Junior forward Ashley Ezeh returned to play against the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners after a five-week injury absence on Saturday, but the Bobcats came up short, 74-65.
Texas State has struggled with rebounding in previous games without Ezeh in the lineup. Ezeh ranks third in the WAC in defensive rebounds, averaging 9.6 boards per game. Ezeh came off the bench and played 24 minutes, shot 6-10 and contributed 13 points and three rebounds.
“It felt good to be back. I wanted to be back so bad,” Ezeh said. “I worked in rehab often and tried my hardest to get back on the court. I’m just going to keep practicing, working hard and get my offensive presence going, and hopefully we’ll win the upcoming games in the season.”
The Bobcats shot a season high 77.3 percent from the floor in the first half, hitting on 17 of 22 shots. However, Texas State’s shooting consistency fell to 31.6 percent in the second half with 6 of 19.
Texas State made 12 of its first 13 shots in the first. The Bobcats led by as many as 17 points but were outscored by 33 in the next 20 minutes. The Bobcats’ 19 turnovers turned into 23 points for UTSA.
“I think any coach in America would say it’s very difficult to sustain shooting 77 percent from (the floor), especially against one of the top defensive teams in the conference,” said Coach. “(UTSA) forced us in a couple bad shots in the second half and some early turnovers, which allowed them some easy opportunities in the paint, helping their overall momentum.”
The Roadrunners went on an 11-2 run at the start of the second half, taking a 44-42 lead with 16:12 remaining. Roadrunner senior Whitney Wright asserted herself against the Bobcats, ending with 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes.
“A fair amount of turnovers came from our guards trying to get Ezeh the ball.” Antoine said. “I think just finding a rhythm to get good looks was what was difficult for us. Overall, I can’t be upset with the kids. We just have to be a little bit smarter, and that’s going to come through film work. We got to be able to turn on the offense to get (Ezeh) those good looks.”
Senior Diamond Ford led the team with 20 points. Ford still leads the conference in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per contest. Ezeh was the only Bobcat to shoot and score off the Bobcat bench. UTSA’s bench shot 12 of 24 from the floor and pitched in 32 points in the effort that launched the Roadrunners into fourth place in the conference.