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

Kavin Gilder-Tilbury throws a dunk during an exhibition game against Sul Ross State. TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION PHOTO.

STAFF REPORT

Two games into the Sun Belt Conference season, the Texas State men’s basketball team still is looking for a league win, losing twice in the last week at Strahan Coliseum.

The Bobcats suffered a difficult 63-59 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) on Jan. 2, followed by a 74-69 loss to Arkansas State Sunday afternoon. In each game, the Bobcats had their chances.

Texas State trailed UALR, 60-58, with the ball and 20 seconds remaining before Joel Wright drove the lane and laid the ball in, apparently tying the game. But a charging call went against Wright and UALR made its two free throws, all but taking the Bobcats out of the game.

There were good signs for the Bobcats in this game. They held UALR to 41.3 percent from the field (19 for 46) and they had nice offensive balance, with Corey Stern, Emani Gant and Phil Hawkins all scoring 11 points and Wright adding 12. However, UALR won the game with 80 percent free-throw shooting (20 for 25), while the Bobcats were 16-for-23 (69.6 percent). UALR also outrebounded the Bobcats, 33-25.

Despite staying close two days later against Arkansas State, the Bobcats never led for the last 35 minutes of the game. After falling behind, 51-39, with 11:18 left, the Bobcats tied it at 61-61 when Reid Koenen made two free throws with 5:51 remaining.

But Cameron Golden came up big for Arkansas State down the stretch, making a three-pointer, a lay-up and two free throws in the final 2:26 as the Red Wolves regained the lead and kept it to the end. Down, 70-67, with 11 seconds remaining, the Bobcats fouled Golden, who made both throws to seal the game.

Wright led the Bobcats with 22 points, followed by Koenen with 16 and Gant with 11. Golden scored 20 to lead Arkansas State.

The Bobcats now are 4-11 overall and 0-2 in the Sun Belt.

Through the first week of conference games, UALR and Arkansas State both are 2-0, along with Western Kentucky and Georgia State. Troy, South Alabama and Texas-Arlington join the Bobcats at 0-2. Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) is 1-0 and Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) is 0-1.

The Bobcats will go to Louisiana for their next two games. They will play at ULM this Saturday (4 p.m.), then play at ULL on Jan. 13 (7:05 p.m.).

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