The men’s basketball team is preparing to take on first-time opponent St. Edward’s Saturday in an exhibition game.
Coach Doug Davalos said Saturday marks the Bobcats’ first opportunity this fall to play against another university.
“Our guys have been competing really well in practice, but there is a point where you get tired of playing each other, and you need to play somebody else and come together as a team,” Davalos said.
St. Edward’s had 12-16 overall and 7-9 conference records last season. The Hilltoppers, who lost their top player, Reggie Shanks, to graduation has five lettermen returning. Hilltoppers guard Jeff Minor averaged 17 points per game last season while forward Mark Watson secured 88 rebounds.
Texas State was 15-16 overall and 9-7 in conference play last season. The Bobcats have eight lettermen returning, with three of six seniors being four-year players. Among these seniors are leading scorer Ryan White, senior guard, and leading rebounder Cameron Johnson, senior forward.
Davalos said having a core of returning seniors will benefit the team this season.
“The retention has been tremendous,” Davalos said. “Even things we had been doing from last season to this season, the carryover has just been outstanding. Program experience is the most critical thing you can have. We have guys with program experience, and it is really showing.”
John Bowman, junior guard, said the rookies have caught on to the Bobcats’ system faster than usual.
“Everybody that is new here caught on real quick,” Bowman said. “Normally, the new guys are the last ones to catch up, but that is just not the case.”
The Bobcats ranked fourth in the SLC West division last season, averaging 77.2 points per game and allowing their opponents to average 77.8 points.
“We play pretty good defense, but it always could be better,” Bowman said. “You win games by stopping other people. We know we can score, but we have to be able to stop people.”
Tip-off for the exhibition game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Strahan Coliseum.