Junior guard, Nijal Person, prepares to shoot a free throw. Photo by Kate Connors

The Texas State Bobcats played championship-worthy basketball Saturday night against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the first half. The second half was a different story.

The Bobcats beat the Chanticleers with a final score of 65-57. The team improved to 19-5 total and 8-3 in conference play. Head coach Danny Kaspar said the game was more of a tale of two halves as the Bobcats dropped pace considerably after the halftime break.

“We looked like a championship team in the first half and we did not look like that the second half,” Kaspar said. “We got the win and that’s what counts.”

On Danny Kaspar Night at Strahan Arena, the crowd of 4,583 adorned fake mustaches and blazers to emulate coach Kaspar’s iconic look. While the jury is still out on if the fake mustaches helped the gameplay, the team gave Kaspar his 93rd win head coach. The win marks him as the third most winning coach in the program’s history.

Leading the charge for Saturday and many other games was star shooting guard junior Nijal Pearson and versatile forward Alex Peacock. On Saturday, Pearson led the team in scoring with 17 points while Peacock added 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds.

Sharpshooting guard senior Tre’Larenz Nottingham added a few three-pointers to help jumpstart the offense throughout the night. Nottingham said he felt confident taking the shots when the team needed him the most.

“I felt confident. Like I said in other interviews, ‘shooters shoot,'” Nottingham said. “I just have to see one basket go in. I’ve been shooting my whole life, I’m going to continue to shoot and keep playing hard.”

The Bobcats took a stranglehold of the game early on, starting the game with a 21-8 run, eventually taking a 38-23 lead into halftime.

With halftime adjustments, the Chanticleers pulled within seven points of the Bobcats after starting the first half with an 8-0 run. Using the full court press, Coastal Carolina forced Texas State into costly mistakes including 19 turnovers. The game came as close as three points late in the second half. Senior forward Alex Peacock said forced turnovers off the presses helped the Chanticleers stay in the game.

“We came out flat (in the second half) and we had a couple turnovers off of their press and silly turnover stuff that kind of let them back in the game,” Peacock said.

With the victory, Texas State remains tied with the UTA Mavericks for first place in the Sun Belt. Next up, the Bobcats will travel to take on Arkansas State Feb. 14 and will follow with a matchup at Little Rock University. The team will return to Strahan Arena to play its last two home games of the season to face ULM Feb. 21 and Louisiana on Feb. 23.

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