Taking on two former team members, the Bearkats shot their way from the free throw line to a 91-82 victory Monday night against Makesure Sport.
SHSU finished the game hitting 26 of 30 at the free throw line, which coach Bob Marlin said won the game for the Bearkats.
“The free throws were huge,” Marlin said.
Marlin said the team had a lot of guys making contributions and hitting the free throws when they counted.
The team was also making the rebounds when they counted. The Bearkats out rebounded Makesure by five.
However, Marlin said the team was not executing well against Makesure, making the plays less than 50 percent of the time.
“They’re (SHSU) running the floor. They’re working hard on the glass, but we’re not executing the way we want to,” Marlin said.
The team has a hard time executing the plays because the Bearkats get impatient. They rush the plays, and they panic when the opponent gets in them defensively, according to Marlin.
Senneca Wall, opponent and former Bearkat, said he thought the team did well against Makesure.
“They’re young, so it will take them a little time to get the execution and stuff down,” Wall said.
In the absence of Wall and Jeremy Burkhalter, two top scoring former Bearkats playing with Makesure, a lot of people are concerned that SHSU will not be able to put points on the board, Marlin said.
“To score 91 points when you’re not executing is pretty impressive,” Marlin said. “We can score.”
Also missing from the Bearkat bench was Eddy Barlow, current guard. Marlin said the point play was no good in Barlow’s absence.
But Donald Cole stepped up and put some huge points on the board for the Bearkats. Cole was 10 of 15 from the floor and two of three from outside for 24 points. Cole also hit four of four at the line, totaling 26 points in 23 minutes on the floor.
Four other players hit the double digits against Makesure. Demetrice Sims had 19, Robert Shannon had 13, Jay Oliphant had 11, and Jason Stephenson had 10 points.
Marlin said even though Rodrick Winters did not put points on the board for the Kats he had one of the best games of his career. The forward sat down in post, barked and established position throughout the game for the Bearkats, according to Marlin.
“If you’re not fighting for position, you’re losing position,” Marlin said.
The team is looking to score more from the inside in the future by taking good shots and high percentage shots, according to Marlin.
“If we execute and get the ball to high post, then we should have easy scoring opportunities,” Marlin said.
SHSU has three days now until they face a hot Drake team at the Hawaii Nike Classic on Friday.
Drake has had two good wins in pre-season activity already and played well in both games.
“They’re on the verge of something good,” Marlin said. “We don’t need to let it get started over there.”
One of the obstacles the Bearkats must overcome against Drake is the team’s 6 foot 5 inch shooter and Texas native Luke McDonald.
McDonald was nine of 15 for three in his first two appearences of the season.
Marlin said he plans to, “Try to get in him like we do Senneca and make him put it on the floor.”
The team will leave Huntsville around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and arrive in Hawaii at approximately 2 p.m. Once on the ground the team will start working out some of the kinks before its game on Friday.
“We certainly have a long way to go in a short time,” Marlin said.
Wall said the team should be ready for regular season when they return from Hawaii.