In a game that was not decided until the final minute, Texas State came up short 64–68 to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday night.
Western Kentucky controlled the offensive boards in Saturday’s game, outrebounding Texas State 9–4. The Hilltoppers outscored the Bobcats 12–3 in second chance points. The game went back and forth all the way to the end as the lead changed hands 11 times.
The starting lineup played most of the game, with one bench player participating for 15 minutes and the rest playing no more than eight. Usual starting senior guard Phil Hawkins was held to seven minutes as he was battling an illness before the game.
The Bobcats were led by senior forward Reid Koenen and junior guard Wes Davis, who shot for a combined 4–5 from the 3-point range and had a total of 16 points in the first half.
“It wasn’t my intention (to shoot) at first,” Davis said. “Once I saw the first three go in, that gave me confidence to keep shooting. Once I got into the mode, I kept trying to attack more than usual.”
Senior forward Joel Wright shot 2-8 in the first half but led the team in assists, dishing out three for the game.
“I think it’s just something that happened,” Davis said. “ (Wright) noticed that when he was driving, two people would collapse on him so he’d drop it off.”
Western Kentucky outrebounded the Bobcats 17–11 by the end of the first half and trailed 30–27.
Wright produced 12 points in the second half, ending with a team high of 18. Koenen shot 0-3 in the second half. Davis finished the game as the team’s second leading scorer with 16 points, shooting 3–3 from the field in the second half.
The momentum shifted in favor of Western Kentucky with 6:49 left in the second half when the Bobcats—up 57–55—allowed Western Kentucky to convert on free throws, resulting in the Hilltoppers taking a 62–58 lead.
“Towards the end, the rebounding is what got us,” Davis said. “A lot of us missed our defensive principles after the ball was shot, and that’s just something we have to work on for the next game.”
The Bobcats needed a defensive stop, but Western Kentucky was able to get to the free throw line and take a 65–62 lead with 25 seconds left. Texas State drew up a play that set a back screen and gave Koenen an open look for a 3-point attempt, but the ball hit the front of the rim and fell short, sealing the Bobcats’ fate.
“That was the play—it worked perfectly,” Davis said. “He got a pretty good shot, the shot we wanted him to take. It just didn’t fall.”