A 35-point victory over UT-Tyler (0-1), on his 61st birthday no less, wasn’t enough to satisfy Texas State (1-0) head coach Danny Kaspar.
“That first half, we got a little self-satisfied with the way we were playing. We did not come out with intensity the second half,” said Kaspar. “I told them I wanted them to hold it to 40 and they got 49. Towards the end, we were open, but we shot too many threes when they need to just take it to the hole.
To Kaspar’s credit, the Bobcats shot just 16-30 (53%) from the free throw line and went 7-23 (30%) from three. They seemed to take their foot off the pedal in the second half, settling for jump shots instead of higher percentage shots.
“I’m a little bit disappointed with our shooting percentages, both from the free throw line and the field. We need to take the ball to the hole, in particular, Cam Naylor. I’m on him to take it to the hole. I don’t know what his issue is on why he’s looking for jump shots but he’s a very quick player who can just go by people. I’m working hard with him to get him to realize that.”
Despite this, the Bobcats played an efficient game on both sides of the court. Everyone on the roster, outside of the injured Emani Gant, played at least six minutes and scored at least two points. Senior forward Kavin Gilder-Tilbury led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points on 6-10 shooting, 1-3 from beyond the arc. He added eight rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
In relief of Gant, junior forward Maljihum McCrea started his first D1 basketball game after transferring to Texas State from St. Petersburg College in Florida. He led the Bobcats in blocks with nine and scored 11 points on 5-7 shooting in just 15 minutes.
When asked if he felt nervous, not just playing, but starting his first game, McCrea had a quick response, “No, its just basketball. Coach prepared us in practice; we practiced hard. Coach prepared me for this; he’s always on us. He never lets up. I mean, it was just like practice out there. It’s my job to bring energy and rebounding. That’s my role. If I can score, I’ll score, but my role is my role and I play my role.”
“We knew when we signed him, we signed a warrior,” said Kaspar of McCrea.
This is the first time in Kaspar’s three years at Texas State that he has a roster made up completely of players he recruited. He has said he is looking for mentally tough players that will buy into their role and play within his system. He is on tough on his players but he is trying to bring in guys that can handle that pressure. With a quote like that from McCrea, it’s starting to look like Kaspar is bringing in the players he wants.
On a brighter note, Kaspar did offer this glass-half-full comment about his team’s performance, “It’s not a bad game when you consider Emani Gant wasn’t on the floor.”
Texas State will travel to El Paso to face UTEP Saturday, tip is set for 8:30pm from the Don Haskins Center.null