College Hoops: Bobcat men ready to get back in thick of WAC
Before Texas State embarked on its recent three-game road trip, junior forward Joel Wright pledged a change to head coach Doug Davalos.
“I told Coach Davalos, ‘The second half of the season is ours,’” Wright said. “‘Whatever happened in the first half is over.’ I’m a man of my word.”
Judging how the Bobcats’ first 18 games went, Wright’s proclamation couldn’t have been too far off. Through those games, Texas State was 4-14 and had a nine-game losing streak to its credit.
Then something happened. Wright took over.
In his last three games, all wins by the Bobcats, Wright has been unstoppable. Wright, the reigning Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week, averaged 24 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists per game in wins over Texas-San Antonio, Idaho and Seattle University.
“Just like I battled that whole trip, my team has been right behind me,” Wright said. “I can’t look at it like a single-man accomplishment.”
It’s going to take a team effort for Texas State to continue its season-long win streak, beginning tonight when it hosts second-place New Mexico State. After losing their first two conference games of the season, the Aggies reeled off seven consecutive wins, including a 53-42 win against Denver last Wednesday.
When the Bobcats played New Mexico State earlier this season in Las Cruces, N.M., a slow start killed their chances at a big road win. Texas State fought back to narrow the Aggies’ lead to four, but ended up losing by 11.
Comebacks have become as natural as breathing for the Bobcats recently, as each of their last three games feature come-from-behind victories. Texas State trailed the Roadrunners by nine, the Vandals by 17 and the Redhawks by 12.
“Before, we hoped we could win,” Davalos said. “Now, we believe that we will win. A lof of that comes down to the guys thinking no lead is insurmountable.”
Tonight marks the second round of conference play for each team in the WAC. Louisiana Tech still is undefeated at 9-0, but several teams are within striking distance and the seventh-place Bobcats have payback on their mind for six teams that extended their earlier losing streak.
“We owe a lot of teams one,” Wright said. “We lost a lot of games that we shouldn’t have lost. I’m not bragging or anything, but I think we’re a way better team than a lot of the opponents we play. A couple of setbacks had us messed up in the head. Now we’re focused, we got our adrenaline going and we have confidence in ourselves to take on whatever they put ahead of us.”
Tip-off is schedule for 7 p.m. inside Strahan Coliseum.