The Sam Houston State Bearkats have had Thursday night’s game against Southwest Texas State circled on their calendar since Jan. 9.
The Bobcats beat Sam 69-60 in the first meeting and the Bearkats are seeking revenge for the tarnish on their conference record.
“A lot of players are pumped up about this game because we owe them for beating us kind of good at Southwest,” senior Eddy Barlow said. “It was a game that we should have won if played like we are supposed to. We are on a roll right now and if we keep it going we’ll be the team to beat.”
The Bearkats have won six straight games and are undefeated at home with a record of 8-0. Southwest is coming into Johnson Coliseum with a two game win streak of its own having beaten Louisiana-Monroe and Northwestern State, both in San Marcos. The Bobcats have struggled on the road so far in conference play, posting a 3-4 record.
“It’s important to be playing Southwest here because they are in third place and we are in competition with them for a playoff bye,” said head coach Bob Marlin. “We haven’t gotten in the tournament yet; we still have some business to do. If we can get them on Thursday than it is almost like two games, because you are head up with someone you are in competition with.”
Southwest leads the conference in scoring averaging 75.3 points per game. The Bobcats are led by junior guard Terry Conerway who is fourth in the conference in scoring average with 16 points per game. Junior Jeremiah Coleman and senior David Sykes each average over 10 points a game as well.
The Bearkats have three players that average double figures in scoring in Donald Cole, Robert Shannon and Felton Freeman. Cole is second in the conference in scoring with 17.2 points per game and third in rebounding with 8.1 per game. Junior Eddy Fobbs has been a force under the basket all season and leads the conference in blocks with 53.
On Saturday, the University of Texas-San Antonio comes knocking. The Bearkats won big in the first meeting in San Antonio 82-65. Cole led the way with 25 points and Shannon pulled down a team high seven rebounds. The Roadrunners have lost seven of their last eight games, but that was without the conferences’ leading scorer LeRoy Hurd.
“I haven’t really had a chance to watch film on UTSA, but I know that Hurd has missed a few games for them,” Marlin said. “He is the conferences’ leading scorer so it should give them a boost.”
Fox Sports Southwest heads to town on Monday for a conference showdown with the University of Texas-Arlington. The Bearkats escaped from there with a 62-60 victory on Jan. 16. Again Cole was the Bearkats’ leading scorer with 17 points and Jay Oliphant chipped in 11 boards.
The Mavericks are in fourth place behind Southwest and have won four games in a row. UTA handed Stephen F. Austin its first conference loss last week 60-52 and in the process broke SFA’s 13 game winning streak.
Marlin is glad that Sam Houston has the chance to show what they can do on television.
“It’s good for the university because it’s a chance to showcase our school to the rest of the state.”
Thursday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m. and marks the return of “Jumbo Hot Dog Night.” Saturday and Monday’s games will begin at 7 p.m. The UTA game will be broadcast on Fox Sports on channel 12.