HUNTSVILLE — In a game in which the Texas State men’s basketball team weathered an early storm, Sam Houston’s State’s backcourt combination of Corey Almond and Ashton Mitchell proved to be too much for the Bobcats to overcome on Wednesday night, Jan. 20 in Johnson Coliseum.
Almond and Mitchell combined for 41 points, and post players Antuan Bootle and Preston Brown added 12 points each to lead Sam Houston State to a 95-64 victory over Texas State. Almond finished the game with 22 points and Mitchell added 19 for the Bearkats, who improved to 11-5 overall and 3-0 in Southland Conference play.
Almond and Mitchell each made a three-point basket in the opening minutes of the first half to give the Bearkats an early 6-0 lead. But, Texas State came storming back with 11 straight points to grab an early lead. Ryan White scored Texas State’s first points of the game with a three-point field goal. Then, Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute, who made his second start of the season, hit a lay-up and White drove down the lane for another lay-up.
After Sam Houston State’s head coach Bob Marlin was called for a technical foul, John Rybak made both free throws before Sam Houston’s Lance Pevehouse hit one of his two free throws to stop Texas State run. Sam Houston State closed to within two points, 11-9, when Preston Brown made a jumper in the paint.
The Bobcats outscored the Bearkats 11-7 during the next five minutes to take a 22-16 lead with 8:43 left. During that stretch, Tony Bishop and J.B. Conley scored four points each and White nailed another trey.
But, the Bearkats seized control of the game as they closed the half with a 27-9 run. Almond and Mitchell combined for 16 of the 27 points. Almond led the way as he scored 11 points in that stretch. He hit a three-point shot to pull the Bearkats to within three at 24-21 after Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute had scored a lay-up for Texas State. Ashton and Dre’ Murray each made a lay-up to give Sam Houston State the lead 25-24, and the Bearkats never trailed again.
Sam Houston State steadily increased its lead to 37-28 before John Bowman made two free throws and Bishop made the second of his two free throw attempts to pull Texas State back to within six.
But Sam Houston State scored six straight points to end the half as Mitchell made one of his two free throws, and Almond scored five straight points on a trey and a lay-up off a steal. That made the score 43-31 at the intermission.
The teams battled back and forth early in the second half before Bobcats used a 9-4 run to pull to within 54-45 with 14;22 left to play. But, Sam Houston State answered with a 14-0 run of its own to take a 68-45 lead with 11:18 left to play.
The Bearkats continued to increase their lead to 88-52 with 4:42 left to play before Texas State outscored the Bearkats 12-7 the rest of the way.
Ryan White led Texas State with 15 points, while Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute added 15 points and Tony Bishop recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. One of the key factors in the game was that Texas State’s top two scoring leaders Cameron Johnson and John Rybak combined for just three points and three rebounds. Johnson, who entered the game as Texas State’s scoring and rebounding leader, was plagued by foul problems most of the game and ended the night with no points and one rebound. Rybak scored the three points and added two rebounds.
The loss drops Texas State to 8-10 overall this season, and the Bobcats fall to 2-2 in Southland Conference play. Texas State plays its second straight Southland Conference road game when the Bobcats travel to Lamar on Saturday, Jan. 24, for a game that tips off at 7 p.m.
— FROM TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION/RICK POULTER