By Reily Chestnut
In a game that many basketball fans were expecting Texas State to put away early… they responded. For the third time this season the Bobcats scored over 90 points on their way to a 105-29 victory over Howard Payne University in Strahan Arena. What a fitting way to close out non-conference play and the calendar year.
The only time you could consider this game for Bobcats fans as fearful would be before the tip and early on in the first half. Head Coach Danny Kaspar fielded a smaller lineup due to the absence of starting forward Alex Peacock and his back up Quentin Scott due to ankle injuries. Bobcat broadcaster Bill Culhane stated in the pregame that both are hopeful for Thursday’s conference opener against Georgia Southern. In their absence sophomore guard Shelby Adams got his first career start on a night that the ‘Cats would be playing without a true power forward.
Early on, it seemed that Kaspar’s guys had to shake off some rust from Christmas break before Pandora’s box was opened. The ‘Cats came out shooting 5-of-16 and 4-of-8 from the FT line while leading HPU 16-9. Then, as if all at once, the avalanche of Bobcats basketball washed over HPU with suffocatingly quick efficiency. Turnovers were introduced to the mix that led to the largest margin of victory the program has ever had. In the end, TXST forced HPU to commit 33 turnovers that turned into 53 points for the home squad.
Starters Tre Nottingham, Nijal Pearson, Eric Terry and Adams would lead the way by posting double figure scoring efforts. Nottingham led the bunch for the second straight game with 22 points, four treys and five steals. Pearson was his equal with 22 points of his own while Terry produced 11 points and five rebounds in just 18 minutes on the floor. On this night though Adams wasn’t merely “holding the seat” while Peacock was out. The former Judson High School Rocket earned his first career double-double of 11 points and 10 boards while giving out three assists and taking away three Yellow Jackets passes. All were apart of total domination from start to finish as 2018 draws to a close with the ‘Cats finishing non-conference 11-2.
Next up on Thursday, Texas State will face all-conference guard Tookie Brown and the Georgia Southern Eagles in San Marcos. You can look at the significance of this conference opener through two lenses. Either the ‘Cats 11-2 start is legitimate, especially after how close they came to defeating Arkansas in Fayetteville and never let the Razorbacks get away. Or, the ‘Cats overall non-conference schedule was relatively easy considering how much experience the ‘Cats brought back after last losing just two starters over the off-season. We’ll find out Thursday night at 7 pm which side will face reality about the Texas State Bobcats men’s basketball team.
Featured photo by Texas State Athletics.