It is the fourth consecutive year that the Bobcats will play in the SBC Tournament quarterfinals.
NEW ORLEANS – The Texas State men’s basketball team snapped its nine-game losing streak with a 73-66 win over Coastal Carolina Wednesday morning in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Lakefront Arena. Four Bobcats reached double-figures with a team-high 20 points from Nijal Pearson.
With the win, TXST improved to 15-17 on the season while the Chanticleers ended their season at 14-18.
After falling behind 5-0 early, Pearson converted an old-fashion three-point play to put TXST on the board. CCU missed two free throws and Eric Terry made them pay the next time down the court with a hook shot to knot the score with 15:24 left in the opening stanza.
The Chanticleers took a 13-10 advantage at the 12:25 mark. Coming out of the under 12 media timeout, Pearson fed Terry for a dunk that kicked started a 9-2 run over the next 3:47.
A three-pointer by Alex Peacock from the left corner gave the Bobcats a lead at 22-17. CCU answered with seven straight points to go back in front.
Terry knotted the score at 24 on a hook shot but Zac Cuthbertson answered with a shot off the glass to keep the Chanticleers in front by two. Tyler Blount knocked down a trey from the right corner to begin an 8-0 run for TXST. The last points came when Terry was able to power home a jumper in the paint despite being fouled with 1:01 left in the half.
CCU netted the final points of the period on a layup from Cuthbertson. The basket saw the Bobcats take a 32-28 lead into halftime.
Demario Beck opened the scoring in the second half with a jumper. TXST clamped down defensive and held the Chanticleers without a field goal for the next 5:15. During that time, the Bobcats scored 16 of the next 18 points that saw two three-pointers from Tyler Blount and one courtesy of Tre’Larenz Nottingham.
A reverse layup from Pearson at the 12:28 mark put the Bobcats in front by 16 for the third time in the contest. CCU cut the lead to four following a layup from Jaylen Shaw with 3:07 remaining in the game.
TXST broke the Chanticleers press and Terry laid the ball in after a feed from Peacock. The basket was the first for the Bobcats in 7:47. Pearson followed with a jumper in the paint on a fastbreak after a defensive board and Nottingham converted two free throw attempts to increase the lead to 10 with 58 seconds to go.
CCU was able to cut the advantage down to seven three times with the last being on a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining. The Bobcats sealed the game by converting 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch.
Pearson was 6-of-15 from the field with a made three-pointers. He did convert 7-of-8 at the charity stripe. The sophomore also led the team with eight rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Terry came off the bench to contribute a career-high 16 points after going 6-for-7 shooting and was 4-of-5 at the free throw line. He grabbed five rebounds, two off the offensive glass, and recorded an assist.
Blount netted 14 points after knocking down 4-of-5 three-pointers and was 2-for-3 at the charity stripe. Also cracking double-figures was Nottingham with 10 points behind a 7-of-8 performance on free throws.
Just missing cracking double-digits was Alex Peacock with nine points. The junior finished with eight boards, three assists, a block and a steal as well.
The Bobcats shot 22-of-57 (38.6%) and were 7-for-27 (25.9%) from beyond the arc. They did go 22-of-26 (84.6%) at the free throw line while also holding a 38-34 advantage on the glass.
Next up for TXST is a matchup with No. 1 seed Louisiana at 11:30 a.m. on Friday in Lakefront Arena. It is the fourth consecutive year that the Bobcats will play in the SBC Tournament quarterfinals.
For the latest on Texas State men’s basketball, visit the official website of Texas State athletics at www.txstatebobcats.com, follow the team on Instagram and Twitter at @TxStateMBB and like on Facebook at /TexasStateMensBasketball.