Maroon & Gold Weekly Wrap-Up:
Baseball & Basketball
Hart and Williams Announced as Speakers for 12th Annual Leadoff Dinner
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Current Major Leaguers and Texas State baseball alumni Donnie Hart and Austen Williams will be guest speakers at the 12th Annual Leadoff Dinner that will be held Jan. 25.
Hart completed his fourth year in Major League Baseball in 2019, appearing in five games between the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets. The left-hander did not allow a run in 7.2 innings and struck out three. He pitched for the Baltimore Orioles the previous three seasons, appearing in a career-high 51 games in 2017.
In his Texas State career, Hart posted a 2.35 ERA in 53.2 innings of relief that spanned 60 games. His 41 appearances on the mound in 2013 is still the program’s single-season record. That season also saw the Bedford, Texas native go 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 34 strikeouts while allowing just two extra-base hits.
Williams is coming off an injury-shortened 2019 season for the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, in which he was limited to just two games in the big leagues. The right-hander made his MLB debut on Sept. 2, 2018, striking out two in two scoreless innings against the Brewers. He would go on to pitch in 10 games over the final month of the season.
As a Bobcat, Williams went 10-6 with two saves, 3.80 ERA and 142 strikeouts in his three-year career. In 2014, he posted an 8-3 mark with a 3.65 ERA and 96 strikeouts while starting 15 games. That season also saw him toss a complete game shutout against South Alabama.
Tickets for the Leadoff Dinner are currently on sale with individual seats available for $100 and a full table of eight guests for $800.
The dinner will be held at the LBJ Student Center Ballroom on the campus of Texas State University. The cocktail social mixer begins at 6:15 p.m. with the dinner portion of the event starting at 7 p.m.
Along with bringing together baseball alumni, Bobcat supports, family, friends and the current team to raise money for the Bobcat baseball program, the 2010 Southland Conference Championship team will be recognized as well.
The Leadoff Dinner is the apex of alumni weekend. Patrons will have the opportunity to support the team during its first official practice of the season (Jan. 24) and watch SWT/TXST alumni take the field in the annual alumni game (Jan. 25) during the weekend as well.
The 2020 season and the first under head coach Steven Trout begins Feb. 14 with a four-game series at Bobcat Ballpark against Stony Brook.
Free-throw shooting help give Bobcats road win at Arkansas State
JONESBORO, Ark. –Texas State (8-7, 1-3 Sun Belt) put to rest a four-game losing streak on the road after picking up a close 70-67 win at Arkansas State (10-5, 2-2 Sun Belt) Saturday afternoon at the First National Bank Arena.
With the win, the Bobcats extend their winning streak to eight games against the Red Wolves (8-3 all-time) and secures their first road win in Sun Belt competition this season.
Although Texas State led by as many as 11 points in the second half, Arkansas State battled back to make it a nail-biter after freshman guard Caleb Fields hit a triple from the left wing to cut the Bobcat lead to 64-62 with 59 seconds left to play, and senior guard Canberk Kus followed with a 3-pointer to make the count 66-65 with 14 seconds remaining. However, the Bobcats turned in a .810 free-throw percentage (29-of-36), including a perfect 6-of-6 from the stripe in crunch time during the Red Wolves comeback. In the final minute of the game, junior guard Marlin Davis, senior guard Nijal Pearson, and sophomore guard Mason Harrell each stepped to the line an knocked down a pair of freebies to hold off the home team.
Pearson led all scorers with 23 points (6-of-12) and was a perfect 9-of-9 at the charity stripe. He also finished with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Sophomore forward Alonzo Sule was the only other Bobcat to finish in double figures by scoring 11 points, but Davis along with junior forward Isiah Small, and senior forward Eric Terry each finished with nine points. Small led the team with six rebounds and one block, and Davis joined Harrell and Pearson for a team-high two steals.
Sophomore guard Melo Eggleston led Arkansas State with 15 points (6-of-10) and Fields was held to 13 points on 1-of-5 shooting. Fields was 10-of-16 at the free-throw line and ended the game with five rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Kus had a productive game with 12 points (4-of-9) and knocked down two 3-pointers, both in the second half. He also had four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals, while junior guard Marquis Eaton concluded with 10 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a tightly contested first half that featured six total lead changes. The Red Wolves kept the game close early on due to good free-throw shooting after converting on 5-of-6 attempts in the midst of a field goal drought that lasted over four and a half minutes. The Red Wolves tied the game at 27 with a field goal by senior guard Jerry Johnson with 4:05 remaining in the half, but Pearson responded with a personal 7-2 run and assisted on a triple by Harrell to gain a 37-30 lead. Pearson made another layup with seconds on the clock and the Bobcats went into the locker room with a 41-34 lead after Pearson scored nine of the final 14 points for the visiting team. Pearson had 14 in the half with Sule following with nine points. Texas State shot 59.0 percent from the floor (13-of-22) and held Arkansas State to 33.0 percent shooting (8-of-24), including a 0-of-3 performance from 3-point range.
The Bobcats started to pull away early in the second half by using a 6-0 run to beef up their lead to 50-39 which was the largest of the game. Although Arkansas State continued to struggle offensively early on by missing its first six field goals of the half, two consecutive Red Wolves’ 3-pointers made it a seven-point game at 54-47 and Fields knocked down a late triple to cut the deficit to two points at 64-62 with 59 seconds left. Kus reappeared with another long-ball to bring the score to 66-65 with 14 seconds remaining. Even though the Bobcats’ final field goal of the game came with 6:19 on the clock, they were a perfect 6-of-6 at the line when it mattered most to seal the game.
- The Bobcats are 6-3 overall this season when leading at the half and 1-2 in Sun Belt games.
