Texas State escapes with win over Troy

Photo by Gerald Castillo

Texas State Men's Basketball

Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar feels like he has to go to church twice on Sunday, maybe even three times, after the Bobcats escaped Saturday with a victory over Troy.

A narrow win.

A victory so slim that a different bounce would’ve handed Texas State a disappointing defeat.

Sophomore guard Nijal Pearson threw up a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left in regulation and the Bobcats trailing the Trojans 56-55. Pearson’s shot caromed off the rim, but found junior forward Alex Peacock’s hands. Peacock dribbled once and put the shot up. The ball hit the glass and  went through the basket to give Texas State a 57-56 lead.

Troy drove the length of the court with four seconds left after a timeout, and a Bobcat defensive lapse helped junior guard B.J. Miller find the lane wide open. Miller’s lay-up, however, fell off the rim. Miller dropped to the ground, so did Troy head coach Phil Cunningham. Peacock threw up his hands in jubilation.

Texas State held on for the 57-56 win.

“At first my heart sunk, and then I saw (the ball) pop out, I said, ‘Oh my God,’” Peacock said. “I said, ‘Wow, somebody is watching over me.’”

Kaspar, however, ended the night with mixed emotions. He was happy to pick up the win over  the Trojans, who defeated the Bobcats in the Sun Belt tournament championship in 2017, but was disappointed about an injury to starting point guard Marlin Davis. The sophomore from Houston fell on the court after his knee appeared to buckle early in the opening half. Texas State’s staff believes it’s an ACL injury.

“It does not look good on Marlin (Davis) as far as an injury, and I hate that, I really do,” Kaspar said. “(Davis) was just starting to come around and get my system, and he’s been playing great defense on opposing team’s players … Nevertheless, you know, I’m pretty upset about Marlin’s injury, and they're pretty confident it’s an ACL.”

But junior guard Tre Nottingham and freshman guard Shelby Adams played well in Davis’ absence. The duo combined for 11 points and seven rebounds.

Nottingham and Adams added to Texas State’s stout defensive outing. The Bobcats held Troy to 34 percent from the field and extended their winning streak to seven games when they hold teams to under 60 points.

Texas State’s defensive production aided it as it struggled offensively in the second half. The Bobcats’ leading scorer, Pearson, was held to 13 points. But senior forward Immanuel King scored 12 points and Peacock tallied nine points, none more important than his game-winning bucket.

“You lose Marlin (Davis). You had a chance to lose the game. We win the game on a lucky bounce, I feel very fortunate,” Kaspar said. “On the other thing I’ve got to say about this, for us to win this game without Marlin and Nijal (Pearson) playing poor offensively speaking talks a lot about our defense, I think, against a very talented team — Troy is a very talented team.”

Texas State (10-7, 3-1 Sun Belt) secured its first three-game winning streak of the season after Saturday’s victory against Troy (7-10, 1-3). And with the luck of one bounce, the Bobcats are feeling good about their chances during conference play.

“We’re a lot better than what our record shows, displays, especially the type of guys we got,” Nottingham said. “We’re very talented. We’re very deep. We’ve had some tough games that we let slip away in the beginning of the year, just thankful we let it go in the beginning of the year. Now we got to lock down and just learn how to finish games and that’s what we did (Saturday).”

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