Texas State men’s basketball team (6-3) will hit the road to play a doubleheader against the University of Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (6-1) Jan. 1-2 to begin Sun Belt Conference play.
The Bobcats rank No. 2 in the West Division of the Sun Belt. In the last matchup between the two teams Feb. 1, Texas State beat the Ragin Cajuns 71-66. The Bobcats have won their last three contests against Louisiana. They look to continue that streak and make a strong run for their first in-conference victory.
The Ragin Cajuns are No. 1 in the West Division and seek to end the Bobcats' three-game win streak.
Texas State is coming off two close victories against Denver (70-68) and Northern Arizona (70-65) at the Pioneer Challenge in Colorado.
Junior guard Caleb Asberry was named the Pioneer Challenge Most Valuable Player. During the two-game stretch, Asberry put forth an impressive outing, averaging 24.5 points per game on 62.1% shooting (18-29. 6-12 three-pointers) along with three steals per game.
Against Northern Arizona, Asberry's 22 points marked the third straight game where he led the 'Cats in points. Other notable scorers were junior guard Mason Harrell (13), junior forward Alonzo Sule (12) and senior forward Isiah Small (12).
Out of the twelve teams in the Sun Belt, Texas State is No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing 63.1 points per game, but it has the third-worst average scoring margin in the conference with a mere 3.3.
On the other side, Louisiana has a similar average scoring margin of 3.4. Although the Ragin' Cajuns score more points per game than the Bobcats with 75.9, their scoring defense is tied for ninth in the conference, allowing 72.4 points per game
Harrell leads the Bobcats in points per game (14) followed by Asberry (12.1). Small leads the team in rebounds with 7.1 and ranks No. 5 in the Sun Belt in blocks per game (1.5).
As for Louisiana, its squad has four players averaging double-digit points on the season: Senior guard Cedric Russell (19), sophomore guard Mylik Wilson (13.7), junior forward Theo Akwuba (11.1) and senior forward Dou Gueye (10.4). Russell's points per game rank No. 3 in the Sun Belt.
In the Sun Belt, Akwuba is second in rebounds per game (11) and is first in blocked shots per game (3.6). Gueye ranks fourth in rebounds per game (10.1). In seven contests this season, Akwuba and Gueye have each had three double-doubles.
The first game of the doubleheader is at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1, followed by the second contest at 4 p.m. on Jan. 2. Both contests will take place at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana and can be streamed via ESPN+.