The Texas State men’s basketball team won its final two home games of the season, putting the Bobcats in a position to clinch a postseason berth this week.
Coach Danny Kaspar’s message to his team is simple. The Bobcats must take care of business Thursday night against Appalachian State and worry about the rest later.
The absence of Wes Davis, senior guard, in the last meeting against Appalachian State may have led to the 64-58 loss.
“Wes’ absence had a huge effect on our team,” Kaspar said. “He does possess the athleticism and the quickness, and he has good anticipation skills. He seems to know a second earlier than most where that ball is going. I know I felt a little unsure of our team without Wes, so I am wondering what were the players feeling.”
Without Davis on the court, Frank Eaves, Appalachian State guard, converted on 10 of 16 shots. Eaves finished the game with 31 points, the most the Bobcats have allowed from a single player all season. No one else on the Appalachian State team exceeded 10 points.
Kaspar is concerned about Appalachian State’s 3-point shooting. The Mountaineers converted on seven of their 17 shots from 3-point range in the last game against the Bobcats.
The team is focusing on Appalachian State’s outside shooting, stopping the fast break and offensive rebounding in practice this week.
Kaspar believes the team is giving up too many offensive rebounds, allowing opponents to take advantage of the second chance possessions.
“Like I tell the players, it is going to require some mental toughness on (their) part,” Kaspar said. “But (during) yesterday’s practice, players had a little spring in their step, and that’s a good thing.”
Texas State displays confidence in shooting, coming off two home-game wins against Troy and Arkansas State. The Bobcats shot 48 percent from the field against the Red Wolves in their last game.
“I’d say we need to come in the game with a chip on our shoulder,” said Ethan Montalvo, junior guard. “We played without Wesley Davis last game, so we plan on jumping on them early.”
Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, sophomore forward, gave the Bobcats an offensive spark in the last home victories. Gilder-Tilbury was named the College Sports Madness Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week as he came off the bench and tallied 32 points in two games.
“I think everybody feels more comfortable, more confident going into these next two games, especially myself,” Gilder-Tilbury said. “I’ve been shooting the ball well. I feel like I’m finally improving my game and helping the team win.”
Texas State will clinch its spot in the Sun Belt Conference tournament with a win against Appalachian State. The Bobcats are aiming to win at least one of the next two road games.
“I am pleased with last week,” Kaspar said. “We put ourselves in a position to make the tournament. I think one more win will get it done for us, and we have options in many ways. We can take care of our own business and, worst-case scenario, we can get in even if we don’t.”
Follow Sabrina Flores on Twitter @SabrinaFloresTX.