Jordan Mason lays up as a Louisiana defender tries to defend the basket. Mason finished the game with 11 points.
Photo provided by the Sun Belt Conference.
Texas State’s historic run ends in Semifinals
Texas State’s historic run ended in the Sun Belt Tournament Semifinals as the Bobcats fell to the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns 64-58.
The loss was disappointing for senior guard Drue Drinnon as the rollercoaster season came to an end.
“It definitely doesn’t feel good,” Drinnon said. “It’s been a rough season up and down. We came into this tournament trying to play our hardest. What hurts the most is that I have two of my seniors that don’t have a chance to come back.”
Coming into the semifinal showdown with Louisiana, head coach Terrence Johnson knew his team had a challenge ahead of themselves.
“It was a tough game for us,” Johnson said. “I thought we fought hard and had opportunities. We played against a very well coached and ultra talented team filled with older guys that have been together and are connected for some time … they had a great game plan.”
But despite the loss, Johnson is still locked arm and arm with his team.
“Those guys in our locker room, I’ll go to war with everyday,” Johnson said. “I’m just blessed to be coaching in San Marcos, Texas.”
It was a historic week for the Bobcats who came into the Sun Belt Tournament as the No. 11 seed while on a two-game losing streak.
After beating Georgia State in the first round, Texas State proceeded to beat both Old Dominion and Marshall to become the first double-digit seed in the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament to advance to semifinals.
“It’s been great,” Johnson said. “I saw the best come out of them this week. I saw them embrace every single emotion and connect with each other. They showed the kind of grit and toughness that this program was built on. They grew as teammates and as individuals.”
One of the keys to the deep run is a simple explanation.
“I’m going to try and be as humble as I can be but we are tough,” Johnson said. “We may not always be victorious but we are tough.”
Being apart of the team that was eliminated in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament last year despite being the number one seed, Drinnon said that winning in the tournament is a major step for a program looking to establish themselves as one of the top tier programs in the conference.
“It means a lot,” Drinnon said. “We haven’t done something like this in a very long time. This is a stepping stone that is setting us up for next year and to come in and do better. It’s motivation for next year.”
Along with Drinnon, Mason Harrell and Nighael Ceaser will all leave the Bobcats with a decorated resume including winning two regular season titles.
“One of things that makes this group special is that they deposit,” Johnson said. “You don’t want people to come into your program and take it. Those guys will leave this program better than they found it. They have been selfless throughout the journey and were fully committed. They gave their blood, sweat and tears as you saw tonight.”
Now Texas State looks towards the future of the program hoping to improve their regular season record while also looking to carry the momentum built off the historic run.
“If we don’t learn anything from this, it’s that there are no opportunities wasted,” Johnson said. “We have to take advantage of every moment.”