As the men’s basketball season at Texas State began in November, transfer newcomer Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute appeared to be a vital cog. But that was as the season began.
In the Bobcats’ first three games this year, Bidias A’ Moute totaled 39 points and 16 rebounds in a combined 45 minutes. But he more or less disappeared since then, scoring four points or fewer in six of the next ten games while never reaching double figures.
The 6-foot-8 junior re-asserted himself in a big way Saturday, scoring 16 points with 10 rebounds and three assists as the Bobcats opened their Southland Conference season with an 87-76 win against Texas-Arlington at Strahan Coliseum.
Bidias A’ Moute and Brandon Bush each scored six points during a 20-8 Texas State run in the middle of the second half as the Bobcats broke open a 50-50 tie for a 70-58 lead with 7:21 remaining.
Texas State proceeded to increase the margin to 16 points at 78-62 with 4:06 left. From that point, the Mavericks came no closer than 85-74 with 39 seconds remaining.
The win extended Texas State’s winning streak to five games as the Bobcats improved to 8-6 overall and 1-0 in the league. Texas-Arlington fell to 7-7 and 0-1.
Oddly enough, Texas State won this year’s league opener against UTA and also won last year’s regular season league finale against the same team, but, in between, UTA won the Southland Conference Tournament last year.
Brent Benson scored 21 points for Texas State, while Bush added 19 points and eight rebounds. Bidias A’ Moute added four blocked shots and a steal to his first career double-double.
Marquez Haynes led UTA with 23 points, followed by 16 points for Anthony Vereen.
The two teams went back and forth for most of the first half, until John Rybak hit a three-pointer to give the Bobcats a 40-37 lead with 2:35 left in the first half. The Bobcats never trailed after that. A jumper by Bush and two free throws by Benson gave the Bobcats a 44-41 halftime lead.
Texas State held UTA to 40.9 percent shooting (27 for 66), especially clamping down in the second half, when UTA hit only 11 of 33 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Bobcats shot consistently well throughout the game, finishing with a 55.4 percent field goal percentage (31 of 56).
The Bobcats also moved the ball well, finishing the game with 21 assists. Point guard Corey Jefferson led the Bobcats with seven assists, while Rybak added four. Benson joined Bidias A’ Moute with three assists.
After starting the league season with a win at home, the Bobcats will be tested by two road games in the league during the next week. Wednesday, the Bobcats go to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Texas State stays on the road with a game at Central Arkansas Saturday.
The Bobcats will return home to play Sam Houston State on Jan. 21.