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The Bobcats win their first round match up against Georgia State in the Sun Belt Tournament. Above, Drue Drinnon led the Cats with 16 points.
Photo provided by Texas State Athletics

Texas State opens tournament with win over Georgia State

Thursday, March 2, 2023

PENSACOLA, Fla. – With five Bobcats in double- figures for scoring, No. 11 seed Texas State took down No. 14 seed Georgia State, 81-76, in the first round of the 2023 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Basketball Championship at the Pensacola Bay Center on Tuesday.

Drue Drinnon scored 16 points, Jordan Mason 15, Tyrel Morgan 14, Mason Harrell 13 and Nate Martin 13 led the Bobcats in points in the opening round over the Panthers (10-21, 3-15 Sun Belt). The quintet scored 24 of their combined 71 points at the free throw line as the Bobcats finished the night 24-of-28 at the line. The 24 free throws made were one shy of Texas State’s season-high.

Texas State (14-18, 6-12 Sun Belt) also shot 51.9 percent from the field, its third 50-percent-or-better outing in the last seven games.

The win for the Bobcats was their first in the Sun Belt tournament since 2019-20.

Texas State led for more than 36 minutes and only allowed Georgia State within four in the second half. The Panthers led for a total of 43 seconds in the game.

The Bobcats led by as much as 14 late in the first half and carried a 10-point lead into the break. Texas State shot 50 percent, going 16-of-32, in the opening 20 minutes, but only to outdo it in the second half with a 55 percent clip, going 11-of-20.

It was the Bobcats’ performance at the free throw line that sealed the victory as Texas State only missed one free throw on its first 18 attempts in the second half.

Georgia State pulled within four points on three occasions in the second half, but on the last two times, the Bobcats drew a foul to go to the line. After the Panthers cut it to 65-61 with 4:43 to go, Mason drained his one-and-one attempts at the free throw line to make it 67-61. More than 30 seconds later, Georgia State cut it back to four at 67-63, but Martin completed both of his attempts on the next possession to make it a six-point game once again.

The late lead swelled to as much as 11 with more converted free throw attempts. The Panthers cut it to five at the end with a late uncontested lay-up.

While Texas State shot 55 percent in the second half, Georgia State turned in a 56.7 field goal percentage in the final 20 minutes. The Panthers finished the game 26-of-54 from the field, going 48.1 percent.

The Bobcats advanced for a matchup against the No. 6 seed Old Dominion at 5 p.m. today. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and heard on the Varsity Sports Network.

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