The Texas State men’s basketball team will take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday for the first time in program history.
The Hilltoppers currently sit second in the Sun Belt at 5–2 behind the Georgia State Jaguars who are 7-0 in conference. Western Kentucky’s starting five brings the best team defense in the conference, .4 points better than the Bobcats. The team is on a three-game winning streak and has won five of their last seven matches.
“Every game I’m going to bring my best game,” said sophomore forward Emani Gant. “I’m going to practice trying to figure our opponent’s tendencies and what their goal is as a team. I feel my game will work well against these guys.”
A player to watch for is Western Kentucky’s 6-foot-6-inch forward George Fant, who averages 13.5 points per game and brings in 7.4 rebounds per contest.
“He’s really good on the glass,” Gant said. “I’m just going to try and key on his tendencies. If you look at their stats, he brings most of Western Kentucky’s points. If we get him in control and get his teammates to jack up shots we should win the game.”
Fant is sixth in the conference in blocked shots with 22. He is seventh in blocked shots per game.
The Bobcats are coming off a win against Troy where they won their third home game of the season. Gant had a career-high in points with 21 along with five rebounds and four assists.
“We showed more patience on offense against Troy than most games,” said Coach Danny Kaspar. “We worked for good shots in particular. We had 17 assists which is probably one of our better games.”
Freshman forward Kendell Ramlal will have the task of facing up against Fant and the Hilltoppers. Ramlal has not played much this season, but saw some minutes of playing time against Troy.
“In practice we are just being introduced on how they work,” Ramlal said. “We are mainly focusing on their offense. Coach is trying to get everything right, so our main focus is stopping their offense.”
Texas State dropped down to number two in team defense after allowing 65 and 69 points in the past two games. Western Kentucky scored 69 plus points in its last five games, and the team is 8–3 at home.
Hilltoppers junior guard T.J Price is standing fifth in the Sun Belt in 3-point percentage shooting 37.7 percent and fourth in conference in 3-point attempts.
Fant leads the Sun Belt in field goal percentage at 55.6 percent and is sixth in conference for rebounding.
“Whenever we play a team, we make sure we are aware of their best player,” Ramlal said. “When he gets the ball, we are ready for our defense to help out the defender or we prevent the ball getting to his hands.”