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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

Men’s advance to semifinals but end playoff run versus Louisiana

Texas+State+senior+guard+Mason+Harrell+%2812%29+looks+to+pass+the+ball+against+Arkansas+State+University%2C+Thursday%2C+Feb.+9%2C+2023%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+66-62.

Texas State senior guard Mason Harrell (12) looks to pass the ball against Arkansas State University, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 66-62.

Texas State men’s basketball defeated Marshall University 71-68 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats have put together an impressive run through the tournament having now beaten third seeded Marshall and sixth seed Old Dominion after beginning in the 11th spot. 
The Bobcats traded baskets with the Thundering Herd throughout the first half resulting in a halftime score of 38-37 in favor of Marshall. Texas State led by as much as nine points in the first half and shot as high as 70% from the field. 
The Bobcats finished the first half shooting 16-of-27 from the field and 4-of-9 from the three point line. Senior forward Nighael Ceaser led the Cats’ at half with eight points shooting 4-of-6 from the field. Ceaser would be one of five Bobcats to finish in double figures on the night.
Senior guard Mason Harrell held the team high with 17 points shooting 7-of-15 from the field, 2-of-4 from three, paired with four assists. 
Marshall started the second half hot with three, three pointers, including a pair from redshirt sophomore guard Andrew Taylor to put the Thundering Herd up by nine points halfway through the second half.
Taylor led Marshall with 19 points while shooting 7-of-18 from the field and 3-of-8 from behind the arc. 
Fifth-year senior guard Taevion Kinsey had 18 points for Marshall and broke the schools all-time scoring record surpassing Jon Elmore with 2,638 points.
Just under the five minute mark Texas State trailed by seven points before going on a 7-0 run sparked by a three from Harrell and a 3-point play at the rim from Ceaser, cutting the deficit to 66-65 with just over two minutes left in regulation.
Texas State senior forward Tyrel Morgan got a layup at the rim just at the one minute mark to give the Bobcats a 69-68 lead. On the next possession Harrell knocked down a midrange jumper to extend the Texas State lead to 71-68 with just under one second left on the clock.
The 2022-2023 season for Texas State men’s basketball  came to an end after a 64-58 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Sunday night at the Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida. 
“Tough game for the Bobcats,” head coach Terrence Johnson said postgame. “I thought we fought. I felt we had opportunities tonight. We played against a very well-coached team. Older guys that have been together, connected for some time. Credit to them; they had a great game plan. Those guys in the Bobcat locker room, I’ll go to war with them any day. I’m blessed to be coaching in San Marcos, Texas.”
After going 2-5 in the final three weeks of the regular season, the Bobcats were given the 11th seed in the 2023 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Basketball Championship. Due to their poor record, the Bobcats did not have a bye and would have to win five consecutive games, something the team hadn’t done all season, in order to cut down the nets as tournament champions. 
Texas State began the tournament in the first round against 14th-seeded Georgia State on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Behind a strong team scoring performance, Texas State defeated the Panthers 81-76 to advance to the second strong. Despite having five different players score in double figures it was the team’s performance at the free throw line going 24-for-28 that sealed the victory. 
In the second round, Texas State faced sixth-seeded Old Dominion on Thursday, March 2. ODU won the regular-season matchup between the two teams off a buzzer-beater layup. Texas State avenged that loss by thrashing the Monarchs 65-36 for its largest Sun Belt tournament win in four years.
The win advanced Texas State to the quarterfinals where the team faced third-seeded Marshall on Saturday, March 4. In what was a close contest, Texas State pulled away in the final two minutes with a 6-0 run. The win knocked off the heavily favored Thundering Herd 71-68 to continue the Bobcats’ Cinderella run into the playoffs to become the first double-digit seeded team to ever make it to the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals. 
In the semifinals, Texas State faced second-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette who went 2-0 against the Bobcats during the regular season. Texas State was down by 14 points in the second half but managed to pull within two points in the game’s final minutes but was unable to pull off the victory, falling 64-58 and ending its unlikely tournament run. 
“It definitely doesn’t feel good,” senior guard Drue Drinnon said after the game. “We came into this tournament just trying to play our strongest, play our hardest and put it all out on the floor and what hurts most is just knowing that I have two of my seniors that don’t have a chance to come back a chance at this and that’s what hurts most just seeing them in the locker room seeing the emotions … it’s just tough.” 
This was the second consecutive year that the Ragin’ Cajuns eliminated Texas State from the Sun Belt Tournament. The loss will likely end Texas State’s season as the team is not eligible for an invitation to the NIT tournament.

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