Texas State heads into a must-win game Saturday as the Bobcats dive deeper into conference play and face the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers.
Following a double overtime loss to the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks in front of a record-setting crowd; an issue that needed to be addressed immediately was the Bobcats’ trips to the free throw line. The Bobcats shot nine for 20 (45 percent) from the foul line. UTA would shoot 79 percent from the free-throw line and go on to win the game 84-77.
Head Coach Danny Kaspar said the team has to be better from the foul line, especially in close games.
“I don’t know what to tell you about that (free throws), I’ve tried so many different things,” Kaspar said. “Our offense overall just did not look like it was in sync.”
Following Thursday night’s 74-71 win against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, the Bobcats still faced an extreme lull on the free throw line. The Bobcats shot eight for 14 from the foul line (57.1 percent). Currently, the Bobcats are shooting 57 percent from the foul line on the year, a record low since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.
With only eight games left in conference play, Kaspar said Saturday’s game is a must-win game for the team, especially as the number of fans at games continues to rise.
“When you get a crowd like that in the door, it’s a must-win game,” Kaspar said.
Though frustrated with back to back losses to the Georgia Southern Eagles and UTA, the team adopted a nickname to describe how they must approach the rest of the season, Kaspar and company became the “Takers.” Kaspar said it was something that originated from the players.
“It basically means that you have to go out and take the game,” Kaspar said. “It will not be given to you.”
Star forward, junior Nijal Pearson made good on his promise to fight back with the team to compete for the first-place ranking in conference play. Pearson said the losses, or any losses for that matter, would not affect the team moving forward.
“Don’t think we’re throwing in the towel or our hearts are broken,” Pearson said. “We’re gonna fight and find a way to get back.”
Junior guard Jaylen Shead said the team needs to work to create space and get key offensive pieces the ball in tight coverage.
“We just have to look at our offense and find more way to get them (Nijal Pearson and Tre”Larenz Nottingham) open off the ball,” Shead said. “If they’re going to back off and try to take them out of the game, we got to find someone else to get offense and that will free them up.”
Tip-off for Saturday’s game is at 4 p.m. at Strahan Arena at the University Events Center. Texas State Athletics is promoting this game as “Danny Kaspar night.” Fans are encouraged to wear suit jackets and mustaches to support the team and coach.