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 Game Thread - @ Appalachian State 
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Post Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
Christmas break is behind us and so is non-conference play as the Bobcats begin Sun Belt play Friday night at 6:30pm CST vs. the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

RPI Breakdown:
Texas State finished the non-conference slate at 7-6. Despite the winning record, the Bobcats sit at 339 in RPI out of 351 D1 teams thanks to the weakest strength of schedule of all 351 teams (depending on where you look, but we're near the bottom in every publication). Our RPI will naturally raise as we take on Sun Belt teams with winning records but our non-conference schedule was full of bad teams with bad records. Best win was over Pacific who is at 218 in RPI and has a record of just 5-9. Our only other win over a top 300 team was UTRGV at 273 in RPI with a record of 6-8. The only top 200 team we even played was Colorado State at 128. Pacific was the 2nd best RPI we played. The only teams we played that currently have a winning record are UTSA and ACU. Going 0-0 vs. top 100 teams, 0-1 vs. 100-200 teams, 2-4 vs. 201-300 teams, 3-1 vs. 301+ teams, and 2-0 vs. non-D1 teams is a recipe for an awful RPI and we have just that at 339.

Position Breakdowns through non-conference play:
Point Guard has easily been the most disappointing position on the floor up to this point. I think most TXST fans underestimated Ojai Black's value to the team because he wasn't a big time scorer. Marlin Davis has struggled as the starter at point guard all season though he has slowly started to improve some as of late. He's averaging 5.3 PPG but has struggled shooting the ball (just 2/12 from 3 on the season, 53.8% from the free throw line). He has started to improve taking care of the ball and has 42 assists on the season to 22 turnovers. I'll include Tre Nottingham here though he probably played more at shooting guard so far thanks to some of the injuries and sicknesses we had there. Nottingham is a combo guard that can play either spot, but despite showing the versatility of playing both positions he hasn't exactly excelled at either. He was a big time scorer at JUCO, averaging 19.2 PPG last year, but is averaging just 3.8 up to this point with the Bobcats. He was a pretty decent 3-point shooting threat in JUCO as well, particularly his freshman season when he shot 38.7%, but is shooting only 20% so far for at TXST. Struggling to adjust from JUCO to D1 can be a rough transition and hopefully we see him begin to take off soon. If nothing else, Reggie Miller has provided us with more depth at PG than we had last year as Kaspar is trusting the true freshman enough to play in 12 of 13 games and he's averaging 8.8 minutes per game. For those watching I think we see a lot of potential with Miller who's underdeveloped physically at this level but has managed to compete for playing time and make the most of his opportunities. He's shooting the ball well from 3 and seems to be one of the better FT shooters on the team. Needs to cut down on turnovers some as he has 11 on the season in 106 minutes of action.

Tyler Blount has stepped up and filled the starting shooting guard spot nicely in my opinion. We aren't near as strong as we were here a year ago, but I was very concerned about Blount's ability to even play at this level going into the season and I think he's proved he can at least be serviceable and not a liability. He's also physically challenged trying to play the SG spot at just 5'11". D1 shooting guards can often be 6'3"-6'4" which can make his defensive assignments tough at times, but he's hung in there. He's 3rd on the team in scoring at 7.9 PPG and he's finally been the 3-point threat we recruited him to be shooting 43.7% from 3 on the season on 25/57 shooting. Isaiah Gurley has been batting injuries all season and missed 4 of the 13 non-conference games due to injury. Most of those games were early in the season and he looked completely lost at times when he first got on the floor, but you can tell things are starting to click. He's really not shooting the ball well from anywhere or done anything spectacular but you can just tell he's an athlete and there's a lot of potential there. I'm interested to see what he'll do as the season progresses assuming he's getting healthy. Despite Gurley's injury Shelby Adams didn't get a ton of playing time early in the season. He's getting a bit more now as non-conference play progressed but is averaging a non-walkon low of 6.6 minutes per game. That being said he's been the most efficient non-center scorer shooting 61.9% from the field. He's also proven he can be a versatile wing type player who could fill in at small forward if needed.

