State guts out 'ugly' win over Little Rock

Men's College Basketball
“I don’t care how ugly it looked to you, it’s a beautiful win to me."

Ugly wins hold the same value as pretty ones.

Following his team’s 56-49 win over Little Rock, Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar prefaced the opening statement of his post-game press conference by saying there wasn’t much he could say about the offense during Saturday night’s game in which both teams shot under 36 percent. But the sloppy affair still resulted in a win. The game didn’t feature an overabundance of turnovers (26 combined). It wasn’t a badly played game with errors abound, either. It was just two teams that defended each other to a near stalemate. Both teams were held in the single digits until midway through the first half.

“I don’t care how ugly it looked to you, it’s a beautiful win to me,” Kaspar joked as his Bobcats (14-9, 7-4 in the Sun Belt) held Little Rock’s top scorers, Marcus Johnson Jr. and Lis Shoshi to a combined 3-of-18 shooting.

Shoshi, who’s still working his way into form after nursing a foot injury over the past month, didn’t record his first field goal until the 15-minute mark in the second half. Johnson was hounded by senior guard Ojai Black all game and finally hit his first shot on a 3-poiner with just over two minutes to play.

 “We keyed in on Marcus Johnson a little bit and we knew he’s a pretty good player for them,” senior forward Kavin Gilder-Tilbury said. “Ojai did a phenomenal job on him. We just had to contain them and not let them have great games which is pretty much what we did. We stuck to the game plan.”

Black played 29 minutes despite telling assistant coach Terrence Johnson prior to the game that he was feeling under the weather. Kaspar himself was dealing with the flu all week and Gilder-Tilbury missed practice Monday and Wednesday to nurse a pulled muscle. It perhaps wasn’t as surprising that Saturday night’s game played out the way it did. Gilder-Tilbury still dropped a game-high 15 points including a much-needed 3-pointer at the top of the key with just over a minute remaining.

Little Rock’s Kemy Osse scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half and spearheaded the Trojans’ late 9-0 run. Back-to-back turnovers from seniors Bobby Conley and Gilder-Tilbury kept Little Rock within four during the final two minutes. Little Rock connected on three consecutive shots from beyond the arc and cut Texas State’s double-digit lead to four before the Houston native took matters into his own hands with the shot clock winding down.
“I saw the shot clock was at like three or four seconds and I rose up and shot the ball with no conscious,” Gilder-Tilbury said.

When Little Rock began to its last push in the second half, Texas State was asked to do something they hadn’t consistently done all season long — make free throws.

After shooting a mere 36.4 percent from the charity stripe in the first half, the Bobcats closed the final three minutes of the game making 12-of-16 from the line.

All three schools tied for first in the Sun Belt lost this weekend meaning that Texas State is just 1.5 games out of first place with Arkansas State (18-8, 9-3 in the Sun Belt) oming to Strahan Coliseum Monday night at 7 p.m.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666