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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 bounce back against UTA

Texas+State+senior+forward+Nighael+Ceaser+%2822%29+shoots+a+floater+over+UT+Arlington+graduate+forward+Lazaro+Rojas+%2812%29%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+29%2C+2022%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+58-53.

Texas State senior forward Nighael Ceaser (22) shoots a floater over UT Arlington graduate forward Lazaro Rojas (12), Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 58-53.

Texas State men’s basketball (13-6 overall, 4-3 Sun Belt) defeated UTA (9-12 overall, 5-5 Sun Belt) Saturday afternoon after senior forward Isiah Small sealed the game with his 10th rebound of the match. 
The energy from the season’s highest capacity crowd fueled the Bobcats for a 58-53 win, a bounce back from the ‘Cats previous loss to the Mavericks on Thursday night. 
Texas State’s leading scorer, senior guard Caleb Asberry, picked up two fouls just eight minutes into the game and would play in foul trouble for much of the game. Despite this, he hit his first two threes and jumpstarted a three-point barrage for the Bobcats.
In the team’s Thursday matchup, Sun Belt Conference-leading scorer, graduate guard David Azore, was held to just nine points. In the first half, the Bobcats could not stop the Mavericks spark plug as he exploded for 14 first-half points. This allowed the Mavs to go into the half leading by three, 29-26.
With much of Texas State’s offense coming from beyond the arc, its struggles scoring in the paint continued into the second half, allowing UTA to go on a 5-0 run to start it and forcing the ‘Cats to burn an early timeout.
It was at this point in the game, with the scoring heading in the wrong direction for Texas State, that senior forward Nighael Ceaser, hit a hook shot in the lane at the end of the shot clock to end the Bobcat drought. This was just the beginning of a string of clutch late shot clock buckets the Bobcats would convert, including a bank shot clock buzzer-beating three from junior forward Tyrel Morgan.
As the undersized Bobcats were getting outworked rebounding to start the second half, Ceaser provided his much-needed athleticism, producing rebounds and a huge block on the Mavericks sophomore forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu.
With the Bobcats up 56-53 and 17.4 seconds left in the game, Head Coach Terrence Johnson called a timeout and set up an intense pressure full-court press which would lead to a steal by Small that would send him to the line to put the game away.
After shooting just 25% from the three-point line in Thursday’s matchup, Texas State lit it up from beyond the arc, hitting on 50% of its threes. During the ‘Cats’ best stretch of the game, the ball was moving on offense which helped Texas State amass 15 assists in the game.
The Mavericks had a noticeable size advantage and outrebounded the ‘Cats 30-29 with 18 points in the paint. But the Mavs failed to capitalize on winning the rebounding battle as they were outscored 15-7 on second-chance points.
In the end, Azore (23 PTS, 9-18 FGS, 3-8 3PTS, 2-4 FTS, 4 REB, 1 AST) kept his career year scoring season intact with a game-high of 23 points. Asberry (15 PTS, 5-10 FGS, 4-8 3PTS, 1-2 FTS, 4 REB, 1 AST) led the way in scoring for the Bobcats. 
Next up, Texas State will host the Sun Belt Conference’s leading team, the Appalachian State Mountaineers, at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Strahan Arena. The game will air on ESPN+.

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