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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

Texas State welcomes men’s basketball home after second-straight Sun Belt Conference title

Texas+State+mens+basketball+smiles+for+a+photo+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+26%2C+2022%2C+inside+the+University+Events+Center.+The+team+had+just+returned+to+San+Marcos+after+securing+its+second+consecutive+Sun+Belt+Regular-Season+Championship.

Texas State men’s basketball smiles for a photo on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, inside the University Events Center. The team had just returned to San Marcos after securing its second consecutive Sun Belt Regular-Season Championship.

The men’s basketball team was officially able to secure its second consecutive Sun Belt Regular-Season Championship with a clutch 55-52 win over South Alabama on Feb. 23. 
Texas State is the first team to win back-to-back Sun Belt conference titles since Georgia State did so in the 2015 season. To celebrate this momentous achievement, the university organized a welcome back event for the team as it returned from its 66-61 prime-time victory over Troy.
Fans and faculty gathered at the entrance of the University Events Center early Saturday morning eagerly awaiting the team’s arrival. One of those fans was Myles Von, an exercise and sports science junior. Von transferred to Texas State just this year, and the basketball team’s performance has made him proud that he too can call himself a Bobcat.
“It feels great,” Von said. “I mean one, to have a pretty good team, and two to come out and win the whole conference. I think we got a pretty good chance to go all the way … I’m proud of them, they’ve come a long way.”
Von may have not been here to appreciate last year’s run, but someone who was is Athletic Director Don Coryell. Coryell was named Athletic Director last September and has been with the athletic department for 18 years. He said it feels great to be the AD who gets to preside over a two-time Sun Belt conference champ.
“It’s unbelievable. I was a long-time college basketball player myself, so I know how difficult this is,” Coryell said. “I’m so proud of our coaches, so proud of our team. Winning one is hard enough, winning two is really, really difficult.”
Coryell was one of the first in line to welcome back the players and coaches as they descended from the team bus. The crowd excitedly cheered on their champs as they made their way inside the UEC.
This year’s celebration offered a touching moment between the players and Head Coach Terrence Johnson, who was unable to physically be with the team last year due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Johnson was still able to celebrate with his guys last year, but only from inside his car.
This year, Johnson was able to have a proper celebration, including a hug from senior guard Mason Harrell, something Harrell really appreciated.
“It was awesome just him being there this time and actually getting to experience it all,” Harrell said. “There were just a lot of good emotions, it’s something I’ll never forget, and I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life.”
Johnson’s leadership has been instrumental during his two-year run. On Feb. 28, he was named the Sun Belt Conference Head Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. After guiding the team to a conference title last year, Johnson shed his interim label and was officially named head coach. That decision clearly paid off for the university and Coryell knows it; he’s grateful to have Johnson on board.
“I’m so proud. I’ve known Coach Johnson for a long time now; he’s a great person, a great coach, great for our student-athletes and an incredible representative for our university,” Coryell said. “I know how hard those guys work, they grind as hard as any staff in the country, and they work so well with our student-athletes, it’s just great to see him rewarded for it.”
Men’s basketball now looks toward the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Pensacola, Florida where it’ll once again have the number one seed. Last year’s tournament didn’t go as the Bobcats hoped, with the team bowing out after losing to Appalachian State 76-73.
The team hopes this year brings different results; they’re locked in and ready to take full advantage of their shot at redemption. Senior guard Caleb Asberry wants fans to know just that.
“Our message this year is that we’re not gonna fold, we are not going to fold,” Asberry said.
Harrell echoed that sentiment, saying the team has a better mindset going into the tournament this year.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Harrell said. “I think last year we focused a little bit on the future and stuff like that, but I think if we take it one game at a time, you know, take care of business, we’ll be alright.”
As the number one seed, Texas State earns a bye in the first round of the tournament. The team will await the winner of a game between the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Louisiana.
Texas State’s first game of the tournament is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on March 5 at the Pensacola Bay Center in Florida. The game will air on ESPN+

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