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Texas State could not hold off a Troy comeback as the Bobcats fell to the Trojans in an 84-78 loss. Above, graduate senior guard Ja’Kayla Bowie puts up a jump shot against Troy on Thursday. Below, Texas State celebrates after graduate senior forward Da’Nasia Hood sunk a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first half inside Strahan Arena. Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo

HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT: Bobcats fall to Troy after Trojans rally in fourth quarter

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Texas State couldn’t hold off a Troy comeback as the Bobcats fell to the Trojans in an 84-78 loss.

It was a thrilling game between two of the top teams in the Sun Belt Conference that ultimately turned sideways for the Bobcats during the fourth quarter.

“I know we provided an exciting game, especially against the No. 1 (team in the Sun Belt standings),” head coach Zenarae Antoine said. “Folks could see why they’re No. 1. We really struggled in that fourth quarter with execution — I don’t want to say really struggled. There were some critical execution errors that we had down the stretch that then led them getting to the free throw line. (Troy) shot quite a few free throws in this game. I was definitely saying my point to what I saw going on out there. We didn’t get to the free throw line the way they did, and I think that really helped give them the boost.”

Free throws became a major factor during Thursday’s game as Troy had 31 free throw attempts compared to Texas State eight.

While the uneven free throw attempts were concerning, Antoine was more worried about her team fighting through hardships and overcoming them while also implementing their gameplan.

“It’s like anything when you talk about adversity,” Antoine said. “You have to rise above it and avoid the retaliation fouls. What you have to do is do a better job of executing because most of the time it is out of our control especially when [the fouls] are uneven or if we didn’t feel like we had committed a foul. You have to play through that and move on. That is what we need to work on but I believe that our team has the capabilities of doing that which is going to be really important. We can’t let some of our errors affect us on the next play. When it comes to the discrepancy of fouls, you have to play through that.”

Playing against one of the most prolific offenses in the conference, Texas State, considered to be the best defense in the conference, held Troy to zero made 3-pointers in the entire game as the Trojans were 0-13 from beyond the arc.

“It’s one of the things we have been priding ourselves on this year is being great defensively,” Antoine said. “We are one of the top defenses in the conference so when you talk about a team that is prolific in scoring across the board, that’s a positive take away. I also thought we controlled the tempo pretty well leading up to that fourth quarter which is really important going up against a team like Troy.”

Despite the loss, Antoine looks to use the bright points that happened against Troy to propel the team towards the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

“February is when you want to peak,” Antoine said. “I saw a lot of positives today even though the game did not end up like we wanted it to be. We did some really good things in those three quarters so you take that information and use it moving forward.”

Texas State looked to rebound as the Bobcats host the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. Tipoff came after press time on Saturday.

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