By Connor MacKinnon
The ‘Cats look to avenge a loss they had earlier in the season against the Georgia State Panthers. The last game was a highly “officiated” contest with Texas State having all the opportunities to win the game, but they simply could not.
Last time these two teams met the Panthers outscored the Bobcats 20-to-6 in the paint during the first half. Head coach Danny Kaspar noted the room for improvement in the Bobcat defense.
“One thing wrong we did on a certain player, number two Benlevi, he would screen on the ball and pop,” Kaspar said.
Coach Kaspar knows Panthers’ Malik Benlevi seemed to have his way with the ‘Cats by scoring 22 points. It seems from Coach Kaspar’s comments that his focus will be on limiting the impact Benlevi has on the game.
Unfortunately, Benlevi was not the only problem ailing the Bobcats. Poor shooting in the first half and misses at the free throw line contributed to their loss. What is even more shocking is junior guard Nijal Pearson was ejected with 11:54 remaining in the game.
Regardless, Coach Kaspar also mentioned the faith he has in this team.
“I’ve come to trust these guys that they know what’s at stake and that they are going to compete against these guys,” Kaspar said.
The trust in these players is not mistaken because even without Pearson on the floor the ‘Cats made a fourteen-point turnaround with the help of senior guard Tre’ Nottingham. Even though the comeback came up short, it shows the trust this team has in each other is true.
A weakness that Georgia State has had in the past is that they tend to use a small lineup. Coach Kaspar said he was incorporating this detail into the Bobcat strategy.
“Of course we will, if we have the height advantage, we are going to do that,” Kaspar said.
This strategy allowed junior forward Eric Terry to have an impact early on against Georgia State last time.
This Texas State team has unfinished business with Georgia State. This game will determine who will be number one seed in the Sun Belt Conference. The game starts Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. You can follow KTSW 89.9 for more details and updates.
Featured photo by Texas State Athletics.