It’s never over until it’s over, as it were. The Texas State men's basketball team did a complete 180-degree turn around in the second half o Saturday against UT-Arlington to get back into the game, and eventually win 79-71 over the Mavericks at Strahan Coliseum.
Exactly two weeks from the day the Bobcats were in the exact same position up in Arlington. The Mavericks jumped out to an early lead in that one as well, but the Bobcats could not battle back dropped that contest by 17 points. In this contest Saturday, the first half was almost identical to the one in their previous loss as UTA forced Texas State to hoist up bad threes and not get anything in the paint on offense. The Mavericks, on the other hand, were getting any and everything they wanted on their offensive end. And talk about being the aggressor: UTA was pounding Texas State in a number of categories.
At the half, the Mavs were outrebounding the Bobcats 23-9, and also led in points in the paint, 13-2. They were muscling the ‘Cats inside with 18 points in the paint compared to Texas State’s two. So with all things considered, I’d say the Bobcats were lucky to be down 39-25 at the half. Texas State junior transfer Eddie Rios was the only player in double figures scoring at intermission with 13. If it were not for his 5-9 shooting (three three-pointers), his team would have been down by a lot more than 14.
So going into the final half of play, it seemed as if the ‘Cats would have to do everything differently than what they did in their previous 20 minutes of play if they wanted to get back into the game - and that's what they did. Led by a multitude of different players, the Bobcats played an extremely inspired half of hoops and made this a game rightful of Southland Conference Television play.
Texas State came out of the locker room extremely motivated on both sides of the floor. The Mavericks did not get their first point of the half until the 15:50 mark. In fact, to put things into context, the ‘Cats outscored the Mavs 32-10 in the first eleven minutes of the second half to take the lead. The Bobcats just got their acts together and became the aggressors out on their home floor, getting the job done through hard work and grit on the defensive end.
Texas State notched 22 of their 27 points off of turnovers in the second half and closed the rebounding gap, which made things a lot easier for the comeback. Like I said, the ‘Cats got it done by committee. They had four guys who ended up with double figure scoring. Rios led all scorers with 20 and Cameron Johnson had 16 points, eight rebounds while Travis Jones netted 15. Tony “Slim” Bishop finished with eleven points.
The win gave the Bobcats a little more breathing room atop the West division standings in the conference. Northwestern State also fell to Southeastern Louisiana Saturday, so with those two results, the Bobcats are now in first place overall in the Southland Conference standings at 7-3 (12-12 overall). This is Texas State's best start in league play in over a decade.
The Bobcats will be back in action this Tuesday to take on the islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:00 PM. KTSW will have pregame coverage starting at 6:45 on 89.9 and ktsw.net.
Robert Fisher, KTSW Sports
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