Texas State’s Cameron Johnson rebounds Saturday against Lamar. Texas State sports information photo.
Coming off years of dreary struggle, the Texas State men’s basketball team is showing signs of being equal to at least most of the Southland Conference.
The Bobcats prevailed, 97-92 in overtime at Lamar Saturday, bringing their Southland Conference record to 3-2, good for a third-place tie with Stephen F. Austin. The two Texas State league losses came against the top two teams — Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (5-0) and Sam Houston State (4-0).
Texas State now is 9-10 overall. Lamar is 2-3 in the league and 10-10 overall.
Lamar led for most of the second half and held a 75-68 advantage with 5:58 left in regulation time. But Dylan Hale made a three-pointer and a lay-up, and Ryan White hit a three-pointer, bringing the Bobcats within 79-78 with 3:36 left. Two free throws by Cameron Johnson gave the Bobcats an 80-79 lead, their first since very early in the second half.
Johnson made one of two free throws with seven seconds left in regulation time, pushing the game into overtime at 85-85.
The Texas State overtime was fueled by the defense of John Ryback, who made three steals in the first three minutes of the extra period as the Bobcats built a 91-87 lead. Ryback scored a lay-up off one steal and fed a jumper by White off another. A free throw by Emmanuel Bidias A’ Moute gave Texas State a 92-87 lead with 1:16 left in the overtime.
Johnson led all scorers with 24 points and added 15 rebounds for the Bobcats. Bidias A’ Moute also notched a double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Four other Bobcats reached double-figure scoring, including John Bowman (15 points), J.B. Conley (14), Hale (11) and White (10). Kendrick Harris scored 22 for Lamar, followed by Anthony Miles with 21 and Justin Nabors with 18.
The Bobcats return home this week with a chance to strengthen their position in the league. They will play Texas-San Antonio Wednesday night at Strahan Coliseum (7 p.m.), followed by a Saturday game in the same location against Texas-Arlington (2 p.m.).