It doesn’t get much clearer for Texas State.
If the Bobcats are to make the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Game, they’ll need New Mexico State to beat Dallas Baptist tomorrow afternoon and then Texas State must beat UT Arlington. Should one of those conditions not be met — specifically a loss by the Aggies — the Bobcats’ season is done.
Texas State put itself in this situation Friday after a 7-5 loss to Dallas Baptist. Senior third baseman Nick Smelser belted a three-run home run in the game, but it wasn’t enough.
Later in the afternoon, New Mexico State knocked off UTA and left each team in Pool B with a 1-1 record.
Want to know the rest of the scenarios in Pool B? Here you go.
- For Texas State to reach title game: NMSU must beat DBU; Texas State must beat UTA.
- For UTA to reach title game: DBU must beat NMSU; UTA must beat Texas State.
- For NMSU to reach title game: NMSU must beat DBU; UTA must beat Texas State.
- For DBU to reach title game: DBU must beat NMSU, Texas State must beat UTA.
LAS VEGAS — It would be impossible to understate how big Texas State junior forward Joel Wright played in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. Wright’s head coach, Doug Davalos, called him the “…best player in the tournament…” and it would be tough to argue that point.
Texas State junior forward Joel Wright was named to the All-WAC Tournament team.
Once New Mexico State wrapped up the tournament title with a 64-55 win Saturday night over Texas-Arlington, Wright could finally get his deserved accolade.
Wright and four others were named to the All-WAC Tournament team. Kevin Butler (UTA), Karol Gruszeki (UTA), Daniel Mullings (NMSU) and Sim Bhullar (NMSU), who was named the Most Valuable Player, joined Wright.
Against Seattle University in the play-in round, Wright scored 26 points, grabbed nine rebounds and notched five steals. Then in the quarterfinals against Denver, Wright posted 32 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes. Wright capped the tournament with a 17-point, 11-rebound outing in the semifinal loss to the Aggies.
Here is Wright’s composite stat line in three tournament games: 65 points, 61.1 percent shooting from the field, 31-of-36 from the free-throw line (WAC Tournament record), 27 rebounds and five steals.
“I just came out here and played basketball,” Wright said. “I work hard on and off the court, so I knew it was going to pay off somehow.”
All-WAC Tournament Team
- Texas State forward Joel Wright
- New Mexico State guard Daniel Mullings
- New Mexico State center Sim Bhullar (MVP)
- UT-Arlington guard Kevin Butler
- UT-Arlington forward Karol Gruszecki
Texas State junior forward Joel Wright had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
LAS VEGAS — All good things have to end at some point, right?
Well, that was the case Friday night in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament for Texas State. Despite another tremendous performance by junior forward Joel Wright, the Bobcats came up short against New Mexico State. Texas State fell to the Aggies, 74-65.
Wright capped a tremendous tournament with a 17-point, 11-rebound outing. He finished the tournament with 65 points (on 61 percent shooting) and 27 rebounds. Head coach Doug Davalos called Wright, who set a tournament record with 31 made free throws, the best player in the tournament. It would tough to argue with Davalos.
Now the Bobcats head into an uncertain offseason. Davalos, who is 92-120 in seven years as head coach, is without a contract after it expired at the end of the season and the program moves to the Sun Belt Conference as of July 1.
“I think it’s outstanding,” Davalos said of the program’s future. “You look at the guys who are coming back and there’s a lot to be excited about. There are a lot of growing pains that don’t have to be gone through, because the guys know each other and whenever you have continuity, it usually leads to positive results.”
Greetings from The Orleans Arena, where Texas State trails New Mexico State by nine at halftime.
Here are my thoughts.
- Foul trouble and poor free-throw shooting are killing the Bobcats right now. Four Texas State players (Basil Brown, Reid Koenen, Matt Staff, Joel Wright) have two fouls and with two of them true forwards, that’s a tough pill to swallow with the Aggies’ size. On the flip side, when the Bobcats get fouled, they can’t make their free throws. Texas State is 11-of-17 at the line.
- Early on, the Bobcats kept New Mexico State off the glass. That’s changed. Texas State owned an 11-7 rebounding edge, including a 4-0 mark on the offensive glass. Now it’s the Aggies with a 20-16 advantage.
