With the logjam that is the Southland Conference basketball standings, Texas State, like every other team, controls its own fate - they do not need help from anyone else. If they continue to win games, they will at least grab the No. 2 seed going into the Southland Conference Tournament. They are currently tied with McNeese State, which also won on Wednesday, for the number one team overall in league play.
As far as Wednesday’s contest, there was a pretty significant stretch where the Bobcats did not even look like a top-five Southland team, but still beat Southeastern Louisiana, 82-69. They jumped out early 14-6 at Strahan Coliseum, but did not take advantage of it and eventually allowed Southeastern Louisiana to get back into the game. The lead changed nine times and was tied six times in the first half as the score at intermission was rather close, 36-31 in favor of the Lions.
The two teams went into the locker room at the half playing extremely sloppy basketball with a total of 23 turnovers between them. However, Southeastern Louisiana was shooting 53-percent from the field (4/8) from deep while the Bobcats only connected on 39-percent of their first half attempts from 3-point land.
Then came the second period, and much like the end of the first, Southeastern was hot. They widened the margin in the first few minutes to eleven points, and the ‘Cats just looked dead. They did not seem to have much energy on either side of the ball and it showed up on the scoreboard. The crowd was starting to get restless mainly because of the 13-point deficit their team was facing at around the 15:00 mark, so Head Coach Doug Davalos had to make some changes. He put his Texas State squad into a 3-4 full court press and an extended 2-3 zone in the half court. These key changes on defense, and a new game plan to continually dump the ball inside to either Cameron Johnson or Tony “Slim” Bishop, propelled a 24-4 run by the ‘Cats that gave them the lead. Southeastern called timeout after timeout to try make Texas State cool off during the run, but it was unsuccessful. After that 20-point swing, the Bobcats eventually held a comfortable double-digit lead that they would able to maintain throughout the remainder of the game.
The underlying statistic that exemplified the “awe” of that impressive run was that the ‘Cats shot a whopping 78-percent from the field in the second half alone. Yes, it’s unbelievable, but it just goes to show how productive the Bobcats can be when they actually get the ball inside, something that must become a habit in these last few games of the season, and even more importantly in the post-season, if they want to be successful in the tournament.
The Bobcats had five players notch double digit scoring marks in the game, while the Lions only had two. For the ‘Cats, Bishop had another double-double with 22 points and ten rebounds and Eddie Rios netted 12. Ryan White and John Bowman both finished with eleven while Cameron Johnson had a career night with 16 points, which moved him up to eleventh place on Texas State’s all-time scoring list, and is only one point away from tenth place.
By the way, guess who holds that spot? Rudy Davalos, father of current Texas State Head Coach Doug Davalos.
With the win, Texas State is now 9-4 in league play. The Bobcats will be back on the court at the Coliseum this Saturday at 2:00 PM for the I-35 shootout with their long time rival, UT-San Antonio. It will also be senior night, or Senior Day I should say. KTSW will have pregame coverage starting at 1:45 on 89.9 and ktsw.net.
Robert Fisher, KTSW Sports
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