Men’s basketball lost both of its games this weekend, with Louisiana Tech University putting on a rebounding clinic against the Bobcats and University of Texas – Arlington starters accounting for 19 assists to just four turnovers.
The basketball team has now lost nine straight games. Texas State’s junior transfers, guard Deonte’ Jones and forward Joel Wright, combined for 45 points in a losing 91-74 effort against UT-Arlington Saturday.
Senior Maverick forward Karol Gruszecki led the charge with 23 points, shooting 7-10 from beyond the arc. The Polish native’s season average is 7.5 points per game and his previous career high was 18 points against Houston Baptist.
“Unbelievable,” Coach Doug Davalos said. “They found (Gruszecki) in the zone ... and he got most of it. But he was not the go-to guy. He took advantage of the opportunity.”
Senior forward Kevin Butler supplied 15 points, junior forward Brandon Edwards scored 14 points and collected 13 rebounds, and both senior center Jordan Reves and senior guard Cameron Catlett added 11 points each.
Texas State’s Wright recorded a game high 24 points while gathering five rebounds. Jones contributed a career high 21 points. Feb. 15, 2011 was the last time any two Bobcats each logged 20 points in one game.
Davalos started the game with junior guard Phil Hawkins, Jones, redshirt sophomore forward Basil Brown II, senior forward Matt Staff, and Wright. This combination marked the eighth different starting lineup this season for the Bobcats.
The 91 points scored by the Mavericks marked the second highest point total against Texas State this season. Currently, the Bobcats are ranked last in scoring defense in the WAC, giving up an average of 75.2 points per game.
UT-Arlington shot 57.1 percent from the field and 48 from three-point land. Teams throughout the season have managed to find the weak spot in the Bobcat defense. Texas State is second to last in field goal percent defense among WAC teams. The Bobcats have allowed opponents to shoot 46.1 percent from the field.
“We have to make those timely shots,” Davalos said. “We have to match them. We could never get a stop when we needed. That was the worst part of it. Letting them go off on the second half was the worst part. Our energy was good but we couldn’t get the stop.”
This marked the 57th meeting between the two programs. Texas State currently holds the series advantage at 30-27. However, UTA won both meetings last year and five of the past six games. Texas State’s nine-game losing streak started with a loss to the University of Texas Longhorns exactly one month ago. Opponents are outscoring them on average by 14.11 points per game. The scoring margin for the Bobcats in WAC play is -15.8, last in the league.
“We’ve had these moments, where four point games turn into 15-point games and having to call a time out after a barrage of threes,” Davalos said. “It’s happened way too much. It’s bad. It’s bad news. They need to realize it’s not going to change unless they take as much pride in defense as they do in what their shooting percentage is.”
Louisiana Tech collected 19 offensive rebounds, which contributed to 23-second chance points in Louisiana Tech’s 84-67 victory.
The Bulldogs out rebounded the Bobcats 54-32. Louisiana Tech’s sophomore guard Kenneth Smith managed the glass, grabbing 10 boards and dishing out six assists. Junior guard Cordarius Johnson directed the offensive side of the ball with 17 points and sophomore guard Raheem Appleby supplied 12 points and six rebounds.
Wright led the Bobcats with 24 points and seven rebounds. Texas State’s guard duo of sophomore Wesley Davis and junior Deonte’ Jones contributed 25 points combined.
The Bobcats’ bench production and free-throw shooting was their weakness against the Bulldogs. The Bobcat bench was outscored 35-6. Junior guard Jaron Johnson with 10 points and five boards led Louisiana Tech. LA Tech converted 84.6 percent of their foul shots, 11-13, while Texas State made 38.5 percent, 5-13.
Texas State never held a lead during the 84-67, digging a 17-point halftime hole courtesy of the Bulldogs, who now hold a 13-3 record and 4-0 in WAC play. The Bobcats fell to 0-5 in conference play with a 4-13 overall record.