College Hoops: State seeks sweep over rival
For 26 of the last 28 years, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio cultivated a rivalry on the hardwood. Despite not playing from 1987-88, the Bobcats and Roadrunners met 52 times since 1985, with UTSA holding a 30-22 edge.
If the IH-35 Rivalry Series isn’t continued after this season, it’s possible that Saturday could be the last meeting between the two teams. Texas State and the Roadrunners went hand-in-hand from the Southland Conference to the Western Athletic Conference, but they’ll split next year when the Bobcats head to the Sun Belt and UTSA joins Conference-USA.
“It’s going to be sad if we don’t continue this rivalry when we’re not in the same conference next year,” said Texas State head coach Doug Davalos, who is 9-4 all-time against the Roadrunners. “These games are always meaningful, especially since they’re all conference games. That adds to it.
“Sometimes we’ve been in a must-win. Sometimes they’ve been in a must win. That definitely enhances it, but I still feel that no matter how our teams are doing, you’ll see two teams going hard at each other. I’ve yet to see a game where a team comes out flat in this rivalry.”
After the last meeting between the two teams, chances are UTSA has something to prove to the Bobcats. Texas State handed the Roadrunners an 81-78 overtime loss four weeks ago inside their own gym.
That win propelled the Bobcats forward and UTSA sat in neutral after some fleeting hope. Texas State won its next two games (all on the road) to extend its winning streak to three games, while the Roadrunners posted their only WAC win and proceeded to lose their next five in a row.
Again, the Bobcats look for momentum — but this time, at home. Coming into Saturday’s tilt, Texas State has lost six consecutive home games.
“We need to settle down and get some wins here,” said Bobcat junior forward Joel Wright, who is second in the WAC in scoring at 17.7 points per game. “Our crowd has always been there and three of our next four games are at home, so we need to protect our house.”
Texas State must also win a few games to improve its seeding in the upcoming WAC Tournament. Currently, the Bobcats sit in eighth place — percentage points behind San Jose State and trail sixth-place Idaho by two games.
“It’s pretty close in the standings, even with these losses,” Texas State junior forward Reid Koenen said. “If we can get as many wins now, as possible, it’s going to help us getting a better seed and having an easier game out there in Las Vegas."