Texas State entered the final rendition of the WAC tournament with a record of 10-21, largely because their five-game losing streak to start February was the second time this season they had lost at least that many in a row.
Now, the Bobcats instead find themselves winners of three straight following an upset of #2 seed Denver University, as both this win and the previous two came largely on the back of junior Joel Wright.
Wright, a transfer from Duquesne, has been the team's leading scorer and rebounder all season to the tune of 17.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg, but this last stretch of games has seen him step up his game and take charge for the Bobcats. In the season-ending blowout of San Jose State, Wright shot 70% from the field and racked up 21 points and 10 rebounds, and he then followed that with a 26 point performance in the team's opening round win over Seattle.
Tonight, however, he was like butter. Despite having only four points at the first media timeout, Wright finished the first half with 16 points on his way to 32 for the game. He made nine of the ten shots he took and chipped in another 14 free throws to lead the Bobcats, who jumped out to a 10-0 lead and then finished the game 10-10 on free throws.
Sure, TSU had two assists on their first three baskets and then one the rest of the game, but when you shoot 66% from the field, does it really matter? Denver made ten three pointers, but they needed that just to erase the hole they dug early on, and they just couldn't get the defensive stops they needed to get back ahead.
The Cats will now face New Mexico State, and while it would be an even bigger shock for them to pull off another win, anything is possible with the way Wright is playing right now.