By Brenden Snow
Head Coach Danny Kaspar has always prided his teams on being hard-nosed and defensive oriented. That philosophy has lead Texas State to the number one scoring defense in the Sun-Belt Conference (SBC), but has prevented them from finding a groove offensively.
A recurring theme all season long, as on Saturday when the Bobcats held Georgia State team, with the number six scoring offense (75.7ppg before Saturday’s game) in the SBC to just 54 points in their own gym. The Bobcats, however, were held to a season low of 50 points. Resulting in a 54-50 final score between two teams expected to finish top five in the conference.
Texas State got out to a slow start as the Panthers scored the first eight points of the game while the Bobcats didn’t score until the 13:25 mark of the half. The Bobcats were able to claw their way back into the game quickly with a 14-5 run and take their first lead of the game at the 5:49 mark. The remainder of the half was a back-and-forth battle where the Maroon and Gold came out on top, 23-21 after 20 minutes of action.
Georgia State sophomore guard, D’Marcus Simonds, the Sun-Belts leading scorer was completely smothered in the half. Being held to just six points on 3/6 shooting and committing five first half turnovers. Simonds was also forced to play a little tentatively as he picked up two fouls.
On the other side, the Bobcats first half offense was lifted by some unexpected names. Shelby Adams, Deris Duncan, Eric Terry, Nedeljko Prijovic and the Texas State bench unit kept the ‘Cats a float by contributing 14 of the teams 23 points.
The second half seemed to follow a similar script to the first half. After a few minutes and trading baskets, Georgia State started to pull away and pushed their lead back to eight with 12:28 left in the contest.
As we have seen so many times before, the “Cardiac Cats” would not roll over and came storming back immediately, and with those same bench players from the first half playing a big part. Responding with a 13-4 run with buckets from Prijovic, Duncan and a go ahead jumper from Adams, restoring the Bobcats lead, 43-42.
Thanks to Nijal Pearson and Alex Peacock hitting the only two Texas State three-pointers of the game in that half, the team was able to boost their lead to four with 3:50 to play.
But then here came Simonds. The SBC Freshman of the Year in 2017 scored eight straight points for the Panthers and gave the home team a four point lead with 20 seconds left. After a quick bucket by Prijovic, Simonds would get sent back to the line for two big time free throws to clutch the game.
Simonds scored the Panthers final 10 points of the game and finished with 20 for the game to stun the ‘Cats. Georgia State also got a big contribution from junior forward Jeff Thomas. Thomas was the only other Panther in double-figures, tallying 14 points and two three-pointers.
Pearson finished as the only Bobcat in double-digits with 12 points on a not-so hot 5/14 shooting. Immanuel King recorded a nice looking game in the box scores, just missing a double-double with his 13 rebounds and nine points. No other Bobcat eclipsed six points in Atlanta and was due in large to the team’s 35 percent field goal and abysmal 2/16 three-point shooting.
This marked the eighth time the Bobcats failed to reach 60 points in a game. They are 3-5 in those games. The loss dropped Texas State to 3rd in the SBC with a 14-9 overall with a 7-3 record in conference play. Georgia State jumped the Bobcats for the second in conference with the win putting them at 16-6 with a 7-2 conference record.
The Bobcats and Panthers will meet again this season in San Marcos, late in February. For the near future the Bobcats will next host Coastal Carolina on Thursday. These two teams met earlier this season and Texas State won that one in 53-48 in Conway, South Carolina.
That game is scheduled for February first at 7:30 p.m. at Strahan Coliseum. The call can be heard on KTSW 89.9 or streamed at KTSW.net.
Featured image by Brant Freeman.
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