The Sam Houston State men’s basketball team will look to extend its conference-winning streak to three games when the team travels to Beaumont tonight to take on the Lamar University Cardinals at 7 p.m.
The Bearkats, who are 8-2, sit alone in second place behind Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference. Lamar is currently tied for fourth with McNeese State at 5-4, but has yet to lose a conference game at home.
“We have had some good games over there,” said SHSU head coach Bob Marlin. “They are very good at home, and hopefully we can go over there and play well.”
The Bearkats have three players that average double-digit scoring in Donald Cole, Felton Freeman and Robert Shannon.
SHSU will try to shutdown Lamar forward Damany Hendrix, the conference’s third leading scorer, and star guard Ron Austin. Hendrix and Austin are the conference’s top scoring duo.
“We have to contain Hendrix and Austin if we are going to be in this game,” Marlin said. “They are seniors and they know how to play.”
The Kats beat Lamar on Dec. 28 at Johnson Coliseum 61-47. Freeman lead the Bearkats with 20-points and Eddy Fobbs pulled down 11 boards.
In the first meeting, the Cardinals held Cole to just three points in 21 minutes, the lowest output of his career. The Kats also lost Mario Kinsey to an injury in the first half.
Lamar was without Austin for most of the game as well, after he went down with a foot injury.
The second time around should prove to be a better game with both teams seeming to have hit the mid-season stride.
On Saturday the Kats will be back at home for a non-conference match-up against Texas A&M Corpus-Christi.
It’s unusual for SHSU to play a non-conference game in the middle of the season, but both teams had an open date to fill. The Islanders are independent and often have a tough time finding teams to play.
“We had an open date on Saturday and it just so happened that it was a good fit for them,” Marlin said. “Plus, it keeps us with some continuity. It gives us two games a week for the rest of the season.”
Marlin said he wants his team to play as many home games as possible and that he wouldn’t have scheduled Saturday’s game if it weren’t at Johnson Coliseum.
The Islanders hold a record of 8-11 and are coming off an 87-74 loss to Oakland University. They are led by the scoring tandem of junior guards Brian Evans and Travis Bailey, who together average over 28-points per game.
The Bearkats will tip-off against Texas A&M Corpus-Christi at 7 p.m.