Texas State men's basketball (14-6 overall, 8-3 Sun Belt) took down in-conference rival the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks (11-10 overall, 7-6 Sun Belt) 63-56 on Feb. 11.
In the first matchup between the two teams this season, the game started as a back and forth affair in the first half. Texas State ultimately took a lead with 4:20 left in the period and maintained it to win the contest.
Sophomore guard Sam Griffin opened up the scoring for the Mavericks by hitting a two-point jumper. The Bobcats immediately answered with a layup by senior guard Shelby Adams to tie the ballgame within the first two minutes of the game.
As the first half went along, junior guard Caleb Asberry scored seven straight points to put the Bobcats up 11-8 with 13:31 left in the first half.
The Mavs galloped back into contention, as junior guard Shahada Wells made two layups to put UTA ahead 14-13.
As the first half was reaching the midway point, it was junior forward Alonzo Sule who kept Texas State afloat, as he scored six points for the Bobcats that ultimately kept them within two points with the score at 24-22 at the 4:58 mark in the first half.
Junior guard Mason Harrell hit a three-point jumper that put Texas State ahead 25-24 with 4:20 left in the first half. This was part of a 16-3 run by the Bobcats to finish the first half leading 36-27.
For the first half, the Bobcats shot 53.8% (14-26) from the field and 42.9% (3-7) from beyond the arc while holding the Mavericks to 40.7% overall (11-27) and 36.4% (4-11) from the three-point line.
The Bobcats forced UTA to turnover the ball 10 times which led to 16 points for the Maroon and Gold.
Texas State started the second half by extending its lead to 40-28, but UTA rallied with a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to 44-43 at the 9:56 left mark.
The Mavericks ultimately tied the ballgame 52-52 with 4:42 left in the game. Wells, along with sophomore guard Nicolas Elame, scored 19 of the Mavs initial 25 second-half points to tie the game.
Harrell came back and scored 7 of the Bobcats' final eleven points. He led the Bobcats on an 11-4 run to close win the game 63-56.
Texas State Interim Head Coach Terrence Johnson believes the close victory lived up to the expectations of a rivalry game and credits his team's ability to step up on defense as a major factor in the road win.
"It was tough and hard throughout the game," Johnson says. "I thought our guys put on a gutsy performance, starting with Shelby Adams and Mason Harrell. Their impact on the defensive end set the tone for us tonight. I am extremely proud of our guys for meeting the challenge tonight. This is not an easy place to win, and UTA is a good team."
Playing all 40 minutes of the contest, Harrell led the Bobcats in scoring with 19 points (6-11 FGS, 3-7 3FG, 4-7 FT) on the night. In addition to his scoring output, Harrell was impactful on the boards and as a facilitator as he finished with a career-high six rebounds and tied a career-best seven assists.
Asberry (4-11 FGS, 1-4 3FG) and Sule (4-10 FGS, 4-4 FT) finished with 12 points apiece. Adams (4-9 FGS) and senior forward Isiah Small (4-9 FGS) each scored eight points.
Small led both teams with seven rebounds (two offensive) with two steals while Adams had five rebounds (three offensive) with a game-high three steals.
UTA was led in scoring by Wells, as he had 20 points (8-19 FGS, 2-8 3FG, 2-2 FT) in addition to four assists and two steals. Elame had 17 points (6-10 FGS, 0-3 3FG, 5-7 FT) with six boards and four assists.
Despite the efforts of the Mavericks' two top scorers, the Bobcats cashed in on 16 UTA turnovers and turned it into 23 points. Texas State was also dominant in the paint as the team scored 34 of its 63 points in the region.
Texas State will play UTA once more at 4 p.m. on Feb. 13 at Strahan Arena as it looks to sweep the series. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.