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Bobcats prepare to face 'dangerous' Trojans

Texas State Men's Basketball
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sitting at the postgame press conference following Texas State’s conference-opening 73-70 win over Georgia Southern, senior forward Alex Peacock proclaimed that he’s “tired of winning like that.”

It’s true, the Bobcats (14-3, 3-1 Sun Belt) have a flair for the dramatic. Last year, 14 of Texas State’s 18 regular-season conference games were decided by six points or less. 

And this season, the Bobcats have yet to buck that close-game trend. All four of their Sun Belt contests have come down to four points or less. 

“We went through that last year,” senior guard Tre Nottingham said. “We had a lot of games bounce our way last year. We also lost a lot of games closely last year, so we’re trying to prevent that this year. But sometimes other teams, they’re just playing good. We got to make it out of there by one point, two points, whatever it is. Either way a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ but we understand we can’t keep winning like that. Come March, March Madness, we understand we’ve got to lock down. We got to pick our pace. We got to be better.” 

Texas State is off to a good start in conference. But the Bobcats also know they could be undefeated, rather than 3-1. 

They hold the Sun Belt’s best defense in field-goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. But they’re also only shooting 65 percent from the free throw line, which is No. 10 in the league. Head coach Danny Kaspar says his team needs to improve in both aspects if it wants to remain in contention for the conference crown. 

His players understand things need to keep getting better as Sun Belt play continues. They also understand that everyone is going to give them a challenge this season. 

“Everybody is looking to play Texas State,” Nottingham said. “Everybody is coming for us. Everybody shows what they got, shows how they’re coming. We realize Coastal (Carolina), App State-, App State being 0-4, they’re not playing like they’re 0-4. They’re playing like they’re an undefeated team right now. We barely made it out of there alive. So, we understand that every Sun Belt team is ready to compete.” 

The Bobcats welcome Little Rock (7-10, 2-2) to San Marcos on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Arkansas State (8-9, 2-2) on Saturday at 4 p.m. inside Strahan Arena. 

Despite the Trojans’ lowly record, Kaspar believes Texas State will face a dangerous team on Thursday. 

Kaspar highlighted Little Rock redshirt junior guard Rayjon Tucker, calling him “an inside-outside threat. He can take it to the hole, he can shoot 3s.” Tucker leads the Trojans with 20.8 points per game — He’s the third-ranked scorer in the Sun Belt. Kaspar is also concerned about Little Rock starting point guard Markquis Nowell, who averages 12 points and 4.5 assists per game, and sophomore guard Jaizec Lottie, who’s scoring 13 points per game during conference play. 

“After watching them play, I’m a little surprised they’re only 7-10,” Kaspar said. “I thought their record would be better than that based on their athleticism and their talent level.” 

Nottingham and his teammates also recognize that the Trojans are better than their record. 

“We understand they’re coming into Strahan and we’ve got to stay calm and collected and not get caught into their game and just play Texas State pace, Texas State defense, and I feel like we’ll be all right. They’ve got a lot of weapons, so we’ve just got to strap down.” 

As for all the close games, Kaspar will take it as long as Texas State keeps winning. 

“I would love to have a blowout, but in the Sun Belt there aren’t too many blowouts,” Kaspar said. “It’s just the same old Sun Belt and you better play well or you’re going to get beat if you don’t.” 

San Marcos Record

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