University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) traveled to San Marcos Thursday night to take on the Texas State Bobcats. The Bobcats took care of business at home, winning 71-51.
This game was a tale of two halves. Texas State started the game by shooting 0-7 and they trailed at halftime 24-30. In the first half, the Bobcats shot a poor 23.1% and senior guard Nijal Pearson was 0-9 shooting from the field. On the other side, ULM guard Michael Ertel started the game hot, scoring 14 points in the first half.
But a different Bobcat team came out of the locker room to start the second half. A couple defensive adjustments were key into shifting the momentum, including starting junior guard Shelby Adams on Ertel. Adams not only held Ertel to 4 points in the second half, but also scored a season-high 12 points himself. Post-game, Adams talked about his defensive assignment and what opened up offensively for him.
“Coach always preached about how defense can help us win games, so my state of mind was just coming in and trying to lock down Ertel as best as I can,” said Adams. “I knew offensive was going to come eventually as long as I just kept cutting and moving without the ball.”
Speaking of cutting, a major momentum shifter came after Adams received a beautiful pass from Pearson on a back door cut to finish the layup with a foul. Although Pearson continued his offensive woes, ending 2-16 from the field, he did all the little things in the game. He brought heart, hustle and leadership and still played a major role in the victory.
The Bobcat bench was the story in this game, outscoring ULM’s bench 36-6. The maroon and gold were also very disruptive defensively, forcing 13 turnovers. These turnovers led to easy Bobcat buckets at the other end and were a big reason Texas State was able to get back into the game.
The Bobcat student section was rowdy tonight and brought energy that the players could feed off of. Head coach Danny Kaspar applauded the fans and students for showing out this game.
“I just love it. Students are doing great jobs,” said Kaspar. “I’m really, really proud of our students and the energy they’re generating in our players.”
Texas State now looks ahead to Saturday’s matchup at home against The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The Bobcats faced the Ragin’ Cajuns Jan. 18 in Lafayette and won that game 68-59. Pearson led the way with 18 points while Mason Harrell and Isiah Small each added 12 points of their own. Texas State controlled the game, remaining in the lead for a total of 38 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Bobcats defended well and held the Ragin’ Cajuns under 60 points. Texas State is 9-0 this season when holding their opponents under 60 points.
Along with tough defense, Coach Kaspar talked about a small adjustment to avoid another poor shooting half like Thursday night.
“We weren’t patient enough and we shot some bad shots,” said Kaspar. “So, lets show a little patience if we don’t get a good look quick.”
Saturday’s game will be played in Strahan Arena this Saturday, Feb. 1 at 4:30 p.m. We will find out if the Bobcats can hold off LA Lafayette again and get another win in front of the home fans before starting a two-game road trip.
Featured image by Nathan Rarangol.