Men's basketball clinches the eighth seed in Sun Belt Conference Tournmanent

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Special to the Star

Eleven seconds remained in regulation with the Texas State men’s basketball team trailing by four points to Louisiana-Monroe.

D.J. Brown, senior guard, converted a layup to bring the deficit to two points with four seconds left. Louisiana-Monroe made one of two free throws, closing the game with a 56-53 victory.

The game told the story of the Bobcats’ season: close, but not enough.

Eleven of the team’s 16 losses have been by fewer than 10 points.

The Bobcats were pushing for a victory to end the regular season coming off a loss against Appalachian State Thursday.

The loss notwithstanding, Texas State enters the Sun Belt Conference tournament as the eighth seed.

“Offensively, we did not have it,” said Coach Danny Kaspar. “Eight for 16 from the line is going to hurt you any night.”

The Bobcat offense put together a 13-2 run to open the second half.

The Warhawks took a mere seven minutes to erase the deficit. Louisiana-Monroe went on an 18-10 run with 11:19 remaining in the second half.

The Warhawks had wrestled control of the game away from the Bobcats, who were struggling to generate offense.

Texas State’s starters accounted for 44 of the team’s 53 points. Ethan Montalvo, junior guard, led the bench unit with five points.

Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, sophomore forward, extended his streak to a career-high four games with double-digits points.

His 16 points and eight rebounds were not enough to topple the Warhawks, who are the third seed in the Sun Belt Conference.

Texas State has a chance to bounce back Thursday against fifth-seeded UT-Arlington in the first round of the postseason tournament. The Mavericks won both meetings against the Bobcats this year.

The team must string together four consecutive wins to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas State’s longest winning streak this year is three games.

“We missed too many good shots,” Kaspar said. “We also missed way too many free throws to win this game. The effort was there defensively speaking and in other areas of the game.”

Follow Delisha Mims on Twitter @_DeeJernigan