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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Bobcats flame out in quarterfinals for second straight year

Texas+State+senior+forward+Isiah+Small+%281%29+attempts+to+break+through+the+Ragin+Cajuns+defense+during+a+game+against+the+University+of+Louisiana%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+15%2C+2022%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+72-68.

Texas State senior forward Isiah Small (1) attempts to break through the Ragin’ Cajuns defense during a game against the University of Louisiana, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 72-68.

Texas State men’s basketball (21-7 overall, 12-4 Sun Belt) lost to Louisiana at Lafayette (15-14 Overall, 9-9 Sun Belt) 79-72 on Saturday in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, failing to reach the big dance.
With the loss, the Bobcats’ season is not over just yet as they will make an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The team will be seeded on March 13, with the first round of the tournament on March 15-16.
The Bobcats came into Saturday’s game as the number one overall seed after winning the regular season title for the second season in a row. But offensive shooting struggles and failure to defend well enough in the paint lead to their demise.
Texas State came out ready to play on rested legs, causing deflections on defense and playing at a fast pace. That was until the Bobcats hit a scoring drought in the final eight minutes of the first half which created a 31-25 deficit at the half. The shooting woes would carry over into the second half as well, shooting 24-67 from field goal range for the game.
The Ragin’ Cajuns slowed the pace down as the ‘Cats had no answers in the first half for sophomore forward Jordan Brown, who had 12 points in the half, in combination with junior guard Greg Williams Jr., who hit all three of his threes in the first and finished with 15 points. 
Many of these points came in the paint as the Cajuns had 16 of their 31 first half points in the painted area and outscored the ‘Cats 32-28 for the game. Brown was occupying the paint with fellow big man junior forward Theo Akwuba, who had three of the teams five first half blocks and finished the game with five total blocks.
“Credit to them, those guys had hot hands and you know, they blocked a couple shots and had us thinking a little more than we typically do,” Head Coach Terrence Johnson said in the postgame press conference. 
With the combination of Brown and Akwuba affecting shots closer to the basket, the Bobcats shot just 28% from the field in the first half. The ‘Cats, who came into the game leading the Sun Belt in all categories of shooting efficiency, had no double-digit scorers through 20 minutes of play; senior guard Caleb Asberry led Texas State with just eight first-half points.
“Louisiana had way more energy than us throughout the whole game, consistently,” Senior guard Shelby Adams said in the postgame press conference. 
The Bobcats were getting a rude awakening to March Madness as they would have to overcome a deficit that ballooned to as much as 16 with just over 14 minutes left in the game. Senior forward Isiah Small responded for a stretch and finished with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Bobcats would fail to capitalize on his scoring stretch as on defense they could not get the necessary stops to start a run. 
They would cut it to eight on a transition three-pointer by senior guard Mason Harrell that he was falling forward on. A three-point attempt by junior forward Tyrel Morgan rimmed out after going halfway down with 4:01 left would cut the deficit to five at the time. 
That would be as close as the Bobcats would get as the Cajuns would close out the game with the help of Brown’s career-high 31 points on 12-20 from the field, 1-2 from the three-point line and 6-8 from the free-throw line.
“When it comes down to it this is bigger than basketball, but its amazing the life lessons you can learn from the game of basketball, everything don’t bounce your way and sometimes things do rim out in life, but can you rebound, can you bounce back,” Johnson said.
Texas State may not be going to NCAA tournament but its earned its way to a postseason tournament and will bring Johnson’s perspective into it in hopes of an NIT title.

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