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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 eases past Crusaders in first game of season

Texas+State+senior+forward+Quentin+Scott+%2814%29+shoots+a+contested+jump+shot+surrounded+by%26%23160%3BUniversity+of+Mary+Hardin-Baylor+defenders+as+the+bench+looks+on%2C%26%23160%3BWednesday%2C+Nov.+25%2C+2020%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+The+Bobcats+won+98-59.

Texas State senior forward Quentin Scott (14) shoots a contested jump shot surrounded by University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defenders as the bench looks on, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

Texas State men’s basketball cruised to a comfortable 98-59 home win in its opening game of the 2020-21 season against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Nov. 25.
Interim Head Coach Terrence “TJ” Johnson’s first game at the wheel saw Texas State in control of the game from the opening tip.
“I’m not so sure I coached that game [laughs],” Johnson said. “Overall, the most important thing for me was to calm my nerves and give these guys confidence to go out there and execute the game plan that Coach Dylan [Johnson] put in place.”
Johnson says he experienced some anxiety in the 48 hours leading up to the game and how his grandmother eased his worries.
“My grandmother is 82 years old and she believes in prayer… she prayed for me and it settled [my nerves],” Johnson said. “She told me [to] believe in myself and my ability to put them in the right place and then encourage them to do the things we taught them to do.”
Whether due to prayer or pure talent, Texas State did not need much time to settle in, starting the game with a 6-0 run and never conceding the lead. The Bobcats eventually stretched the lead to 18-6, at which point UMHB began to slowly close the gap.
An 11-5 scoring run from UHMB in the middle of the first half saw Texas State up 25-21 with 4:46 left on the clock.
Following a media timeout, the Bobcats closed out the first half scoring 13 straight points to lead 44-23 going into the break.
UMHB struggled with interior defense in the first half, particularly against the Bobcats’ big men like senior forward Isiah Small, who had eight points, going 4-6 from the field, to go along with two offensive rebounds in the half.
Junior guard Mason Harrell also found success in the opening half with nine points, two assists and two rebounds.
UMHB’s sophomore guard Josiah Johnson had nine points and two rebounds to lead the Crusaders.
The Bobcats began the second half with a 14-2 run to extend the lead to 33 points at 58-25. Junior forward Alonzo Sule spearheaded the run with six points.
The Crusaders were never able to recover in the second half, trailing by as much as 45 points with 3:35 left in the game.
Texas State dribbled out the last possession to take the 98-59 victory.
The Bobcats got into an offensive rhythm early on with evenly distributed scoring, as four players landed in the double-digits. Small led with 17 points (8-11), Harrell followed with 15 points (6-10), graduate guard Marlin Davis (4-7) and junior guard Caleb Asberry (3-6) each had 10.
A large part of that offensive rhythm was thanks to Harrell and Davis. Harrell accrued five assists, while Davis had four assists. Both players successfully moved the ball to help create open shots and pull up jumpers from mid-range throughout the game.
Texas State shot a combined 53.5% from the field and 35.7% from three-point land.
Small, as well as many of the guards, were instrumental in controlling the boards. Small led the team in rebounding with eight (six offensive), followed by Asberry with seven; Sule and Davis each finished with five.
Freshman forward Nate Martin is a player both the coaches and his teammates are excited to see develop.
“Right now I need to boost his confidence up…there’s something special about [Martin],” Small said. “He’s going to be special.”
The 6’8″ Martin finished with eight points and four rebounds in 11 minutes of action in his collegiate debut.
For UMHB, junior guard Carson Hammond had a game-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds and three assists. Johnson finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
Despite out-rebounding UMHB 49-31, Johnson expressed dissatisfaction with his team on the boards, saying the team’s excellent defense was often in vain after giving up easy offensive boards to UHMB. He partially pins that on the compromised practice schedule the team faced due to COVID-19 precautions and injuries.
“I’ve had eight players at practice [for] three or four weeks, and I didn’t wanna take a chance on losing any of them doing block-out drills,” Johnson said.
Johnson acknowledges that in the absence of former Texas State guard Nijal Pearson, other players will have to up their scoring averages from a year ago. He added that the team still has potential for success should they play as a team.
“We understand that there is no Nijal Pearson on this team; he’s not gonna walk in here, so we’re gonna do this by committee,” Johnson said. “Every night might not be your night, but every night can be our night if you play the right way.”
Small says he will be ready to step into whatever role the team needs him to be in. 
“They can throw the whole kitchen sink at me,” Small said. “I’m ready for it.”
Johnson saw the game as a test to gauge how the team would perform after all the challenges they faced in the offseason, particularly the tumultuous and drawn-out investigation and subsequent resignation of former head coach Danny Kaspar.
“[In the locker room] I told our guys, ‘This is about us,’” Johnson said. “No disrespect to [UMHB] but at the end of the day, we went through a lot of adversity off the floor…The off-the-court adversity—we’ve done a really good job of because we’ve had the help of the community, our family, our friends, but when you’re on that court all you have is you and your brothers.”
The Bobcats will go on the road to face Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. on Nov. 28. 

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  • Texas State junior guard Mason Harrell (12) points up the court during the Bobcats’ game against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • Junior guard Mason Harrell (12) flies through the air as he tries to get a layup to go against UMHB, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Texas State won 98-59.

  • Texas State junior guard Mason Harrell (12) dribbles up the court against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defenders, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Texas State won 98-59.

  • Texas State senior forward Isiah Small (1) drives down the lane and shoots a layup against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • Texas State junior guard Mason Harrell (12) converts a layup on the fast break against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • Texas State graduate guard Marlin Davis (5) dribbles along the baseline against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • Texas State senior guard Shelby Adams (4) shoots a contested baseline jump shot against a University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defender, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • Texas State junior forward Alonzo Sule (25) shoots a hook shot over a University of Mary Hardin-Baylor defender, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

  • The Texas State men’s basketball team poses for a picture after its opening night win against the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 98-59.

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