- Texas State has shot 80.0 percent or better from the free-throw line four times this season, twice in Sun Belt play.
- Arkansas State shot 35.0 percent from the floor (17-of-48). They are the eighth opponent this season the Bobcats have held to 35.0 percent shooting or worse.
- Texas State shot 42.0 percent from the field (19-of-45) and 38.0 percent from 3-point range (3-of-8)
- It was the first time this season Texas State tied its opponent in rebounding (34).
- The Bobcats are 5-2 this year when scoring 70 or more points and 8-6 when allowing 69 or fewer points.
- Texas State logged its first win in games decided by 1-4 points (1-2).
- The Bobcats are 3-0 when two players score in double figures (2-7 when three players score in double figures).
- Pearson becomes the third Bobcat to score 1,800 career points (1,801) after scoring 23 points at Little Rock.
- Pearson moves to No. 11 on the program’s all-time rebounding list with 646. His fourth rebound put him pass Willie Terrell (1969-71, 644).
- Pearson scored 20-plus points for the sixth time this season (23rd of his career) and has scored in double figures in 15 consecutive games for the first time since Kavin Gilder-Tilbury who had a streak of 19 games (Dec. 23, 2016 – March 4, 2017).
- The Bobcats are 9-1 all-time in games where Sule score in double-digits.
- In his first start this season, junior guard Shelby Adams logged a season-high six rebounds.
Head coach Danny Kaspar’s initial thoughts…
“We are very happy with this victory. Nijal [Pearson] had a great trip by scoring 48 points this weekend and that helped us a ton. We have lost two close games on this four-game road trip, so it feels good to get this one. It is a great win for us moving forward as we head home for a few games.”
Texas State returns to San Marcos, Texas with three games over a six-day span. The Bobcats week starts with a 7 p.m. game on Monday, Jan. 6 vs. Troy, and then will face Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9. The week will conclude with a 4 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Jan. 11 vs. Appalachian State.
Little Rock squeezes pass Texas State 72-68
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Senior guard Nijal Pearson led all players with 25 points, but Texas State (7-7, 0-3 Sun Belt) came up short at Little Rock (9-5, 3-0 Sun Belt) 72-68 Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center.
After a solid first half of play from the Bobcats, the Trojans responded in the second half as they have done all season and outscored Texas State 44-29 in the final 20 minutes to steal a win on their home floor.
Pearson was 8-of-17 from the floor, 5-of-9 from 3-point range and a perfect 4-of-4 at the stripe. He also collected three assists, three rebounds, and one steal to complete his stats. Sophomore guard Mason Harrell finished with 17 points (6-of-12) and had a team-high five assists to go along with two rebounds and one steal. Sophomore guard Caleb Asberry rounded out the top scorers for the Bobcats with 12 points (4-of-8) and added two rebounds and one steal.
Little Rock had four players end the game with double-digit scoring performances, including junior guard Ben Coupet Jr. and sophomore forward Kamani Johnson who both had 15 points. Johnson secured a double-double with 10 rebounds and was 5-of-5 at the line. Junior forward Ruot Monyyong also eclipsed a double-double with 14 points, 17 rebounds (all defensive) and had three blocks. Junior guard Jaizec Lottie chipped in 10 points and had three assists in the win.
With the loss, the Bobcats’ four-game winning streak vs. the Trojans ends, marking the first loss since Feb. 27, 2016, which was a 73-68 decision at Little Rock. Texas State is now 6-9 vs. Little Rock in the all-time series.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Little Rock opened the game by scoring the first four points and led 6-2 before Texas State scored eight unanswered points to take a 10-6 lead. The Bobcats extended their margin to 14 at 26-12 with 8:03 on the clock, but a 9-0 burst by the Trojans cut the deficit to five points at 26-21. Two late triples by Pearson helped the Bobcats hold a 39-28 lead at the break led by his 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. The team shot 47.0 percent from the floor (15-of-32) and 40.0 percent from behind-the-arc (4-of-10) in the half.
The home team came out of the locker room ready to make a run and did so with a pair of 6-0 runs to take a 48-47 lead at the 13:05 mark. The Bobcats regained the lead quickly after a 3-pointer from Harrell and held it until the 4:56 mark after a pair of free-throws from Johnson which was part of a 7-0 run that gave LR a 64-62 advantage. With the Trojans in the double bonus since the 5:08 mark in the half, the home team capitalized at the stripe late to hold off the Bobcats to win the game 72-68.
- Texas State shot 40.0 percent from the floor (24-of-60), 39.0 percent from 3-point range (7-of-18), and 68.0 percent from the free-throw line (13-of-19).
- The Bobcats outscored the Trojans 16-8 in points off turnovers as they forced 13 total in the game. TXST also matched a season-low seven turnovers.
- TXST had 13 of their 20 fouls in the second half and LR went 11-of-15 from the free-throw line.
- LR outscored TXST in the paint (46-30), from the bench (13-7) and outrebounded its opponent (38-29).
- LR stayed true to being a second-half team and has now outscored its opponents 539-447 in the second half this season.
- Pearson recorded a season-high five made 3-point field goals and matched his season-best three assists for the sixth time this year.
- Junior forward Isiah Small led the team with six rebounds.
- Junior guard Marlin Davis had a season-high five rebounds to go along with three assists, two points and one block.
Head coach Danny Kaspar on the loss…
“It was a difficult loss. This is the second road game we should have won. We have to grind these games out from start to finish and everyone has to show up and contribute. Our defense in the second half has to be better. On the flip side, we are in these road games to the last minute and our players must realize how close they are to winning and finish.”
Texas State travels to Jonesboro, Ark. to conclude its four-game road trip with a 2 p.m. tip-off on Jan. 4, 2020 at Arkansas State.