The Texas State men’s basketball team picked up its second Sun Belt victory of the season Saturday, defeating the Troy Trojans 73-65 at Strahan Coliseum.
The Bobcats shot 52 percent from the field while holding the Trojans to 38 percent shooting. Texas State tallied a total of 17 assists, up from the season average of 11.6 per game.
Both teams shot above 45 percent in the first half with the Bobcats up 36-32 heading into halftime. Senior forward Joel Wright and sophomore forward Emani Gant led the way for Texas State in the first half as Wright scored 10 points, and Gant dished out four assists.
“The key when you’re playing against a zone is you want to move the ball around,” Gant said. “When I catch it in the middle, the players focus on me, and I make a play to one of my guards. I’m confident they’ll knock it down.”
Texas State adjusted to a “high-low post offense” to give Gant and Wright room to operate at the same time, said head coach Danny Kaspar.
“Joel has too many turnovers, so we want to get (the ball) inside to where he doesn’t have to put it on the floor so many times to get it to the rim,” Kaspar said.
Gant scored 15 points in the second half and finished the night with a career-high 21 points. Gant credited his teammates’ work in the first half as a catalyst for his performance in the second half.
“They tend to not leave shooters and not leave their man,” Gant said. “That gives me room to operate and not get doubled.”
Gant fouled out near the end of regulation, making this the second straight game he has struggled
Three starters finished with double-digit points while senior guard Reid Koenen finished with 9 points. Junior guard Wes Davis shot 1-4 from the field but logged 34 minutes of playing time for his defensive effort.
“I thought he (Davis) did a pretty good job on defense on (Troy guard) Hunter Williams,” Kaspar said. “Wes did not score much, but look how many minutes he got. His job was to lock down Williams.”
Williams shot 7-17 from the field and committed four turnovers with Davis guarding him the majority of the night.
Troy made a surge near the end of the game, but a late slam-dunk by Wright in the final minute sealed the Bobcats’ victory.
“I was not pleased with the way we struggled at the end, with our turnovers and their offensive rebounding,” Kaspar said. “You take away the last five minutes and our guys played a good game.”
Kaspar said the game is a stepping-stone on which the team can build.
“I’m very happy for them, including myself, to get a Division I win at home,” Kaspar said. “Obviously we’re not in a position to win the league, so our goal is to get in the tournament, where anything can happen.”