CONWAY – Texas State senior guard Nijal Pearson scored a game-high 20 points and the Bobcats shot a remarkable 63 percent from the field as the visitors earned their fifth consecutive win, 100-63 over Coastal Carolina in a Sun Belt conference game Thursday evening at the HTC Center.
Sophomore guard DeVante’ Jones scored 15 points to lead the Chanticleers, who dropped to 12-12 overall and 5-8 in the league. Texas State, which had four players in double figures, improved to 15-9 overall and 8-5 in the Sun Belt.
Jones, who had 11 of his points in the second half, was one of three players to hit double figures for the Chanticleers. The other two were sophomore reserve guard Malik LeGania, who had a career high 11 points, and senior forward Tommy Burton, who had 10 points to go along with eight rebounds.
“They played about as well as they could play and we played as poorly as we could play,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis. “After we had just played so well in the last game, this is a disappointment. Our defense has got to be better and our point guards have to get us into better options on offense.”
Coastal traded baskets with the visitors in the early going before Texas State was off and running. In the end, Texas State scored the most points (100) and had the biggest margin of victory (37 points) over the Chanticleers this season. Ironically, Coastal is now 0-6 on Thursdays this season in the Sun Belt.
Quentin Scott had all seven of his first-half points in an early 16-3 run that put Texas State comfortably in front 27-12. From there, Alonzo Sule had six points to fuel a 13-2 run late in the half that put the Bobcats in front at the break with their largest lead, 48-27. Pearson quietly had 11 points to lead all scorers in the first half, including a couple of three-pointers.
Pearson, the league’s top scorer at 19 points a game, hit another three-pointer with 13 minutes remaining in the game, before sitting out the final 10 minutes of the contest after earning his 12th 20-point performance of the season. Texas State’s largest lead was at 41 points, 83-41, midway through the second half.
Texas State made 40-64 shots from the field, while Coastal hit just 21-56 (38%). The two teams were relatively even in other statistical categories; three-pointers made, free throws made and rebounds. Coastal still struggled with 16 turnovers and gave up 48 points in the paint, leading to the Bobcats’ high field goal percentage.