By Joshua Orozco
The Bobcats started their fifth Sun Belt Conference tournament run with a 79-67 victory over the South Alabama Jaguars on Friday.
Texas State bounced back from losing three of the last five games to end the regular season, including a loss against the Jaguars just two weeks ago by 14. The Bobcats will be on the hunt once again in less than 24 hours in the semifinals against the number one seeded Georgia State Panthers.
Senior guard Tre Nottingham did not want his college career to go gently into a good night. With a 70 percent chance of precipitation in New Orleans, Nottingham made it rain threes inside Lakefront Arena. Nottingham totaled 19 points to lead the Bobcats in scoring.
Nottingham also surpassed Texas State alumnus Terry Conerway during Friday’s game for most 3-pointers made in a single season with 84 triples.
Following an upset victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, South Alabama came into their matchup against the Bobcats with no shortage of confidence.
Texas State played phenomenal defense out the gate, keeping the Jaguars’ leading scorer Josh Ajayi to only two first half points. The Bobcats pounced on the opportunity for an early lead with an 11-0 run over a six-minute period.
Alex Peacock once again ignited the offense early against the Jaguars by providing energy and second chance point opportunities. Peacock finished the Bobcats previous encounter with the Jaguars with a career high 20 points and six rebounds. In New Orleans, the story for Peacock was no different. The senior forward wrapped up the game with six rebounds to compliment his 17 points on the night.
South Alabama guard duo Rodrick Sikes and Herb McGee combined for 40 points, however, Texas State continued to put their foot on the gas. Not only did they lead at halftime but the Bobcats also allowed the Jaguars to lead for only 26 seconds throughout the entire game.
Following the result, the Bobcats increase their record to 17-1 when leading at the half.
Friday’s win marked an impressive effort from top to bottom from the Texas State roster. Nottingham, Peacock, Nijal Pearson and Jaylen Shead all finished with double digit points for the Bobcats in their semifinal matchup.
Head coach Danny Kaspar emphasized after the game how the ‘Cats reflected on the potential tournament run during their week of resting.
“It really was a matter of you either win or you die,” Kaspar said. “I feel like the leadership came around this week.”
Coach Kaspar improves to 18-14 in his career during conference tournament play.
The Bobcats advance to the Sun Belt conference semifinals and will battle the Georgia State Panthers at Lakefront Arena. Tune into Texas State’s next matchup tomorrow at 3 p.m. on KTSW 89.9.
Featured image courtesy of Kate Connors of the University Star.