Photo by Lance Winter
Bobcats roll past Hardin-Simmons
Texas State did what it was supposed to do Tuesday night.
The Bobcats outclassed an overmatched Hardin-Simmons squad, 97-52, in front of a thin crowd of 1,118 inside Strahan Arena.
Why schedule a contest against a Division III school? Head coach Danny Kaspar’s answer is simple.
“The game and the way I schedule, the league lets us play two non-D1 games and I want to play one early to get some people's’ feet wet that like (Alonzo) Sule, who redshirted last year,” Kaspar said. “Okay, I’m sure (Sule was) just excited as can be to be out there. So, hopefully it settled him down and he did at the end. He settled down. He looked like a deer in the headlights for a while.
“But, I want to get these guys, you know, everybody on the team some playing and some action before we play four games on the road — two of them on a neutral floor and two at our opponent’s for the next four contests. And so, this game was scheduled so we can get everybody’s feet wet so to speak.”
Texas State (2-0) jumped out in front of Hardin-Simmons (0-2) early thanks to a jumper from senior guard Tre Nottingham.
The Bobcats extended their lead by feeding the ball inside the paint to junior forward Eric Terry. The Houston native used his height advantage to score a game-high 17 points.
“It was good matchups out there,” Terry said. “They were pretty small at the five position, so we really emphasized getting the ball inside and working out. So, I mean, I got the ball inside and I do what I do best and it worked out.”
The result was never in doubt for the Bobcats. Texas State took a 46-19 lead into the intermission. The Bobcats ended the game with their second straight win of the season.
“We feel good but we still got a long way to go,” Nottingham said. “It’s a long season. Not to downplay Hardin-Simmons or Air Force, those are two very good teams, but we know how our league is and what we need to prepare for. So, we try to get ahead of ourselves because we know how hard we work, it all comes down to the conference championship in the Sun Belt. So, that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Alongside Terry’s 17 points, Texas State had five other players finish the night in double digits. Nottingham was the team’s second-leading scorer with 13 points. Junior guard Jaylen Shead, sophomore forward Quentin Scott, sophomore guard Shelby Adams and redshirt freshman forward Alonzo Sule recorded 11 points each. It’s the first time the Bobcats have had six double-digit scores since Nov. 11, 2011 against Texas Lutheran.
Texas State outrebounded the Cowboys, 56-30. The Bobcats outscored their opponent inside the paint, 34-14. Texas State also went 28 of 32 from the free throw line.
Despite a blowout win, Nottingham said the team learned that it’s committing too many fouls.
“This game, there’s no reason they should’ve been in the bonus,” said Nottingham on Texas State’s 22 personal fouls. “I think it was 10 minutes left to go in the first half something like that they were already in the bonus. So, this game, we just got to be more prepared. We know what we’re capable of doing. We know what we bring to the table and how we’ve got to perform every night and we just got to focus on not fouling.”
Texas State begins a four-game slate of road games against Drake in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Drake,” Kaspar said. “I’ve played at Drake’s arena for a tournament back in the year one of my team’s at SFA won the league and went to the NCAA (tournament) and they have a raucous crowd. The night we beat Drake there were 8,000 people there and we had five … Yet, our guys pulled it out. Hopefully, this game going up there is good for us. It’s going to be a tough trip.”