By Jude McClaren
The Texas State men’s basketball team ended a two-game losing skid as they won a hard-fought battle against the Mountaineers of Appalachian State by a score of 74-71. As we’ve become accustomed to this season, the Bobcats continued to make history in the first half as Bobcat guard Nijal Pearson moved up to sixth in Texas State’s all-time scoring list.
Pearson wasn’t the only player on the court to start off the game on a hot streak though, as in the early minutes of the first half the ‘Cats traded baskets with Mountaineer guard Ronshad Shabazz, who was responsible for his team’s first 11 points, to make the score 11-9. The Bobcats then responded with a 8-0 run of their own, with big baskets from Bobcats Alex Peacock and Tre’Larenz Nottingham to make the score 17-11.
This would be the last time the Bobcats would have a substantial lead for the rest of the first half though, as Mountaineers Tyrell Johnson and Justin Forrest had momentum changing buckets to add on to Shabazz’s 17 points at halftime as Appalachian State also buckled up on defense to tie the game at 38 going into the locker room.
The Mountaineers continued their hot streak after halftime as they started off the second half on a 8-2 run to take the lead and put the game at 46-40. The ‘Cats responded scoring six points, while the Mountaineers hit a layup and three of their own to keep the Bobcats behind 51-46, causing Texas State Head Coach Danny Kaspar to call a timeout.
This was the turning point for the Bobcats, who call themselves “takers,” as the ‘Cats literally “took” the game back with a 11-5 run in response with two big three-pointers from Nottingham to give the Bobcats a 57-56 lead over the Mountaineers.
The ’Cats continued to play tenacious defense down the stretch causing multiple turnovers which contributed to 16 total turnovers at the end of the game. A big part of this defensive stand was Bobcat guard Jaylen Shead’s four steals, two of which were followed by momentous dunks that ignited a fire the Bobcat crowd and gave the ‘Cats a 65-62 lead late in the second half.
This was all followed by a Pearson three-pointer to give the Bobcats a six point cushion and cause a Mountaineer timeout. Appalachian State wouldn’t leave without a fight though as they continued to play hard and cut the ‘Cats lead to 70-68.
The Bobcats really embodied their “takers” nickname for the rest of the half, as when the Mountaineers tried to get back in the game the ‘Cats clawed them out by way of causing Appalachian State to go just two of 14 on their final 14 field goal attempts of the game. Subsequently, the Bobcats scored four more points to close out the game.
While the Bobcat starting lineup was a huge factor for this huge win, a bright spot off the bench was redshirt freshman forward Alonzo Sule who recorded 10 points and three rebounds and brought the ‘Cats an important boost of energy.
Sule was a part of four Bobcats who scored in double figures as Nottingham scored 18 points, Pearson recorded 19 points, and Shead dropped 15 points. This win moves the Bobcats to 18-5 on the season and 7-3 in Sun Belt conference play.
The Texas State Men’s Basketball team plays next on Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina University. Catch all the action on KTSW 89.9.
Featured photo by Texas State Athletics.