In their most physical conference game thus far, the Bobcat men's basketball team revealed its resiliency and held on to a 73-62 win over A&M- Corpus Christi at home on Wednesday. The Islanders are arguably the best half court defensive team in the Southland (along with Northwestern State), and possibly the most physical. They are not a jump shooting team by any means. Instead, they pride themselves on defense and pound the ball inside on offense.
A&M-Corpus also has a lot of big bodies, particularly in their front court, so coming into Wednesday’s game, it seemed that this would be another big test for Texas State’s thin front line. I can honestly say that all of the doubt about the Bobcats' front court should be erased by now: Cameron Johnson, Tony Bishop, J.B. Conley and Matt Staff have played extremely well against the more sizeable front courts in the Southland this season.
However, they can’t get all of the credit. This group of guys has been getting it done as what they are: a team. In Wednesday's matchup, the 'Cats jumped out early and were up by as much as nine in the first half. However, a seven minute drought of no points at all had the score 25-all at halftime. Texas State only had four players who recorded a single basket, and Bishop was the only player in the game with double figures as he had ten points.
But oh boy, was he just getting started. The second half belonged not only to Bishop, but also Johnson and Ryan White late in the game.
On a side note, the 'Cats had an easier time in the second half. As Head Coach Doug oach Davalos said, “This was probably our best second half of defensive basketball all season.” Texas State forced the Islanders to commit 18 turnovers compared to just nine assists, and to put a cherry on it, they converted 25 points off of turnovers.
Now as for the offensive showcase by Bishop. He made things look beyond easy as he scored many different ways, knocking down the mid-range 15 footer, driving by the Islander big men for easy finishes (one he tried to dunk but was fouled at the rim), and converting on his freebies. Bishop was 6-6 from the free throw line and 7-9 from the field, which gave him 20 points on the night to go along with eleven rebounds, and oh yeah, two blocks that got the crowd out of their seats.
As for Johnson and White, neither player had a single point in the first half. Yes, one of Texas State’s better scoring options, Johnson - the team’s leading scorer - was scoreless at the half. However, Johnson managed to go 5-9 from the field in the second half and grab four boards that put him at 13 points (5-15 shooting) and nine rebounds. White on the other hand kept attacking the basket and A&M-Corpus did not have an answer for him. White went 11-12 from the charity stripe and 4-7 from the field in the second period that gave him 20 points and five assists when the final buzzer rang.
Islander star forward Demond Watt had another solid night against the 'Cats with his 20 points and 12 rebounds, but the Bobcats came together as a whole and they were just too much Wednesday night.
The win puts Texas State atop the Western division standings along with SFA, UTSA and UTA (the Bobcats' next opponent) all of which are 3-2 in conference. Texas State will travel to Arlington to face the Mavericks on Saturday, with tip off is set for 7:00 p.m. KTSW will have pregame coverage starting at 6:45 on 89.9 and ktsw.net.
Robert Fisher, KTSW Assistant Sports Director
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