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Above, Texas State junior forward Nate Martin fights through a block during Thursday’s game against Marshall. Martin had career-high 16 points in the Bobcats’ loss to the Thundering Herd. Daily Record photos by Gerald Castillo

TXST falls to Marshall in close game, 81-73

Saturday, January 21, 2023

A packed crowd saw Texas State play its first home game in nearly a month as the Bobcats fell to the Marshall Thundering Herd in a 81-73 loss.

Head coach Terrence Johnson was appreciative of support from the 3,183 fans packed inside Strahan Arena for a special White-Out game on Thursday where the first 500 people received a free T-shirt.

“I would like to start by thanking Bobcat Nation for coming out and supporting us,” Johnson said. “With school starting back up and COVID starting to spike a little bit, for people to come out and support this team it means a lot. I appreciate our administrators, marketing department, student body, President and community for supporting these guys. They needed it and it was definitely appreciated. If we can continue to do that, then the sky’s the limit for what this team can accomplish.”

As for the game itself, the Bobcats couldn’t overcome a hot shooting Marshall team which shot 68% from field goal range in the second half while having three players score more than 19 points.

“Respectfully, that is a very good basketball team we played tonight, “ Johnson said. “It is a group of posed, veteran guys that understand how to play the game of basketball and make it look simple. I thought my guys did a phenomenal job of completing, bringing culture to the floor and I appreciate them in their efforts. We came up short and didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”

Above, senior guard Drue Drinnon drives to the basket during Texas State’s game against Marshall on Thursday. Drinnon finished with a team-high 17 points.

The Herd’s ability to make their baskets became a problem for the defense and Texas State guard Drue Drinnon, who led the team with 17 points.

“Marshall did a good job of hitting shots,” Drinnon said. “They made their open looks when they had them and it hurt.”

Nate Martin, who scored 16 points for the Bobcats, and the rest of the post players also had their own problems with Marshall’s ability to score down low.

“[Marshall] really got out on us in transition during the second half,” Martin said. “They had 28 points in the paint during the second half. That was their focus for the second half and they really hurt us with that.”

One of the problems the Bobcats faced was the Herd’s ability to move past the defender and hit an open player for a high-percentage shot.

“The game of basketball is pretty simple,” Johnson said. “As my dad used to say, we make it hard. What makes this team really good is the fact they can dribble past and shoot. If you saw on our ball screen coverages, we jumped on there with a hard hedge. [Marshall] would pick the ball up and throw it to the short roll who automatically threw the ball to the corners every time no matter if they were open or not. They had a chance to lay the ball up thinking about the ability to dribble past and shoot, pick up your dribble, grab it and then throw it to a shooter. So to not turn it over when we are hard hedging, hit a 6-foot-8 guy who was in full stride and then pirouettes to throw it to a guy in the corner who goes 6-6 in the first half. That is hard to contend with and they did that quite a bit.”

But despite the problems on defense, one of the bright spots of the game was the emergence of younger players on Texas State’s roster.

Freshman Davion Sykes and Jordan Mason elevated their play on Thursday with the duo making 10 points each.

“They played a significant amount of minutes tonight,” Johnson said. “We didn’t go into it with the game plan of playing those guys on the floor as we did but they held their own. If they continue to do that, their future is bright for this program and for them.”

Texas State returned to play Saturday afternoon against rival Louisiana at Strahan Arena. Saturday’s contest began after press time.

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