There's no question that Nijal Pearson is the team's best player at this point. But he's struggled so far this season as the main guy. Without a great 2nd scoring threat, teams have been able to key in on Pearson and make things tough for him. Pearson had the luxury of playing with Kavin Gilder-Tilbury last year who drew a lot of the defense's attention and it really opened things up for Pearson to have a fantastic freshman season. We badly need someone to step up and be a legitimate 2nd scoring threat when teams put their focus on Pearson or he's going to continue to struggle. It's almost like Kobe late in his career for Pearson right now. After a decent early start to the season, Deris Duncan's playing time has started to wane a little bit. Duncan is only playing 7.7 mpg and only scoring 2.5 a game. Getting more rest could help Pearson stay fresh as well if Duncan can step up and play better.

After the incumbent starter had to sit while battling tendonitis, Alex Peacock took over the starting power forward position and hasn't given it up yet. Peacock had a couple great games early when he took over the job (A&M-Corpus game comes to mind) and is now the team's 4th leading scorer at 7.5 PPG. He's also been a valuable rebounder bringing down 5.6 RPG. He's also been a huge asset as easily the team's most reliable FT shooter up to this point at 81.1% on 30/37 shooting. On top of all that he's a great passer for a power forward and has dished out the 2nd most assists on the team. He's now started 7 games straight after coming off the bench for the first 6 and I don't see that changing going into conference play. Nedja Prijovic is the player who lost his spot to Peacock. He missed two games completely and only played a couple minutes of a 3rd while battling tendonitis. Hopefully that is behind him and he's healthy as this was a player we were hoping in the pre-season could emerge as one of the primary scoring threats behind Pearson. He's only marginally upped his scoring from a season ago at 5.2 PPG. If healthy though I think we should start to see him start to emerge as a scorer as the season progresses and the battle between he and Peacock for the starting spot should be interesting. Walk-on Quentin Scott provides some depth here and did get some meaningful minutes during the games Prijovic missed, but if we stay healthy he will likely only play down the stretch in blowouts.

Immanuel King needs to step up and be that 2nd scoring threat behind Pearson. He's 2nd on the team in scoring at 10.1 PPG but the opportunity is there to up that significantly. Though he's shooting a team 2nd-best 63.5% from the field he's been missing far too many easy looks right at the rim lately that need to be turned into points. He has the physical size and tools to be a quality center in the Sun Belt, he just needs to play aggressive and with a purpose. He also leads the team in rebounding, but his stats were a bit inflated against the non-D1 teams we played in which we were at a significant size advantage. He's not having a bad season by any means, but I think he has the potential to play better than he currently is. Eric Terry has emerged as a scoring threat in the frontcourt as well and is actually the top scorer off the bench at 7.0 PPG. He's playing nearly identical minutes as King but has been far sloppier with the ball (28 turnovers on the season in 196 minutes is awful) and hasn't been near as good a rebounder as King either. It's apparent at this point we are redshirting Alonso Sule. I've noticed Kaspar likes to redshirt true freshman centers, presumably to let them develop physically an extra year (hard to recruit quality big men at this level).

Looking at the App game tonight:
App went 5-8 in non-conference play and currently has an RPI of 290 (won't see TXST's RPI get much better after tonight regardless of what happens). They have one pretty decent win blowing out Davidson by 16. They have two non-D1 wins and their two other D1 wins were against UTEP and South Florida. They have played a much tougher schedule than TXST has (well, almost everyone has). They nearly knocked off a pretty good Iowa State team in an early season tournament 104-98. They've also lost to a pretty good Ohio State team and a decent VCU team. They also have a few really bad losses to James Madison and Hampton. The Hampton loss was their most recent game. They enter this game having lost 4 straight. They are 4-0 on the season at home however.

For those who may read my drivel you may remember me raving on Ronshad Shabazz's potential the last couple years now. He's back for his Junior season and having a big season so far averaging 20.9 PPG, 4th in the Sun Belt. He was named 2nd team all-Sun Belt in the preseason. He finished 3rd team all-Sun Belt last year after his sophomore season. The 6'5" guard takes a lot of shots and a lot of 3-point attempts. While he's not the most efficient scorer in the world he is talented and will shoot it from deep or drive to the rim. He also leads the team in FT attempts. Last year we had a couple great battles between Pearson and Shabazz guarding each other, that being said I'm not sure how Kaspar's man defense plans to defend this big App lineup. Their starters go 6-2, 6-5, 6-8, 6-8, 6-9. This could be an issue for the bobcats who go 6-2, 5-11, 6-5, 6-7, 6-8. Pearson may be forced to defend someone other than Shabazz at times, leaving Shabazz for one of our smaller guards to defend, which could be bad news for us.

