Men’s basketball stuns NCAA D1 Texas State with late-game heroics

OLLU Saints men’s basketball stunned NCAA D1 Texas State University (TXST) 61-58 to improve to 1-1 this season. OLLU previously upset Texas State back in 2010 in a thrilling 127-126 overtime victory. This is Head Coach Chris Dial’s first victory over an NCAA D1 program as he enters his third season.

Dial commented on the game, “I’m really proud of the players and how they represented themselves and OLLU. We played hard as a team and showed a lot of composure. We were down by nine points with nine minutes left and never gave up. We played our best defensive game this season. In the middle of a pandemic, it’s not about the scoreboard, it’s about safety and mental health. We had one of our best practices this week and it was nice to see that effort come to fruition. Texas State has a great staff and we felt fortunate to produce a winning outcome.”

History
This is the second matchup against Texas State and the Saints lead the series 1-0 after a 127-126 win in 2010.

Basics
Both teams struggled in the first few minutes after missing multiple shots. Texas State jumped out to a six-point lead four minutes into the first half. The Saints quickly responded and eventually led by one point after a three-point shot from Ruben Monzon (JR/San Diego, Calif.). Texas State led by as many as 10 points down the stretch in the first frame. OLLU scored nine unanswered points in the last two and a half minutes to take a 31-30 lead heading into halftime. Xavier Woodington (JR/Honolulu, Hawaii) and Monzon helped lead the comeback toward the end of the half. Lennox Jones Jr. (SR/Richmond, Texas) hit a jump shot with 19 seconds remaining to give the Saints the lead going into the break.

Texas State flipped the switch in the second half and took an aggressive 11-point lead with just over nine minutes left. After a layup from Jones Jr. and three-point shots from Estefan Trevino (JR/San Antonio, Texas) and Darin Minniefield (SR/Houston, Texas), the Saints cut the Bobcats’ lead to one point. Ethan White (SR/San Antonio, Texas) buried a jump shot to give the Saints a 57-55 lead with 1:48 remaining. Minniefield hit a three-point shot to increase the Saints’ lead to 59-56 after a successful free-throw from the Bobcats.

The Saints played solid defense in the last 30 seconds after the Bobcats grabbed multiple offensive rebounds but failed to score. The Bobcats were forced to foul with seven seconds left on the clock. White blocked out the pressure of the moment and hit both free throws and the Saints led 61-58. Caleb Asberry missed the game-tying three-point shot with three seconds remaining and the Saints pulled off an exhilarating 61-58 victory.

Offensive/defensive standouts

Monzon led the Saints with 18 points, followed by Jones Jr. with 12 and White with seven. Monzon earned a double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds. Monzon, Jones Jr. and Minniefield led the Saints with two assists each.

Mason Harrell led the Bobcats with 18 points. Alonzo Sule and Isiah Small grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds apiece. Harrell also led the Bobcats with five assists.

Inside the box

OLLU combined for 24-of-56 shooting for 42.9 percent, 6-of-15 from three-point range for 40 percent and 7-of-15 from the free-throw line for 46.7 percent.

The Saints grabbed 34 rebounds while the Bobcats collected 50. OLLU forced 19 turnovers and committed 14.

Up next
The Saints travel to Corpus Christi, Texas, for an exhibition against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.