By Tyler Williamson
NEW ORLEANS — Bobby Conley, in his first Tournament game as a Bobcat, buried a game winning three-point shot with 2.5 seconds to lift No. 7 Texas State 63-61 over the No. 6 seed Georgia State in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Trailing by 13 at halftime, the Bobcats outscored Georgia State 42-27 in the second half. Earning their second straight trip to the Sun-Belt Conference Tournament quarter-finals.
With less than a minute to go, Kavin Gilder-Tilbury made a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a one-point lead, but Jeff Thomas answered with a layup to put Georgia State up 61-60 with 11.2 seconds left. The next play Ojai Black gave a dribble hand off to a wide-open Conley, who answered with a deep 3-pointer from the left wing for the win.
Gilder-Tilbury finished the night leading the Bobcats with 18 points, 13 in the second half, and hit four of Texas State’s seven 3-pointers. Ethan Montalvo left in the second half with an injury, so Maljhum McCrea came off the bench and had one of his best nights with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Emani Gant finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds for his 8th double-double of the season.
Coming into the post-season play Conley and McCrea averaged a combined 5.3 points per game, together they scored 16 of the ‘Cats 19 bench points.
After winning the Sun Belt Tournament last year and upsetting Baylor in the first round of last years NCAA tournament, Georgia State’s season now comes to an end in heart breaking fashion.
Texas State’s season will now continue on their tournament run as they will take on the No. 3 seed, UT-Arlington, Friday night at 7:30 p.m in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals.
The last time the Bobcats played the Mavericks, they lost 75-69 in Arlington, mainly because Texas State shot 13-27 from the free throw line.
Featured image by Madison Tyson.