Bobcats embrace goals ahead of road trip

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Basketball

Danny Kaspar knows his team needs to bounce back this week, and it scares him a little.

The fifth-year Texas State head coach is confident in his team. The Bobcats have bounced back before. But after a disheartening 80-55 loss to Louisiana on Jan. 20, Kaspar and the Bobcats (13-8, 6-2 Sun Belt) face two tough opponents on the road: Georgia Southern (14-6, 5-2) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and Georgia State (14-6, 5-2) on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

“We’ve been pretty competitive at Georgia Southern, if you look at our past scores,” Kaspar said. “At Georgia State, we have not had the luck. We have not been as competitive against Georgia State at their place. I would really love to go in and sweep them, but realistically, we could get a split on the road and I think most coaches in our league would tell you that a split on the road against these two teams would be a positive, a good trip.”

Kaspar highlighted Georgia Southern junior guards Tookie Brown and Ike Smith, and junior forward Montae Glenn as players that will give Texas State problems.

“Tookie Brown is one of the best players in the league and certainly one of the top two or three guards in the league,” Kaspar said. “Ike Smith is a first team all-conference player coming back. But they have a bunch of great shooters, and the best rebounder — second best rebounder in the league and the top offensive rebounder in the league — in Montae Glenn No. 0."

Kaspar called Georgia State a tough, but beatable team. However, playing the Panthers in their home arena makes pulling out a win harder.

“(Georgia State doesn’t) lose very many games (at home), Kaspar said. “They have a good crowd. Both schools have good crowds and good atmospheres that favor the home team.”

Kaspar wonders if his team has the leadership and toughness to bounce back on the road as the team prepares to take on Georgia Southern and Georgia State.

“The road is a very difficult place to win and you got to have tough, tough young men — mature, tough young men — to realize it’s still a game whether you’re at home or on the road, and we got to come play,” Kaspar said. “Secondly, you can’t be hurt. Right now we got Marlin (Davis)out for the year, and Tre (Nottingham) has done a good job popping in there and helping us.”

On this road trip, Kaspar wants to see his team regain its confidence. He doesn’t want Texas State’s offensive struggles to dictate how it plays defense. Kaspar is asking for his team to embrace its ability to grind out games with its defense.

“We’re a team that can surprise you with our scoring,” Kaspar said. “We’re not a 90-point-a-game team - very few teams out there are. But we’re not an 80-point-a-game team. We can surprise you and jump up there and get 70, 72, 74. But where we’re comfortable at is scoring in the mid 60s and holding the other team to 60 and below, and when we do that we have a good chance to win.

“I told the guys, ‘If you don’t embrace that, we’re not going to achieve our goals. We have to do a better job defensively on the boards. Stopping people from penetrating. Stopping people from fast-breaking us. Stopping people from getting second and third looks on offensive rebounds.’ That’s who we are.”

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