The Bobcats were caught frozen during the first two games of the Great Alaska Shootout, but fought back against a familiar foe Saturday with an 81-69 victory over the University of California-Riverside.
Texas State finished seventh place out of eight in the tournament.
The Highlanders, led by former Texas State Coach Jim Wooldridge, made their first six shots and finished the first half with a 47-35 lead. Texas State had four starters with double figure points in the win. With 17, junior forward Corey Stern led the Bobcats. Senior forward Matt Staff scored 16, junior forward Reid Koenen contributed 12 and senior guard Vonn Jones finished with 10 points and seven assists.
Sophomore guard Wesley Davis came off the bench but still contributed as a stat sheet filler for the Bobcats. He finished with eight points, five assists and four steals.
Riverside never led in the 40 minutes of play, despite out-rebounding the Bobcats 41-26 and having its bench manufacture 36 points to Texas State’s 18. The Bobcats’ largest lead was 19 points with 1:56 left in the game.
“It was a good bonding experience. I got to spend a lot of time with the guys on and off the court,” Koenen said. “Our rebounding: it’s definitely something we’ll be working on this week and getting ready for Utah. Closing out games at the end will be our primary focus.”
Texas State opened the tournament with a 73-64 loss to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The Bobcats opened the first half steady but the duo of Chris Braswell and DeMario Mayfield provided too much of a spark off the bench for the 49ers. Braswell scored 18 points and 10 were added by Mayfield. UNC Charlotte’s total bench production outscored the Bobcats 37-7. The 49ers out-rebounded Texas State 45-34.
Despite the efforts of Davis, who led the Bobcats with 15 points, four assists and three steals, Texas State couldn’t keep pace with UNC Charlotte. Staff added 14 points to the mix while junior forward Joel Wright contributed 13 points.
Coach Doug Davalos made a significant roster change. He had leading team scorers Staff and Wright both come off the bench for the second game of the tournament against Loyola Marymount University, a routine NCAA school. Davalos received the bench production he needed, outscoring the Lions 25-13, but no one had over 15 points for the Bobcats. Jones scored 14 points and handed out five assists in a 78-63 loss, the Bobcats’ then third straight falter.
Loyola Marymount was led by Anthony Ireland, who finished with 23 points and seven rebounds and Ayodeji Egbeyemi, who ended with 18. The Lions out-rebounded the Bobcats 48-32 and limited their points in the paint to 24. Loyola Marymount’s largest lead was 18.
“You pay attention more when you’re stung a little bit,” Davalos said. “When you lose, you pay a little bit more attention to details. Guys sometimes need to get stung to come back and say ‘Hey, that’s me. I need to change these things about my game to be ready for the next time we have that opportunity.’”
The 6-0 49ers won the Great Alaska Shootout title with a 67-59 victory over Northeastern. Charlotte was led by senior center Chris Braswell, who scored 14 points.
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