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Corpus is 8-17 and 3-7.Email | Print