By Kyle Spencer
Texas State men’s basketball finished their first tournament of the year in Hawaii, and returned to San Marcos with a 2-1 record. The Bobcats were the winners in a tight tournament championship race.
The team flew out of Austin early Thursday morning and landed in Honolulu late Thursday evening. They had a quick turnaround Friday evening with a game against Florida Atlantic University.
The Bobcats defense shined bright in a 61-57 win over the Owls. FAU shot 33 percent from the field, and only knocked down six shots from behind the arc out of 20 attempts.
The Bobcats would then go on to play the hosting team, University of Hawaii. Texas State held a 12 point lead at half, but gave up 48 points in the second half to fall to the Rainbow Warriors 74-68.
Kavin Gilder-Tilbury had an impressive tournament. The senior, who was originally born in Hawaii, averaged 20 points and eight boards while shooting 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from three.
Gilder-Tilbury’s best game came in the final game of the tournament against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Tilbury finished the first half with 16 points and nine boards. Attributing to the Bobcats 49-24 first half lead. Gilder-Tilbury would finish with a double double, leading the Bobcats in rebounds with 12 and in points with 23.
Freshman Nijal Pearson had his coming out party in Hawaii, averaging 18 points per game and shooting over 60 percent from the field. Pearson, along with Tilbury, put up over 20 points in the game against SIU Edwardsville.
Both players were named to the Rainbow Classic all-tournament team. Gilder-Tilbury was named tournament MVP.
The Bobcats, as a team, did not have a turnover in the first half against SIU Edwardsville, and finished the game with only nine. Texas State shot the ball at a 57 percent clip and drained eight three’s out of 16 tries. The Cougars only made 17 field goals in 40 minutes of play and were out-rebounded 38-24.
The Bobcats do not play again until their home opener next Monday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and live coverage will be available on KTSW 89.9.