By Nick Erskine
1.) Rams’ Offense: Texas Wesleyan was paced by transfers Sam Akano with 16 points and Merv Lindsay with 15 points. Lindsay got off to a hot start early in the first half, scoring 11 quick points. However, he was held to only four points in the second half. Akano was the most efficient Ram on the evening, shooting 6-13 from the field. Akano and Lindsay were the only two Rams players to score in double figures, as the next highest scorer had just six points. Texas Wesleyan was stymied by Texas State’s defense all night, shooting only 38% as a team from the field and just 22.7% from behind the arc.
2.) Bobcats’ Defense: Texas State’s hustle and tenacity in regards to diving on loose balls and taking charges was evident throughout the game. However, the Bobcats were actually outrebounded by the NAIA’s Rams, 38-36. Considering Texas State is undersized, all players, including the guards, will need to step it up this season in regards to helping out on the boards. The Bobcats were also scored 27 points off the Rams’ 18 total turnovers. Coach Kasper has had a number one ranked national defense during his tenure at Stephen F. Austin University, so it is no surprise that the Bobcats got after it during their first game action of the season.
3.) Bobcats’ Offense: Texas State struggled offensively last season, finishing in last place in Sun Belt Conference play in many scoring categories. However, it appears early on that the Bobcats have impressive offensive depth coming into this season. The squad had four players in double figures, led by Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll second-team player Emani Gant’s 16 points. Jamarcus Weatherspoon, in his Bobcat debut, poured in 13 points and led the team in assists with four. As a team, Texas State was relatively proficient throughout the night, shooting 44.4% from the field. The three-point shooting was solid at 33.3%, but the free-throw shooting was a meager 61.9% from the charity stripe.
4.) Final Thoughts: There were 1,700 fans in attendance, which isn’t too bad considering this matchup was merely an exhibition game. The Bobcats struggled early on with their outside shooting, but they were able to pick up the slack in the second half. With only five returning players from last season’s squad, the newcomers showed a lot of promise for Bobcat Nation. Transfers that the coaching staff is very high on, including JaMarcus Weatherspoon, D.J. Brown, Ethan Montalvo and Cameron Naylor, all made a big impact on tonight’s game. Texas State has plenty of time to get ready for one of the top teams in the nation, University of Texas, which they will face on Dec. 13. The first six opponents, prior to playing UT, all had sub-.500 records last season.
Next up for the Bobcats is a trip to Seattle at 9 p.m. Friday. The game can be heard on KTSW 89.9 FM.