Tony Bishop scored 17 points with 16 rebounds in a 75-60 win against Nicholls State. Texas State sports information photo.
The Texas State men’s basketball team produced a strong defensive effort Saturday and routed Nicholls State, 75-60.
With their seventh straight win at Strahan Coliseum, the Bobcats have placed themselves squarely in the hunt for the Southland Conference regular season championship. At the same time, they remain perilously close to not even making the conference tournament as the league’s teams cluster in the standings. Nine of the league’s 12 teams are within 1 1/2 games of first place with three weeks left in the regular season.
The Bobcats improved to 10-12 overall and 5-3 in the Southland Conference. Nicholls State is 11-9 and 5-4. All of Texas State’s conference wins came at Strahan Coliseum.
The Bobcats are in a three-way tie for second place across the league with McNeese State and Texas-San Antonio (UTSA), which also are 5-3. Northwestern State holds a slim lead at 6-3. Right behind the Bobcats are Nicholls and Texas-Arlington (UTA), which is 4-3. Stephen F. Austin (SFA), Sam Houston State and Southeastern Louisiana all are 4-4.
Thus, the Bobcats are at once a half-game out of first place and a game from not making the concerence tournament. The Southland Conference Tournament to be played in March will take only eight of the league’s 12 teams.
The Bobcats held Nicholls to only 26.1 percent field goal shooting (six for 23) in the first half as they shot out to a 40-16 halftime lead.
Texas State took command of this game with a 22-0 run from 11:00 of the first half to 3:01 of the half, with Eddie Rios scoring 11 points for the Bobcats. When it was done, the Bobcats held a 37-6 advantage.
It took Nicholls about 20 minutes to cut that deficit in half. At that point, the Colonels trailed, 59-44, with 6:31 left. The Colonels never cut the difference to fewer than 13 points.
Tony Bishop led the Bobcats with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Rios scored 16 points and Travis Jones added 13 for Texas State. Dantrell Thomas of Nicholls led all scorers with 21 points.
Attendance for the game was 2,164, the fourth straight Strahan Coliseum crowd of 2,000 or more for the Bobcats, who never managed such a streak last year. For the season, Texas State men’s basketball attendance is up 15.6 percent to an average crowd of 1,912.
The Bobcats will play at Central Arkansas Wednesday night in search of their first road win in the conference. Central Arkansas is 1-7 and 5-16.