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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 basketball returns home against Louisiana

Texas+State+senior+forward+Isiah+Small+%281%29+jumps+through+Our+Lady+of+the+Lake+University+defenders+to+get+to+the+basket%2C+Saturday%2C+Dec.+12%2C+2020%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+lost+61-58.

Texas State senior forward Isiah Small (1) jumps through Our Lady of the Lake University defenders to get to the basket, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats lost 61-58.

Riding a five-game winning streak, Texas State men’s basketball (11-4 overall, 5-1 Sun Belt) will face off against the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (11-4 overall, 5-3 Sun Belt) on Jan. 29-30 in a crucial conference battle.
This Sun Belt showdown has immense implications as the Bobcats and Ragin’ Cajuns rank first and second respectively in the West Division.
Texas State has had immense success in conference play over the last several years but has struggled historically against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Despite winning four of the last five matchups, Texas State has a 5-12 all-time record against Louisiana.
A once six-game losing streak that spanned from 2014-2016, the ‘Cats must take this opponent as seriously as possible. Despite the influx of new contributors on both ends, Texas State has not favored well against Head Coach Bob Marlin, who has been at the helm of Louisiana for 11 seasons.
While the coach has remained the same, this group also has been fortunate to have a familiar face still run the show on the floor, with a rising star accompanying him.
This season the Ragin’ Cajuns are still led by senior guard Cedric Russell, who leads this team in scoring with 17.3 points per game. Their frontcourt is once again dominated by junior forward Theo Akwuba, who is averaging a double-double on the season with 11.8 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game.
But a new face has appeared in the backcourt. While Texas State has seen a rising star come to light, Louisiana is in the same boat. Sophomore guard Mylik Wilson is second in scoring (13.9) for the Cajuns while also being the third-highest rebounder (5.3) for this team on a per-game basis.
This Ragin’ Cajuns group has a plethora of contributors in terms of scoring and rebounding. They average 75.1 points and 40.9 boards per contest, significantly exceeding the Bobcats season averages of 66.8 points and 32.3 boards per contest.
Despite the statistical advantages and similar overall record, Texas State is coming into this game on a hot streak.
The Bobcats are led by junior guard Mason Harrell and junior guard Caleb Asberry. Texas State is 8-1 since Asberry entered the starting lineup on Dec. 15 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Both Harrell and Asberry lead the team with 12.8 points per night, while simultaneously managing assist duties and playing passing lanes to grab a steal per contest.
It is unquestioned that Asberry has helped bring a new dynamic into the Texas State offense, as they have scored 63 or more points in seven of their last nine games.
Coupled with a new scoring punch, Texas State’s seen a consistent effort on the glass from their unit collectively. They have had five different members of their team lead in rebounds over their last nine games.
An unsung hero for the Bobcats is senior guard Marlin Davis, who has been playing off the ball much more since Asberry was inserted into the starting lineup. Davis leads the ‘Cats with 4.2 assists per game on the season.
These two teams match up well against each other, as they split their two earlier matchups against each other Jan. 1-2. The ESPN win predictor though does not see it that way as it gives Texas State a 68.5% chance of victory for the doubleheader. A sweep would put the Bobcats ahead in the standings and give them breathing room down the final stretch of the season.
The matchup to watch over both games has to be the battle that will take place in the backcourt. Harrell and Asberry will meet with Wilson and Russell, in an offensive back and forth duel. Between the two backcourts, they average a third of their teams’ overall points collectively and the key for either team to win will be limiting those points and keeping them under their season averages.
The showdown between Texas State and Louisiana will take place at 4 p.m. for both games on Jan. 29-30 at Strahan Arena. The games will be streamed on ESPN+.

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