The Texas State basketball team will close out the regular season campaign on the road when they take on San Jose State University and Utah State University this weekend.
Utah State has struggled since losing three of its top five most productive players on the offensive end to injury. On Jan. 17 they suffered more than just a loss to New Mexico State—they lost the WAC Preseason Player of the Year, junior guard Preston Medlin to a broken wrist.
Medlin was averaging 20 points and the Aggies started the WAC schedule 5-0 before the guard went down with the injury. The Aggies are 4-6 in the WAC since Medlin went down in the second half of the New Mexico State game.
“They’ve lost some players,” said Coach Doug Davalos. “It changes the game plan a little bit. But it doesn’t change the 50-50 balls. There’s still going to be loose balls on the floor, are we willing to go get them? Four hands on the rebound, are we going to get it? Those things won’t change. We don’t know exactly who’s going to be there.”
In Texas State’s first meeting against Utah State this season, Medlin scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. Senior forward Kiysean Reed added 6 points and four steals in the Aggies 81-57 victory.
“The positive aspect for us is that we know Utah State came in here and kicked us,” Davalos said. “We ought to be the hungrier team.”
Even though Texas State will not have to prepare for Medlin, the Bobcats still have to worry about junior forwards Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw.
In the previous meeting, Butterfield scored 18 points and dished out nine assists, while Shaw finished with 17 points.
The Bobcats could not contain the Aggies offensive surge in the second half, as they scored 50 points after halftime. Utah State shot 63 percent from the floor and added 22 points off turnovers.
“I was watching video, and it was so hard to watch,” Davalos said. “We just didn’t compete like we needed to. We’re competing now. It’s going to be a nice college atmosphere, and we’ve played pretty good in those situations.”
Sophomore guard Wesley Davis led the Bobcats with a career-high 22 points, and junior forward Joel Wright contributed 11 points and nine boards.
San Jose State marked Texas State’s first WAC game and will also be its final WAC opponent, with the Bobcats moving to the Sunbelt Conference next year. The Spartans are currently riding a 12 game losing-streak.
San Jose State has struggled to find their offensive rhythm since starting conference play. The Spartans are ranked last in the WAC in scoring offense (57.1), field-goal percentage (.356) and 3-point percentage (.283).
The Bobcats gave up 72 points and 41 rebounds to the Spartans in their last meeting. San Jose State shot 51.8 percent from the field.
In two of their last three games, the Bobcats have held their opponents to 61 and 65 points, respectively. On the season Texas State is giving up 76.4 point per game.
Guard Deonte’ Jones said the team has started believing in their defense more.
“We definitely help each other more, keep each other up on the defensive end, and we make each other better by holding everyone accountable,” Jones said. “Our main thing is our focus. We really have to focus on these next two games. We can’t let our opponents get inside and control the paint.”
In their first meeting against San Jose State, junior forward Louis Garrett led the Spartans with 16 points while junior forward Chris Cunningham recorded a double-double scoring 11 points and grabbing14 boards.
Wright scored 22 points and collected six rebounds in his first WAC game. Junior guard Phil Hawkins finished with 10 points and three assists.
After their final two road games, the Bobcats will prepare for the WAC tournament, which starts March 13th. Their opponent will be determined by the final seedings after conference play has concluded.
“We’re going to need to get hot and come together at the right time,” said senior forward Matt Staff. “We just came off a good win, and we almost had Idaho down. We’re right there. That’s the best part about the conference tournament, you never know what’s going to happen.”