By Connor MacKinnon
Sometimes in order to succeed one must struggle, and Texas State men’s basketball team did just that. The Bobcats were able to win 77-64 against a scrappy Red Wolves team, Bobcats are now tied for first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 5-1 conference record.
The game started slow and sloppy with poor plays from both sides. Senior guard Tre’Larenz Nottingham seemed to be the only shining light for the Bobcats providing back-to back-layups within a span of a minute plus to make the score 18-21 with the Bobcats trailing.
Towards the end of the first half, the Red Wolves were not making it easy on the Bobcats by going on an 8-0 run started by Red Wolves sophomore guard Marquis Eaton, who was on fire in the first half by getting the lead up to 20-28 in favor of the Wolves with nearly four minutes remaining. The Bobcats continued to claw their way back in it and did so by Nijal Pearson drilling a three-point at the end of the buzzer to tie the game 32-32.
The momentum from Pearson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer carried over into the second half when Alex Peacock put on both offensive and defensive clinic in the opening period, which surged the Bobcats into 20-0 run. The lead grew to a 52-32 because of the run with nearly 13 minutes remaining in the second half.
Red Wolves continued the fight with a great effort from Ty Cockfield, who was relatively pedestrian in the first half, started to put on a light show in the second half, showing why he is the leading scorer in the Sun Belt Conference. Pearson responded by scoring 19 points in the second half to quiet the Red Wolves team. The closest the Red Wolves got was when Bobcats were up 69-61 with nearly two minutes remaining.
All and all, it was a historic night for Pearson who recorded his fifth career double-double–the only double-double of the 2018-19 season thus far. Pearson also moved up eighth in Texas State all-time scoring list surpassing former Bobcat, James Patrick. Coach Kaspar also made it into the record books; tying Robert Lee (Louisiana) for the most Sun Belt Conference wins.
This was an impressive outing for the Bobcats; they were able to out-rebound the 46th ranked rebounding team in the nation while holding the 86th ranked free-throw percentage team in the nation to a mere 66.7 percent from the line.
Texas State will be facing Georgia State next Thursday at 6 p.m. to see who will be number one in the Sun Belt Conference. You can follow at KTSW 89.9 for more details and updates.
Featured Image courtesy of Texas State Athletics.