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Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State ‘takes’ game against Little Rock in blowout fashion

Texas State Men's Basketball
Friday, January 18, 2019

Texas State’s new pregame shirts stood out. 

A handful of Bobcats donned black shirts with the word ‘Takers' emblazoned on them in big white print.

That word embodies what Texas State is trying to do this season. It’s a mentality that sprung from former Bobcats Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, Ojai Black and Bobby Conley during the 2016-17 season. Junior guard Nijal Pearson, however, admits the team got away from that mindset during their disappointing 15-18 campaign last year. 

But on the night Texas State unveiled their new warm-up garb, the Bobcats were the 'Takers,' blowing past Little Rock, 80-62, in front of a modest crowd of 2,107 inside Strahan Arena on Thursday. 

“'Takers,' I mean, that’s just who we are,” said Pearson, who came into Thursday’s post game press conference wearing the ‘Takers’ T-shirt. “We just pride ourselves off that. It’s something like our identity. We take games, close games, blowout games, that’s what we want to pride ourselves off of. 

“If the game is close, we’re going to make the plays to make sure we win the game. We’re going to take it. We’re not going to leave it up for grabs. It’s something we’ve got to stamp ourselves as and live off it.” 

Texas State (15-3, 4-1 Sun Belt) lived off that ‘Takers’ mentality in the second half of Thursday’s game after falling behind 31-30 to Little Rock (7-11, 2-3) at the half. 

“We got in the locker room and talked to each other,” Pearson said. “We said, ‘let’s lock in. We’re better. We know we’re better. Let’s be better.’ That’s all it was. Let’s just be who we are. I’m not going to say we started out the game flat but we kind of didn’t know what to expect. But when we got going. We just got going.” 

The Bobcats came out of the intermission strongly with a 3-pointer from senior guard Tre Nottingham followed by an old fashion 3-point play from junior forward Eric Terry. Texas State saw itself up by five after senior forward Alex Peacock knocked down a basket from beyond the arc. 

Then the Bobcats seized control of the game when Little Rock sophomore forward Kris Bankston elbowed Terry in the throat. Bankston received a flagrant two foul and was ejected from the game. 

Freshman guard Mason Harrell swished both free throws after the flagrant and Nottingham sank a 3-pointer to give Texas State a 48-38 advantage. 

“We just kind of rallied around (the flagrant foul),” Pearson said. “We were already picking up some momentum and that just kind of shot us on a rocket. And we wanted to make sure when we got going, we stayed going.” 

The Bobcats held a 62-44 lead following another Nottingham 3, but the Trojans began chipping away at the deficit. 

Little Rock got as close as 64-56 after a jumper from redshirt junior guard Deondre Burns. But Texas State made sure to end the threat, finishing the game on a 16-6 run, to claim their third straight Sun Belt win. 

After their first four games were decided by four points or less, Nottingham said it felt nice to win a game by a comfortable margin. 

“We executed tonight,” said Nottingham, who paced the Bobcats with a game-high 24 points. “Got away from the close games that we usually be having and we just came to play hard and the outcome was in our favor.” 

Pearson, who continues to play with a facemask after breaking his nose on Jan. 5 against Georgia State, added 19 points and three rebounds. Terry tallied 11 points and three rebounds. 

“Tre Nottingham, you know, really shot the ball well tonight,” head coach Danny Kaspar said. “He was key to our victory. You know, I thought we could’ve gone inside more to Eric Terry, probably should have. You know, with Tre going 5 for 8 and Nijal going 4 for 9, I’ll take that 9 for 17 at the 3-point line.” 

The Bobcats continue conference play on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Arkansas State (8-10, 2-3). 

Texas State plans to attack its next game as it does every game. 

The Bobcats will try to continue being ‘Takers.’ 

San Marcos Record

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