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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 season ends in hard-fought loss in semifinal round of conference tournament

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Mandalyn Lewallen
Texas State junior guard Dontae Horne (2) prepares to score a goal during the game against, Troy Friday, March. 1, 2024, at Strahan Arena.

Coming off a season in which they weren’t expected to do well in the postseason, 11th-seeded Texas State men’s basketball (17-18, 7-11 Sun Belt Conference) lost a hard-fought game to second-seed James Madison University (30-3, 15-3 Sun Belt Conference) 73-68 in the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at the Pensacola Bay Center on Sunday night.

The loss brings the team’s 2023-24 season to an end after a three-game regular season winning streak and two tournament upsets.

Junior forward Brandon Love led the Bobcats with 17 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes. Love lived in the paint this game, making multiple emphatic dunks to provide the Bobcats with energy.

Texas State’s second-leading scorer was junior guard Dontae Horne, who, in 19 minutes off the bench, netted 15 points. Horne scored several crucial buckets down the final stretch of the game, which nearly propelled the Bobcats to victory.

In the early minutes of the game, Texas State jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but James Madison took control, ending the first half up 37-29. In the second half, Texas State fought to extend its season, but it wasn’t enough to get the job done.

Texas State never led in the second half but got within three points on multiple occasions and tied the game at 55-55 with eight minutes left.

However, the Bobcats’ efforts were not enough, as they were forced to foul James Madison senior guard Noah Freidel with seconds left in regulation, cementing the loss.

Freidel led the Dukes with a game-high 28 points, making five threes and going nine-for-nine from the free-throw line.

The Bobcats’ season was not as good as fans may have hoped, but their run in the tournament was much more than some may have expected and was a positive end to an up-and-down season for a second consecutive year.

The Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship game will be between the James Madison and the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Monday, Mar. 11. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. at the Pensacola Bay Center in Pensacola, Florida, and will be available to stream on ESPN+.

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