Winning teams garner respect from other coaches and the media.
Texas State found that out Tuesday afternoon when the Sun Belt Conference released its all-conference teams prior to the conference tournament.
No Bobcat men landed on any of the three teams, while senior forward Ashley Ezeh was the only player from the fourth-place women’s team on the list.
Ezeh finished ninth in the conference in scoring (13.1 points per game), tied for ninth in rebounding (6.2) and tied for 10th in blocked shots (0.7).
For the men, regular-season champion Georgia State had the most honorees with four. Arkansas State, UL Lafayette, UT Arlington and Western Kentucky each had two, while South Alabama, UALR and UL Monroe each brought home one. Texas State and Troy both came up empty-handed.
For the women, second-place Western Kentucky led the charge with three players honored. Conference-champion Arkansas State, UALR and Troy all placed two, while Georgia State, South Alabama, Texas State, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, UT Arlington each had two honorees.
Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter won Player of the Year for the men. Arkansas State’s Aundrea Gamble brought home the award for the women.
While Troy’s Joanna Harden (No. 3) was my pick for Player of the Year, Texas State played strong defense against Harden in two games this season (Photo by Gerald Castillo).
The eight teams headed to New Orleans for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament were decided Saturday when the regular season concluded.
Arkansas State won the SBC regular season championship. Texas State will also be joining the eight-team field. The Bobcats earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will be playing No. 5 seed Georgia State during Wednesday’s first round.
Before that happens, the SBC will officially announce the winners of individual awards and the All-SBC team Tuesday afternoon.
Texas State senior Joel Wright led his team in scoring and rebounding (Photo by Gerald Castillo).
Saturday marked the conclusion of the regular season in the Sun Belt Conference.
As we all know, Georgia State won the title going away and is the No. 1 seed in this week’s conference tournament.
There was little drama the rest of the way as the only seed up for grabs was No. 8, which would go to the winner between Texas State and Troy last Saturday. Just like last Thursday’s game at South Alabama, the Bobcats put up a dud and the Trojans will play in New Orleans.
Today marked the end of the regular season in the Sun Belt Conference.
If you’re an avid reader of the Daily Record, you already found out that the Texas State women’s basketball team beat Troy and earned the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament, while the men’s team suffered a 22-point loss and will be left home next week.
For those who haven’t caught up to speed, be sure to read our game recaps.
Women’s College Basketball: Ayriel Anderson’s career night secures Texas State victory over Troy
Men’s College Basketball: Season ends for Texas State with a 72-50 loss at Troy
Here is how the women’s bracket sets up for the Bobcats.
- No. 1 Arkansas State vs. No. 8 UL Monroe
- No. 4 Texas State vs. No. 5 Georgia State
- No. 3 UALR vs. No. 6 Troy
- No. 2 Western Kentucky vs. No. 7 UL Lafayette
If you’re curious, here is how the men’s bracket looks.
- No. 5 UALR vs. No. 8 Troy
- No. 4 Arkansas State vs. Winner 1
- No. 1 Georgia State vs. Winner 2
- No. 6 UT Arlington vs. No. 7 UL Monroe
- No. 3 UL Lafayette vs. Winner 3
- No. 2 Western Kentucky vs. Winner 4
We’ll have a lot more on both teams as the week progresses.
There are two weeks left in the regular season.
That means Texas State, a team that is 4-10 following its loss last Saturday at Arkansas State, has four games to either maintain its current position in the Sun Belt Conference standings (eighth) or improve on it as the conference tournament approaches.
When comparing the remaining games for each team fighting for the final two spots in the Sun Belt, it’s easy to see that the Bobcats have the toughest trek.
There was no understating the importance of Thursday’s game between Texas State and South Alabama.
If the Bobcats won, they’d move back into eighth place and put themselves in prime position for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
If Texas State lost, it would tumble all the way to 10th place and switch spots with the Jaguars.
Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar had a simple message for his team during a recent pep talk.
They need to look deep inside themselves and realize they have the ability and potential to win these games. They have to have that mindset that this is the most important thing in their lives at this point in time and whenever they step on that court, that’s all that matters. That’s the focus winning teams have. These next two weeks are big. We need to be focused on these games.
Including tonight’s game with South Alabama, the Bobcats have six games left in the regular season. Texas State is currently in ninth place in the Sun Belt Conference. The Top 8 teams in the league make the conference tournament next month in New Orleans.
Texas State couldn’t pull off a big sweep tonight on the same night the university retired Jeff Foster’s number.
After the women won their fourth consecutive game, the men struggled down the stretch and saw a 12-point lead with 6:43 left evaporate en route to a crushing loss.
You can read our game story about the women beating UL-Lafayette by CLICKING HERE.
You can read our game story about the men falling to the Ragin’ Cajuns by CLICKING HERE.
Jeff Foster flashes the ‘Heart of Texas’ hand sign at the crowd during the halftime ceremony (Photo by Gerald Castillo).
Another doubleheader for Texas State
Another split result.
Early on in the afternoon, the Bobcat women took down Western Kentucky by a score of 72-63. It was Texas State’s second consecutive victory as Zenarae Antoine’s team improved to 5-3 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Then in the nightcap, the Bobcat men pushed the second-place Hilltoppers to the brink. Texas State and WKU were tied at 62-all with 1:22 left, but Danny Kaspar’s team couldn’t pull out a win. It was a 68-64 loss by the Bobcats and yet another setback in which they kept it close late.
Here is some of what Kaspar had to say after the loss.
Kaspar on the play of freshman point guard Naiel Smith — “I was really pleased with how well Naiel played in a tough atmosphere against a tough team. We asked a lot of him tonight with Phil (Hawkins) being sick and Naiel played 33 hard minutes for us.”
Kaspar on his team’s first half after which it led 30-27 at halftime — “We played a very good first half. We played just as good as we needed to do to be able to win at Western Kentucky. I thought we did a great job.”
Kaspar on what silver lining he is finding — “I’m not pleased with our record, but I have seen great improvement with our defense, teamwork and effort.”
Earlier today, I spoke with Texas State head coach Danny Kaspar about Saturday’s game at Western Kentucky. Here is some of what he had to say about the Hilltoppers.
Kaspar on WKU in general: “I’m very impressed with their team. They have a very good inside scorer in (George) Fant and a very prolific player in T.J. Price. They surround these two with quality role players, any of whom can come at you with a 20-point night.”
Kaspar on Price: “He is a well-rounded scorer and can shoot the three very well. He doesn’t mind taking it to the basket. Price is a strong guard with good size.”
Kaspar on what WKU likes to do defensively: “They like to run a full-court press that will speed up the game and test your ball handlers. They like to play man-to-man half-court defense as well.”
Kaspar on what it’s going to take his team to win: “We need to play very hard and very smart to have a chance to win this game. If we play like we played at Monroe, we can have success.”