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Week in review: Men’s basketball

Ojai Black looks to drive to the rim .
File Photo

This week the Bobcats traveled to Arkansas, where they took on the Red Wolves of Arkansas State and the Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Texas State came into this week needing to win at least one of these two games in order to keep its tournament hopes alive.

This game started off slow for the Bobcats, as the lead went back and forth in the first half. The Bobcats shot 41.7 percent from the field, and made just one-of-nine from 3-point land.

Meanwhile, the Red Wolves shot 34.2 percent from the field and made three-out-of-eleven shots from deep.

The score was tied 31-31 at the half.

Texas State came out of the half determined to win this game. The Bobcats outscored the Red Wolves 40-29 in the second half.

Texas State was led by Emani Gant, senior forward, Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, junior forward, Cameron Naylor, senior forward, and Ethan Montalvo, senior guard.

Gant, Gilder-Tilbury, Naylor, and Montalvo combined to score 58 of the Bobcats 71 points, with help from Ojai Black, junior guard, who had a career high eight assists to help the team in a “must win” scenario.

For the Red Wolves, their shooting performance was not statistically high. They shot just 31.7 percent from the field for the game. Arkansas State made just five-of-seventeen 3-pointers, and sank 73.9 percent of their free-throws.

The Bobcats were up 15 with five minutes to go, but the Red Wolves made a little bit of a comeback in the last few minutes.

This comeback effort was put to a halt by Naylor and Gant.

The Bobcats beat the Red Wolves 71-60 to sweep the regular season series 2-0.

Next the Bobcats traveled to the capital of Arkansas, Little Rock, to take on the Trojans.

Arkansas-Little Rock beat Texas State earlier in the season in a game that was sent to overtime and ended up in a loss for the Bobcats.

Texas State looked to get even and give the top team in the conference their fourth loss of the season and first loss at home.

The Bobcats didn’t get out to a good start defensively, as the Trojans couldn’t miss. The Trojans hit five three-pointers within the first seven minutes of the game, to get out to an early lead.

By halftime, there were only three Bobcats that had even scored for Texas State: Gant, Gilder-Tilbury, and Black.

The Trojans led the Bobcats 35-21 at recess.

For the Trojans, it was Marcus Johnson Jr., junior guard, who scored 21 points, on seven-of-nine shooting. Five of his seven shots came from downtown. He also picked up three rebounds and two assists.

The Bobcats came out of halftime pumped up, as they outscored the Trojans in the second half, 47-38.

Gant scored 20 points for the game, and picked up 10 rebounds, giving him his sixth double-double of the season. Gilder-Tilbury and Black also had productive stat lines, as they combined with Gant’s 20 points to score 51 of the Bobcats total 68 points.

This comeback effort was stopped in the last few seconds of the game, as Texas State was down just three with 43 seconds left.

Then Mareik Isom, junior forward, hit two free-throws to give the Trojans a five-point lead.

The Bobcats comeback effort fell just short, as the Trojans beat Texas State, 73-68, and the Trojans remain unbeaten at home this season.

With the win, Arkansas-Little Rock won its first outright conference championship, and will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt tournament in early March.

The Bobcats’ record sits at 6-11 in the Sun Belt, and 12-14 overall.

Texas State currently sits ninth in the conference, and need to win its remaining three games to get the final seed in the tournament.

They will take on UT-Arlington in Arlington, TX next Tuesday before returning home for their last two games of the season.