Texas State splits East Coast road trip

Texas+State+guard+Caleb+Asberry%2C+%282%29%2C+runs+to+block+ULM+Jaden+Hodge%2C+%2813%29%2C+Thursday%2C+January+30%2C+2020%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.+Photo+credit%3A+Katelyn+Lester
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Texas State splits East Coast road trip

Texas State guard Caleb Asberry, (2), runs to block ULM Jaden Hodge, (13), Thursday, January 30, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Photo credit: Katelyn Lester

Texas State guard Caleb Asberry, (2), runs to block ULM Jaden Hodge, (13), Thursday, January 30, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Photo credit: Katelyn Lester

Texas State guard Caleb Asberry, (2), runs to block ULM Jaden Hodge, (13), Thursday, January 30, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Photo credit: Katelyn Lester

Texas State guard Caleb Asberry, (2), runs to block ULM Jaden Hodge, (13), Thursday, January 30, 2020, at Strahan Arena. Photo credit: Katelyn Lester

Aidan Bea

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Texas State (15-10, 8-6 in Sun Belt) split a road trip out east this week, winning against Coastal Carolina in a dominating fashion on Thursday but falling short against Appalachian State (14-11, 8-6 Sun Belt) in a 60-57 heartbreaker on Saturday.

The Bobcats were without their leading scorer, senior guard Nijal Pearson, due to the birth of his baby girl on Saturday.

Head Coach Danny Kaspar said the team was able to adjust without Pearson.

“You just have to ask players to step up and play hard,” Kaspar said. “We knew we were going to lose some scoring, so we knew it had to be a low scoring game. We have to manage our possessions. That’s what we did, and they hit a three with 19 seconds left to go up and we missed a three at the buzzer.”

Despite this, the Bobcats still managed to compete and put together a strong first half. Texas State was up by as much as 18 points with three minutes left before Appalachian State went on a 13-0 run to narrow the lead to five before the break.

The second half, however, was tightly contested. Texas State held the lead for most of the half before slipping late in the period, allowing the Mountaineers to close out the game on a 12-2 run capped off by a three-pointer with 18 seconds left to take the lead.

Texas State shot better from the floor than the Mountaineers but managed to only shoot two free-throws the entire game, going 1-2 while Appalachian State made 13-21 free-throws. Sophomore guards Mason Harrell and Caleb Asberry both pitched in 11 points and junior guard Marlin Davis had a season-high 11 assists, but it was not enough as three Mountaineers scored in double-digits to lift themselves over the Bobcats.

The loss came after the ‘Cats increased their win streak to three in a high-scoring 100-63 rout of Coastal Carolina on Thursday evening in Conway, South Carolina.

The Bobcats won the game on both sides of the floor, shooting 62.5% from the floor while forcing 16 turnovers and holding the Chanticleers to 37.5% shooting. The Texas State bench made the difference as they outscored Coastal Carolina 47-28.

Kaspar said that their excellent two-way play led to their victory.

“It was just one of those nights where we played well, both offensively and defensively, everyone played well,” Kaspar said. “There was a lot of energy and focus. They got it done.”

Texas State never trailed in this game and came out hot, shooting 4-7 from three in the half and 8-9 from the foul line. The Bobcats went into halftime with a comfortable 48-27 lead.

The second half was more of the same as the Bobcats continued their aggressive offense and defense, scoring 52 points in the period while only allowing 36.

Kaspar said the team broke the spirit of the Chanticleers.

“We came out playing well,” Kaspar said. “We shot the ball very well, we were defending them very well. We went up on them 23 at halftime, came out and scored like the first six points and the other team just seemed to melt pretty quick. The other team just lost their desire to play, and that happens sometimes.”

Five Bobcats scored in double-figures, led by Pearson with 20 including 3-3 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Alonzo Sule had a strong game with 15 points and seven rebounds while sophomore guard Mason Harrell chipped in seven assists to go along with his eight points.

Nijal Pearson will be back in the lineup Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. as the Bobcats come back to San Marcos for their next game against the conference-leading Little Rock Trojans.

Kaspar kept it short when discussing the game plan against Little Rock and said that their goal is simple: play tough as hell.

“The game plan is to play tough as hell and win the game,” Kaspar said.

Little Rock has been playing very well recently and has won seven games in a row. The Trojans have also scored over 80 points four times over this stretch of victories.

Little Rock is led offensively by sophomore guard Nowell Marquis who averages an efficient 17.5 points a game behind 90.5% free throw shooting and 38.9% from three.

Tip-off against the Trojans is at 7p.m. on Thursday at Strahan Arena.

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