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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 take down I-35 rival in home opener

Kobe Arriaga
Junior forward Christian Turner (30) hangs from the rim after a dunk versus UTSA, Friday, Nov. 17, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State men’s basketball (2-2) defeated I-35 rival UTSA (1-3) 72-62 in its 2023-24 home opener Friday night at Strahan Arena.

“It was a great turnout tonight and felt like the beginning of a special season for us,” Texas State Head Coach Terrence Johnson said. “I appreciate these fans, the coaches and this team for bringing culture to the floor.”

Junior forward Brandon Love powered the Bobcats to victory with a career-high 18 points and 14 rebounds.

“It felt good to finally beat them this year at home,” Love said. “That’s one thing our coaches emphasize is playing hard and getting boards, so that’s what we try to do.”

Love was joined by junior forward Christian Turner and junior guard Joshua O’garro in double figures.

Turner recorded 19 points and five rebounds while shooting 10-12 from the free-throw line, while O’Garro added 13 points and six rebounds.

The game stayed relatively close in the first half, with the Bobcats’ most significant lead being only six points.

Shooting struggles contributed to the close score between the two rivals as Texas State shot 1-9 from the three-point line in the first half, finishing 3-14 on the night.

Despite shooting struggles, the Bobcats remained dominant inside, scoring 32 points in the paint as opposed to the Roadrunner’s 14.

“Our threes weren’t hitting today, so we definitely had to get in the paint more,” O’Garro said. “It shows we can score the ball [in] multiple ways.”

The Roadrunners were led by junior guard Christi Tucker, who had 16 points and three rebounds.

In the second half, the Roadrunners experienced foul trouble with key interior players, forcing them into smaller lineups and switching to zone defenses in an attempt to stop Texas State inside.

The Bobcats took advantage of the smaller UTSA lineup on the floor, sparking a 7-0 run halfway through the second half. UTSA closed the deficit and made it a one-possession game with five minutes remaining.

In the final minutes, UTSA was forced to begin fouling, putting Texas State in the double bonus with just under a minute left in regulation.

Texas State sealed the game at the charity stripe to put away its I-35 rival 72-62 and pick up its first home win of the season.

Next Texas State will go on the road to compete in the Louisiana Tech MTE. The Bobcats’ first opponent will be McNeese State University (4-0). The Cowboys went 11-23 overall and 6-12 in the Southland Conference last season.

Tip-off between Texas State and McNeese State is scheduled for 12 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, Louisiana. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+ and the Varsity Network.

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