Junior forward Christian Turner looks for an open teammate during the Bobcats game against App State. Turner finished the game with 11 points in the Bobcats win over the Mountaineers 63-56.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Davion Sykes hits the layup during the Bobcats game against App State. Sykes finished the game with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats stun App State in home win to extend winning streak
In one of the biggest wins of the season, the Texas State Bobcats stunned the Sun Belt Conference leading App State Mountaineers 63-56 to extend their winning streak three games.
The Bobcats were led by sophomore forward Davion Sykes who finished with both a game high 17 points and 11 rebounds while collecting his second double-double in the past three games.
“It’s a great win, especially building off the momentum that we have,” Sykes said. “Knowing that [App State] is the first team leading the conference and we were able to pull this out, there is high energy everywhere.”
Following up Sykes’ performance was sophomore guard Jordan Mason who finished the game with 12 points including going 2-3 from the three point line “It was a really big win for us,” Mason said. “We keep building momentum. Beating a top two team in the conference is always a good feeling.”
It has been a massive turnaround for the Bobcats and Head Coach Terrence Johnson, which started out conference play at 1-8 and have now rattled off three straight victories.
“Before this home stand we were going through some rough times,” Johnson said. “My grandmother reminds me that there are three stages of life, you are either in a storm, coming out of a storm or you are heading into a storm. I can tell you we were in a storm, but we were not drowning, although it may have seemed like it. Every raindrop was a puddle.”
Johnson also was happy to see that everyone had not given up on the Bobcats during the rough conference stretch.
“When you come to sunny San Marcos and you get the kind of crowd support from the community, family, student body, administration, the sun shines and dries us up,” Johnson said. “It lets us know we are standing on solid ground. It is an absolute blessing to be home and play in front of this crowd and great community. I’m happy we did what we needed to do to finish the job tonight.”
Texas State turned into the aggressors to start off the game as the Bobcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead before extending it out to 8-4.
App State responded by slowing cutting down the deficit and taking their first lead of the game at 14-12 following a made three pointer.
The Bobcats followed up with an outstanding 11-0 run capped off by freshman guard Kaden Gumbs’ layup to take a commanding 23-14 lead.
App State once again cut into the Bobcats lead but were unable to take back the lead before halftime as Texas State led 29-26.
The start of the second half saw App State once again answer the call as the Mountaineers were back in front 34-33 following the fast-break dunk.
Yet the Bobcats failed to back down and answered back with a 9-0 capped off with a thunderous dunk by Sykes.
App State once again was forced to fight back to retake the lead but the stingy Texas State defense continued to cause havoc on the Mountaineer offense to prevent them from taking the lead back.
The Mountaineers found themselves in a favorable spot as a quick 5-0 run cut the deficit down to two points as Texas State led 56-54.
On the next possession, senior guard Dylan Dawson converted one of the biggest shots of the night and the play of the game hitting a crucial jumper while being fouled.
Dawson converted the free three throw to complete the three point play to put the Bobcats up 5954 over App State.
The Mountaineers were unable to gain any points on their next possession, giving the ball back to Texas State which forced App State to foul.
Gumbs made the one and one free throws to extend the lead to 61-54.
Despite App State making two free throws, Sykes put the ice hitting to critical free throws to give the Bobcats the 63-56 win over the conference leaders.
“At the end of the day, you just have to keep going,” Johnson said. “That’s what we did. We printed out t-shirts saying don’t let go of the rope. We reminded the guys of who they are and what they have done to overcome. We also reminded them that it is the test that proceeds the testimony. This is a book that they are writing as their story and not one page.”
Texas State is back at Strahan Arena with a showdown with Ball State as part of the Sun Belt-MAC Challenge.
Tip-off is set for Saturday at 4 p.m.
cmcwilliams @sanmarcosrecord.com Twitter: @ColtonBMc