Texas State’s men, women defying Sun Belt’s basketball expectations


In October, a preseason basketball coaches poll had Texas State’s men’s team finishing dead last in the Sun Belt, with the women’s team coming in sixth.

Those projections were understandable.

Both teams endured losing seasons last year, and the men were returning only five players from its 2016 roster.

Five months later, both Bobcats teams finished with winning records, No. 4 seeds in this week’s Sun Belt tournament and first-round byes into the quarterfinals.

The men (18-12, 11-7) face 12th-seeded Louisiana Monroe, which beat fifth-seed Arkansas State 73-70 in overtime Wednesday, in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Friday at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. The women (16-13, 11-7) will play fifth seed Louisiana-Lafayette at 2 p.m. Thursday.

This is the first winning season for the Bobcats in Danny Kaspar’s four years in San Marcos. In fact, it’s the first time the men have had a winning season in 14 years.

“We’re tougher this year,” said forward Kavin Gilder-Tilbury. “The February and March months are the toughest out of the whole season, and teams have to stay together during this time. A lot of teams fold and a lot of teams rise.

“I feel like last year we let emotions and other things get to us, affecting our game. This year, we’re not letting anything distract us; we’re just trying to win games and focus on every little thing. Every possession matters. We’re just staying together no matter what.”

Gilder-Tilbury was named to the all-conference first team, the first time a Bobcat has made the first team since Terry Conerway in 2003. Gilber-Tilbury led the Bobcats in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures in 28 of Texas State’s 30 games, including the last 19 in a row. He earned Sun Belt player of the week honors twice this season.

Freshman guard Nijal Pearson was named the Sun Belt’s player of the week to end the season; Gilder-Tilbury had won it the week before.

On the women’s team, junior guard Taeler Deer was named to the All-Sun Belt’s third team, the first all-conference honor of her career. She scored in double figures in 15 of the team’s 29 games, including four 20-point performances. She was the Sun Belt’s second-best three-point shooter, at 45.7 percent.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Alabama’s Nick Saban on eclipse; ‘I’ll watch it on TV’
Alabama’s Nick Saban on eclipse; ‘I’ll watch it on TV’

Alabama football coach Nick Saban is not impressed with the hype surrounding Monday’s total eclipse, ESPN reported.  “I watch the Weather Channel every day,” Saban said Saturday after a scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium. “They're already saying what it's going to look like in every city in America. So what's going...
Bobcats have a change in attitude for Withers’ second season
Bobcats have a change in attitude for Withers’ second season

With the football season less than two weeks away, Texas State coach Everett Withers noted a change in attitude Sunday during the Bobcats’ media day. “You can put a culture in place but a culture doesn’t work unless you’ve got people buy in,” said Withers, who enters his second season with the Bobcats after finishing 2-10...
The Texas 22: Starting at right tackle — Tristan Nickelson
The Texas 22: Starting at right tackle — Tristan Nickelson

We’re breaking down who we think will be Texas’ starting lineup, a combined effort from Mike Craven, Brian Davis and Danny Davis. We’re doing two a day, one offensive and one defensive player. TRISTAN NICKELSON Senior offensive lineman, 6-10, 315 High school: League City Clear Falls (Navarro College) Signing class: 2015...
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin ‘proud’ school cancelled on-campus white nationalist rally

Earlier in the week Texas A&M cancelled a white nationalist rally that was scheduled for Sept. 11 due to security concerns. Sumlin, who spoke for the first time since the school’s decision on Saturday, praised the announcement. “I’m really proud of [the school’s decision],” Sumlin told reporters on Saturday...
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2003 season
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2003 season

The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.  OK, so here’s a blurb by Statesman reporter Suzanne Halliburton from spring football in 2003: If there’s a budding quarterback controversy on...
More Stories