True Freshman Point Guard Justin Forrest has taken over the starting PG spot for the Mountaineers and has been a nice surprise averaging 16.1 PPG. He's also a big-time 3-point threat shooting 38.1% and having already jacked up 97 3s on the season. This team is going to shoot a ton of 3-point shots. Kaspar's man defense usually works from the inside out and we can get beat by hot shooting teams. We allow teams to shoot from 3 sometimes. A hot shooting night from App and we likely lose tonight, if they struggle from deep we are likely the favorite. Big man Griffin Kinney is the 3rd player to watch for App. The 6'8" senior is averaging 10.4 PPG. Kinney and King are familiar with each other having faced off twice last year, however I'm not sure if King will match up with the bulkier Kinney or the taller Isaac Johnson tonight. My guess is King will still defend Kinney. Johnson is the team's best rebounder at 8.2 RPG however, and if we have to matchup Peacock/Prijovic on Johnson they will have the advantage. Either way, we will be the smaller team tonight.

TXST won both meetings last year, winning both in Boone and in San Marcos. Despite the record though, I think App will be much improved in Sun Belt play this year with Shabazz and Kinney having another year under their belts and Forrest emerging as a real threat as a true freshman. They were picked just 11th in the 12 team Sun Belt in the preseason however after finishing 11th at 4-14 in SBC games last season.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30pm. App is currently favored by 3.5 points. The women's teams will square off at 4pm which could alter the start time of the men's game depending on the length of the women's game.

Free video should be available here (for both the men and women's games):
http://www.appstatesports.com/watch/?Live=89&type=Live


Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:48 am
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
Thank you.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:28 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
36-35 Mountaineers at halftime.

Pearson leading TXST with 10 though he only played 10 minutes after picking up 2 early fouls. Terry has 8 off the bench and Peacock has 5.

Forrest has 9 for App, Shabazz has 8, and Bennett Holly has 6.

App has already put up 18 3s and is shooting well at 44.4% from 3. As usual, our perimeter defense is allowing some open 3 point looks. Good news is they hit 8 threes in the first half and only lead by one. We are shooting 54.2% from the field to Apps 37.9%. 8 of their 11 made FGs are from 3. They haven't been able to do much other than shoot 3s so far. TXST only 8/14 at the FT line. Have to do better than that.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:23 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
Good start to the 2nd half (other than 3 fouls already) and TXST takes a 41-36 lead. App calls timeout with 17:10 to play. Pearson with 12.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:38 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
52-43 TXST with 11:33 remaining.

One thing to watch, we're in some serious foul trouble at the 4. Peacock has 4 and Prijovic has 3. And we've committed 7 fouls already this half. Officials calling it tight.

Pearson up to 14 and Terry joining him in double digits with 12.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:53 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
In unrelated news, Beach Chickens kicking the hell out of UTA . . . up by 25 with about 2 minutes to play.

Big win for Coastal . . Hope they're really Flat on Sunday . .

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Last edited by Bobcat87 on Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
52-47 at under 8 media timeout. Yes, we haven't scored in almost 4 minutes.

Fouls just piling up. Peacock has 4. Davis, Blount, Prijovic, and Terry all have 3. App in double bonus rest of the way.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
59-58 App with 3:20 remaining. This would be another awful loss if we can't pull it out after building a 9 point 2nd half lead.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:12 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
62-62. App hits an open 3, we jack up a shitty 3. We foul. 65-62.

App at the line with a 3 point lead and 3 seconds left.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:21 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
66-62. Another blown 2nd half lead.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Game Thread - @ Appalachian State
They call it tight all game then swallow their whistle on Tre’s drive on the possession before they knocked down a 3 to ultimately win the game.


Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:26 pm
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