Conway, S.C. (Jan. 10) – Senior forward Zac Cuthbertson scored 15 points and junior forward Tommy Burton came off the bench to score a career high 14 points all in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as Texas State escaped with a 65-61 win over Coastal Carolina in a tight Sun Belt Conference game Thursday at the HTC Center.
Coastal also got nine points apiece from guards David Krajl and Ajay Sanders but slipped to 7-8 overall and 1-2 in the league with its first loss of the season at home after four wins. Texas State, which improved to 13-3 overall and 2-1 in the league, was led by Alex Peacock and Nijal Pearson, who had 13 and 12 points respectively.
Cuthbertson also grabbed 10 rebounds to garner his seventh double-double of the season to help the Chanticleers to a 39-32 advantage on the boards, but the difference was from beyond the 3-point line. Coastal missed its last 14 3-point attempts and finished hitting just 3-19 (16 percent), while the Bobcats hit on 9-25 (36 percent).
“We just couldn’t get the ball to fall, and we had some good looks,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis. “Zac and Tommy were it for us. We had no perimeter play at all. Nothing was going down. But give them credit. They are one of the best defensive teams we will play. They just grind, and they are physical.”
Coastal trailed by just a point, at 62-61, with 37 seconds left, before Texas State junior forward Eric Terry sank a close-range hook shot to put his team up by 64-61 in the closing seconds. Senior guard Tre Nottingham added a free throw with two seconds left to close the scoring.
Coastal trailed 49-39 before going on a 10-2 run to pull within a couple points, at 51-49 with 9 minutes remaining, but the Chanticleers couldn’t get any closer. Burton scored 6 of those 10 points. Krajl followed that run with a 3-point attempt that would have given the Chanticleers the lead, but it didn’t fall.
Senior guard Ajay Sanders scored the first five points of the game to help Coastal Carolina to an early 13-5. But Texas State went on an 8-0 run to take the lead at 19-17 on a 3-pointer, one of seven long-range makes (7-13) by the Bobcats in the first half, and the Bobcats led the rest of the contest. They led 40-31 at the half.
The Chanticleers, who started by making 7-13 from the field went cold the rest of the way. They hit on only 12-37 from the field over the last 30 minutes. For the game, Coastal shot 19-50 (38 percent) while Texas State was 25-57 (44 percent). Coastal also suffered 15 turnovers as compared to 10 for Texas State.
Coastal will play the second of three consecutive home games at 2 p.m. Saturday, against Texas Arlington.