Texas State turns around conference play with two straight wins

Texas+State+junior+guard+Garrett+Shaw+goes+up+for+a+layup+and+scores+in+the+final+seconds+of+the+Bobcats%27+game+against+Appalachian+State%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+11%2C+2019%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.
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Texas State turns around conference play with two straight wins

Texas State junior guard Garrett Shaw goes up for a layup and scores in the final seconds of the Bobcats' game against Appalachian State, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Strahan Arena.

Texas State junior guard Garrett Shaw goes up for a layup and scores in the final seconds of the Bobcats' game against Appalachian State, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Strahan Arena.

Kate Connors

Texas State junior guard Garrett Shaw goes up for a layup and scores in the final seconds of the Bobcats' game against Appalachian State, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Strahan Arena.

Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Texas State junior guard Garrett Shaw goes up for a layup and scores in the final seconds of the Bobcats' game against Appalachian State, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2019, at Strahan Arena.

Andrew Zimmel and Claire Partain

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After some tough losses and a slow start in conference, Texas State took it home with two straight wins at Strahan Arena, coming back with a 78-66 win over Coastal Carolina on Thursday and pulling off a convincing 82-57 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday.

The Bobcats dominated the Mountaineers on Saturday, leading by up to 34 points in the game behind four double-digit Bobcat scorers.

The ‘Cats got off to a quick start, holding the Mountaineers to 25% in the first half while shooting 62.5% themselves. Sophomore guard Mason Harell landed the first seven points in the game and put up 12 total points to help bring the Bobcats to an easy 41-20 lead into halftime.

Senior guard Nijal Pearson took the wheel in the second half, scoring 14 points and going on an 8-0 run in the half to take the ‘Cats to up to a 34-point lead before taking the game 82-57.

Pearson is now nine points shy of becoming Texas State’s top all-time scorer, a title he’s been working towards all season. Pearson scored over 20 points for the fifth consecutive game, turning in 22 points alongside five rebounds and two assists.

Three other Bobcats reached double digits in the match. Sophomore forward Alonzo Sule reached a season-high of 18 points and six rebounds, Harrell logged 15 points alongside three assists, two steals and one block, and junior guard Quentin Scott landed season-highs with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal in his first career start.

Scott said that he was surprised but prepared for his first start with the Bobcats.

“I did not find out I was starting until about 15 minutes before the game so I was really excited that I got the opportunity,” Scott said. “I have been playing basketball all my life, so I was not nervous or felt any added pressure. I was just locked in from tip and ready to go.”

The win came after a 78-66 victory over the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Thursday.

The Bobcats were able to take a lead early but struggled to hold on to it. From 7:09 in the 1st half to 9: 05 in the 2nd, the Bobcats were down by as many as 11 points.

The halftime mark was a time for the ‘Cats to recover and refocus, Head Coach Danny Kaspar said.

“We played with more energy the second half,” Kaspar said. “I don’t think we were dogging it the first half. They were hitting some shots, and playing very well, and that kind of knocked us down. Thank god the bell rang at halftime so we could gather ourselves.”

Coming out of halftime, the ‘Cats were able to get back on track with help from Coastal Carolina’s poor shooting, which dropped from 8-13 from deep in the first half to 0-11 in the second. After an 8-0 run with 9:05 left in the second, the Bobcats maintained a lead for the remainder of the game to come out on top with a 78-66 victory.

Sophomore guard Caleb Asberry said that what they lacked in the first half was made up for with more energy in the second half.

“Really it was energy,” Asberry said. “If you look in the first half, we played with no energy in the first half. None. Then we went to that zone, which we work on, and we shut them out.”

The game was historic for Pearson, who passed Travis Cornett on the program’s all-time scoring list and finished with 29 points on 11-20 shooting alongside four boards. Pearson also stepped up on a night where Harrell struggled with fouls, dishing out five assists in the match.

Isiah Small notched his first Division I double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 boards. Junior guard Marlin Davis and Asberry both were also able to give the ‘Cats 14 points, and Asberry shot a team-high 9-10 from the free throw line.

Asberry said that the team’s accurate free-throw shooting (.744) was a key component to the night’s win.

“The (free throws) were big,” Asberry said. “As a team we shoot great from the free throw line, just keep that up is really important. (Coach Kaspar) really emphasizes on making free throws.”

Despite the ‘Cats two home wins, Strahan has been disappointingly empty according to Kaspar, with less than 1,500 fans coming in to watch them play.

“I as coach I’m depressed with the lack of people in this gym,” Kaspar said “I felt like on Monday night when we came out and the guys saw how few people were there, it kind of got them down. I told them you can’t let that happen. If you keep playing hard and win they’ll come.”

The Bobcats will hit the road next with two straight games in Louisiana, suiting up against the University of Louisiana-Monroe on Thursday before a matchup against Louisiana on Saturday.

 

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