Texas State took care of the University of Texas-Tyler in an 86-66 victory with the help of physical play and a career-high in offensive output from one of its senior forwards.
The Bobcats limited the Patriots’ offense with constant on-ball pressure and a variety of different defensive sets, switching from man to zone and keeping UT-Tyler on its heels. Senior forward Matt Staff tied his career high with 28 points.
“I thought our bigs were able to guard on the perimeter as good as they’ve ever been able to do,” said Coach Doug Davalos. “I like the fact that we didn’t get sloppy. There are some good things to take from this, but we got a lot of work to do.”
In the first half, the Patriots shot 33.3 percent from the field, 23.1 from beyond the arc and 60 from the foul line. The defense pressure by the Texas State guards contributed to 16 turnovers and accounted for eight fast break points in transition.
Staff led the Bobcats with 15 points and seven rebounds in the first half. Senior guard Vonn Jones tallied four assists, and junior forward Joel Wright came off the bench and contributed immediately with nine points and two blocks.
Texas State shot 42.1 percent from the field and 25 from beyond the arc. It made 83.3 percent of its free throws. The Bobcats controlled the paint, out-rebounding the Patriots 28-20 to give Texas State 11 second-chance points. The Bobcats entered the half with a 40-30 point lead.
The Bobcats started rolling over the Patriots after a foul at the 4:42 minute mark by UT-Tyler’s Travis Dykman on sophomore guard Wesley Davis.
Staff and Wright both finished with double-digit figures in points. Staff concluded the evening with 28 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He shot 10-14 from the field and was perfect at the line. Wright finished with 19 points, shot 8-10 from the free-throw line and collected six rebounds. Junior forward Reid Koenen added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Jones managed distribution with six assists.
“We had 20 assists and 11 turnovers,” Staff said. “That’s just great. It shows that we’re getting everyone involved. (Jones) played 21 minutes, had six assists and didn’t have one turnover. He’s running the team. He’s a great leader.”
The Bobcats increased their points in the paint by six from last game. The key stat was limiting their opponent to 30 points in the paint. Fordham University scored 48 points in the paint in the Bobcats’ season opener.
The Bobcats shot a steady 41.8 percent from the field and 77.4 from the free-throw line. Texas State finished both halves with a 10-point advantage and restricted the Patriots’ offense, allowing only Jordan Cannon and Travis Dykman to score in double figures.
“I’m glad, the fans are glad, and the players are glad that we don’t have any more games like this,” Davalos said. “Because leading up to the game I didn’t think our practices were as intense—I don’t think we warmed up as intense—and that’s part my responsibility. I know from this point on we can’t ever do that again. Everyone from this point on is a formidable opponent.”
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