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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’s early dominance weathers ULM resurgence

Senior+forward+Isiah+Small+%281%29+shoots+a+free+throw+against+the+University+of+Louisiana+at+Lafayette%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+2%2C+2020%2C+in+Lafayette%2C+Louisiana.+Texas+State+mens+basketball+won+71-59.

Senior forward Isiah Small (1) shoots a free throw against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2020, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Texas State men’s basketball won 71-59.

After dominating the majority of the game, Texas State men’s basketball (10-4 overall, 4-1 Sun Belt) withstood a late rally by the struggling University of Lousiana-Monroe Warhawks (4-10, 2-5) to win 57-47, picking up its fourth straight victory.
With this win, the Bobcats secured their fifth win in six straight road games, their only loss being the first stop on the long journey back to Strahan in overtime against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. This is ULM’s fifth loss in a row and second straight by 10 or more points.
Texas State started the game hot with a pair of three-pointers made by junior guard Caleb Asberry and senior forward Isiah Small. Asberry continued the hot streak into this game, scoring all of his 11 points (4-7 FGS, 2-4 3PTS) in the first half.
The often overshadowed junior forward Alonzo Sule took center stage for the frontcourt in the first half with seven points (3-5 FGS). For the half, the Warhawks shot 29.4% (5-17 FGS) from the field. No ULM player scored more than three points in the first half, failing to break down the suffocating Bobcat defense. ULM’s first and last lead was when it went up 2-0 with 17:36 to go.
ULM was not completely inefficient on the court in the first period, as they stopped Bobcat scores several times, including zero points for Texas State from 4:25 to 0:54. This dry spell for the visitors encapsulated a larger stretch of weak offense in the latter part of the first half — from the 10:01 mark until the teams returned to the locker room, the Bobcats only scored six points to finish the half leading 27-13. Were it not for the typically staunch Texas State defense, ULM may have closed the gap.
The Bobcats returned to the court with their defense just as stifling as ever, allowing eight points from the start of the second half to the 13:21 mark. In that same time span, the scoring duties were passed from Asberry to Small, who picked up 12 of his 15 points (5-8 FGS, 4-6 FT) in the second half, two of those coming off a no-look backward pass from junior guard Mason Harrell for a dunk on the fast break with 16:06 left to extend the lead to 34-19.
Asberry shifted to a more defensive role, sweeping up boards whenever they became available, while Harrell’s shiftiness in the paint created some highlight plays. Harrell received the ball from Asberry near the corner before performing a driving lunge at his man and banking the ball just below the top of the glass and in to widen the lead to 17 points with 15:37 left, the biggest one of the game so far for the Bobcats.
A made jumper from graduate guard Marlon Davis brought Bobcat dominance to its apex — 23 points ahead, 49-26 with 10:02 left, yet no end in sight for the ULM defense.
From there, Texas State seemed to ease off the gas, failing to find space or open shooters, often conceding rebounds to an increasingly urgent ULM, who began to engage in a full-court press. The withering of the Bobcat shot clock seemed to work for the Warhawks, allowing junior guard Marco Morency to take over the aspiring comeback with his 15 second-half points (18 PTS, 7-11 FGS, 2-3 3FG, 6 REB).
ULM looked like a match for the top team in the Sun Belt West Division for the last seven minutes of the game, halving the lead from 20 points to 10 to bring the score to 57-47 with 0:29 left until the end of the game. ULM’s scoring frenzy came too late to make a difference on the season record, but they plan on carrying their momentum into the next game.
Texas State will look for a potential fifth straight win when both teams tipoff again at 4 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. The rematch will be streamed on ESPN+.

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