- In the Bobcats’ two wins this tournament, they jumped out to an 8-0 and 10-0 lead. Texas State trailed 7-3 today.
- Junior forward Joel Wright only needs three points to give him 600 for the season. Wright would be only the fifth Bobcat to do so. Who was the last Texas State player to reach that milestone? Glad you asked. James Patrick scored 603 in 1978-79.
- Senior forward Matt Staff tied a team record with his 32nd start this season. Five others have done so, with John Bowman being the last in 2010-11.
LAS VEGAS — Believe it or not, Texas State is two games away from the NCAA Tournament.
With a win tonight over New Mexico State, the Bobcats would advance to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament final against either Texas-Arlington or Texas-San Antonio. Tip-off between Texas State and the Aggies is set for 8 p.m.
During the regular season, New Mexico State swept the Bobcats. The Aggies posted a 78-67 win in Las Cruces, N.M. and drubbed Texas State, 86-72, in San Marcos.
Junior forward Joel Wright struggled from the field in both of those games, but he seems to be locked in now. Through two games in the WAC Tournament, Wright amassed 58 points on 16-of-22 shooting and he’s been getting to the free-throw line at an astounding clip (26-of-30).
If the Bobcats are to win tonight, they’ll need another complete effort like they’ve put forth during their current three-game win streak. Texas State must slow down Daniel Mullings and Bandja Sy, while limiting Sim Bhullar’s impact on the game.
Check back throughout the night for updates.
LAS VEGAS — How about those Bobcats?
Texas State advanced to the semifinal of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with a 72-68 win over the University of Denver. Junior forward Joel Wright led the Bobcats with 32 points and seven rebounds.
Tomorrow night, Texas State faces No. 3 New Mexico State. Winner gets a berth to Saturday’s final.
College Basketball: Bobcats upset No. 2 Denver
Well, look what we have here. At halftime inside The Orleans Arena, No. 7 Texas State owns a 36-32 lead over No. 2 Denver.
- Mentioned this on Twitter, but I’m truly impressed with the Bobcats’ defensive game plan so far. Texas State has done a fine job of taking away the Pioneers’ best play (the backdoor cut) and is letting them shoot from three. Denver was 0-of-7 through the first 10 minutes, but is since 3-of-6. Only 10 points in the paint for the Pioneers, who thrive getting to the hoop.
- It seems as if the only thing that can stop junior forward Joel Wright this game is foul trouble. Wright picked up two fouls in the first half, but has 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and is 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
- Other than Wright, nobody is truly chipping in. Sure, junior guard Deonte’ Jones had the first five points of the game, but he’s been silent since then. Senior forward Matt Staff hasn’t done much on the offensive end (five points on 1-of-4 shooting), but is doing fine on defense (three rebounds, two blocks).
- As long as Texas State continues to hold the line when Denver makes a run, an upset could happen.
All that stands between Texas State and a trip to the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament is the University of Denver.
Take a look at the previous matchups between the Bobcats and Pioneers.
Score: Denver 64, TXST 53
Scorers in double figures: Denver (3), TXST (3)
Leading scorer: Denver (Chris Udofia – 15), TXST (Vonn Jones – 16)
Shooting percentages: Denver (54.8), TXST (38.6)
Points in paint: Denver (28), TXST (18)
Location: San Marcos
Score: Denver 79, TXST 64
Scorers in double figures: Denver (4), TXST (1)
Leading scorer: Denver (Brett Olson – 22), TXST (Joel Wright – 33)
Shooting percentages: Denver (55.3), TXST (38.8)
Points in paint: Denver (36), TXST (30)
As you can see in both games, Texas State struggled to find its shot. Denver, however, used its Princeton offense to perfection and found easy baskets with backdoor cuts as the Bobcats eventually broke down. For Texas State to pull off an upset, Doug Davalos’ team must stay sound defensively for an entire shot clock and find multiple scoring options to not leave Wright on an island.
Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PST (4:30 p.m. CST) inside The Orleans Arena. Winner gets either No. 3 New Mexico State or No. 6 Idaho.