It was a disappointing ending to a courageous effort as the Texas State men’s basketball team suffered a 70-59 loss against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Wednesday night in Strahan Coliseum.
For 31 minutes, the Bobcats battled the Islanders toe-to-toe and held a 49-48 lead with 9:35 left to play after Brandon Bush grabbed a miss by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Marcus Hammonds and threw the ball ahead to Corey Jefferson for a lay-up.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi looked like they were going to run away with an easy victory early in the game when the Islanders raced out to a 16-9 lead in the first seven minutes of the game.
But Texas State fought back with a 12-1 run of its own in the next five minutes to take a four-point lead. Ryan White came off the bench to ignite the rally when he made a lay-up after John Rybak stole the ball from Demond Watt. Then Bush made a lay-up before Cameron Johnson hit a jumper from the free throw line to pull Texas State to within 16-15.
Bush gave the Bobcats their first lead on their next possession when he nailed a three-point shot from the right wing and Rybak nailed a trey from the left wing to cap the run to give Texas State a 21-17 lead.
The Bobcats led the remainder of the first half and led at halftime 34-32 as Bush scored 10 points in the opening period, Rybak netted nine and Johnson finished with eight points and six rebounds.
In the first 11 minutes of the second half the two teams fought back and forth through five lead changes before Texas A&M-Corpus Christi took the lead for good with just over nine minutes to play on Kevin Palmer’s three-point basket to make the score 51-49.
Texas State came back to tie the score a 53-53 when Bush made a pair of free throws and Cameron Johnson added a jumper in the paint with 6:00 minutes to play.
But the Bobcats didn’t score another field goal until White hit Bush with a three-quarters length pass with 31 seconds left.
In between Texas State committed six turnovers and missed four lay-ups as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi closed the game with a 17-6 run to make the final score 70-59.
Johnson led the Bobcats with his fourth double-double of the season, finishing with game-highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds. Bush added 18 points and four assists, while Rybak finished with 13.
Shamar Coombs led the Islanders with 19 points, while Palmer added 15 and Demond Watt came off the bench to score 13 points.
The Islanders also moved into sole possession of first place in the West Division with an 8-1 Southland Conference record and are 14-10 overall.
Texas State falls to 10-13 overall and the Bobcats are 3-7 in SLC play heading into Saturday night’s game at Lamar that tips off at 8:00 p.m. and will be shown nationally on ESPNU.
— FROM TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION/RICK POULTER