Bobcats end nine-game losing streak

Sports Reporter

In the 54th meeting between Texas State and the University of Texas-San Antonio, it’s only fitting the two winless-in-conference schools would need extra time to grind out a victory.

Five Bobcats scored with double figures during an 81-78 win in San Antonio, the team’s first true road win of the season.

With 2 minutes left in overtime, down by four, the Bobcats remained composed on the road and conducted a 9-2 comeback run to close the game. This marks the Bobcats fifth win out of seven meetings at the Convocation Center in San Antonio.

Junior Bobcat forwards Reid Koenen and Corey Stern both experienced career-highs in scoring against the Roadrunners. Koenen led Texas State with 23 points while shooting 5-7 from beyond the arc. Stern contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds, marking Stern’s sixth double figure game and his first double-double of the season.

“You’ve got to credit Texas State,” said UTSA Coach Brooks Thompson. “They executed. They switched their defense up late and got us on our heels. We just couldn't get a stop, period. We tried to zone. We tried to man. We just don't do what we need to do to get a stop.”

In the battle of role players, Texas State’s pair out matched UTSA’s in point production. The Bobcats held a 39-8 advantage in bench scoring. To go along with Reid’s career high, Texas States season leading scorer, junior forward Joel Wright, finished with 16 points.

UTSA only had seven players register time. Junior center Edrico McGregor came off the bench and supplied all eight bench points for the Roadrunners. The limited UTSA crew played without junior forward Jeromie Hill, who has contributed 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 15 contests.

“They weren't full strength,” said Coach Doug Davalos. “They're missing one of the best players in the conference. We had a week to prepare, and it's a rivalry game.”

The Roadrunners senior duo, guards Michael Hale III and Kannon Burrage, did not go down without a fight. They combined for 58 points, including Hale’s stat-sheet-filling 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

“Heartbreaking,” said UTSA guard Hale. “You always want to beat your rival. Sometimes the ball just doesn't fall your way. We've just got to keep pushing.”

In a nail-biting matchup that consisted of five ties and eight lead changes, the Bobcats broke a nine game losing streak while extending the Roadrunners to seven, leaving UTSA behind as the last winless team in the WAC.

For the first time this season, Davalos utilized a three-guard starting line up, which gave more opportunities to spread out the floor. Junior guard Phil Hawkins scored 13 points and sophomore guard Wesley Davis added 10. Davalos tinkered with the line-up for the ninth time this season.

Texas State survived a grind-it-out game despite UTSA’s 16 offensive rebounds, which attributed to 15 second-chance points.

Neither team led by more than 10. The largest lead the Bobcats held was four. UTSA managed a nine-point lead with 8:17 left in the first half.

“It was a big game,” Koenen said. “Especially playing against UTSA. We were both playing with a long losing streak. They were kind of in the same boat as us. We really shared the ball well. We executed our offense, and I think that was a big thing to help us. When everybody is contributing it shows what this team is capable of. It was a complete team effort.”

Follow Samuel Rubbelke on Twitter: @SamuelRubbelke

Game Changers

Bench production

Texas State outscored the University of Texas-San Antonio’s bench 39-8. Reid Koenen contributed 23 points and Joel Wright chipped in 16. The two players combined to shoot 10/10 from the foul line and 12/17 from the floor.

Aggresiveness in the clutch

The Bobcats made four out of five free throws in overtime while UTSA did not get to the line in OT, despite getting outscored in the paint, having less points off turnovers and racking up seven fewer second chance points. Texas State overall made seven more free throws than the Roadrunners.

Balance

UTSA’s Michael Hale III and Kannon Burrage combined to score 58 of the Roadrunners’ 78 points, while the Bobcats had five players in double figures, combining to score 70 of Texas State’s 81. The Bobcats acheived five double figure scorers for the first time since the season opening win against Fordham.

Report compiled by Cameron Irvine, Sports Editor