Austin, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Intrastate rivals collide Saturday as the Texas State Bobcats hit the road to take on the eighth-ranked Texas Longhorns in a non-conference battle at Frank Erwin Center.
Texas State enters the clash with a 5-1 record on the season, bringing with it a three-game win streak. The Bobcats have only dropped an 80-67 contest to Texas-San Antonio, and have since won three straight, which includes a, 81-65 thumping of Prairie View A&M last Saturday.
Texas was sporting a 7-0 record on the season before the Longhorns headed to Lexington to tangle with the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Texas dropped the contest, 63-51, which ended the team's unbeaten streak.
These two in-state rivals have met on the court 48 times in their all-time series history. Texas enters this 49th clash with a 43-5 record over the Bobcats, with an 85-53 destruction over Texas State occurring last season in Austin.
Texas State put on an offensive clinic against Prairie View A&M in the team's last outing. The Bobcats finished the game shooting an impeccable 60.4 percent from the floor, including a 62.5 percent touch in the first half that allowed the team to gain a seven-point halftime advantage - one the Bobcats would not surrender. Emani Gant tallied a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to pace the team, while Jamarcus Weatherspoon netted 14 points and Wes Davis chipped in with 12 and four assists. Texas State took 30 free-throw attempts in the contest, and made 20 of them.
When it comes to offense, Texas State has been a distribution of wealth model. Only Gant (16.2 ppg) has a double-digit scoring average this season for the Bobcats, while Cameron Naylor (9.0 ppg) checks in as the next-closest to Gant's scoring total. But the Bobcats are still averaging a respectable 69.2 ppg on 48.4 percent shooting, and are sporting a strong defensive effort that has surrendered just 53.8 ppg to opponents. Gant has been a beast on the boards as well, grabbing a team-best 8.2 rpg with another team high in steals (14).
The Longhorns did a solid job defensively to limit the top-ranked team in the country to just 63 points on 37.5 percent shooting from the field, but it was a dismal offensive day for the visitors. Texas shot a mere 29.8 percent in the contest, and hit just 4-of-20 from 3-point range in the loss. Jonathan Holmes paced the offensive effort with 14 points, while Demarcus Holland netted 10 points with five assists in the defeat. The Longhorns did exercise their dominance on the glass by outrebounding Kentucky, 42-31.
Much like Texas State, the Longhorns have shown they can be overpowering on both ends of the court. Texas is averaging 69.9 ppg this season, and is holding its opponents to 53.9 ppg on just 31.6 percent shooting. Isaiah Taylor owns a 15.0 ppg average, though the guard has been out since the team's third game with a broken left wrist. He won't be back anytime soon for the Longhorns. Holmes (12.9 ppg) and Myles Turner (11.4 ppg) have stepped it up in the scoring department in Taylor's absence.