SAN MARCOS, Texax – Sixth seeded App State men's basketball fell to third seed Texas State in the Sun Belt Tournament Quarterfinals by a 85-68 score on March 11
App State drops to 18-15 on the season. Texas State improves to 21-11 and advances to play second seed South Alabama in the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals on Marrch 14.
The Mountaineers' 18 wins are the most for the program since the 2009-10 season, when App State posted 23 wins. In addition, the Mountaineers finished with a winning conference road record (6-4) and recorded their most conference wins (11) since 2009-10.
Justin Forrest paced App State with a team-high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a perfect 6-of-6 mark from the free throw line off the bench.
Kendall Lewis added 13 points and three steals, while O'Showen Williams finished with 11 points and six rebounds. James Lewis Jr. added eight points and four rebounds (all offensive) off the bench.
Texas State jumped out to an early 9-3 advantage and opened a 14-5 edge, only to see the Mountaineers pull within five points at 17-12 on a 3-pointer from Forrest. The Bobcats came right back with four points to push their lead to 21-12, but App State chipped away and pulled within four at 25-21 with 7:28 to go in the opening half. From there, Texas State closed the half on a 15-5 run to take a 40-26 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Mountaineers scored the first two points of the half, but Texas State pushed its lead to 20 points at 55-35 with just over 10 minutes remaining. The Bobcats expanded their lead to as large as 24 points and the Mountaineers pulled within 15 points down the stretch, but could get no closer.
Isiah Small finished with 23 points and nine rebounds for Texas State. Nijal Pearson also poured in 23 points for the Bobcats.