This week huge for basketball teams

Its crunch time for the Sam Houston State mens and womens basketball teams.For the men, the last three games of the season are for positioning. Lose all three, the Bearkats still make the conference tournament. For the women, however, lose one and post-season chances look very slim.The women tip things off tonight with a 7 p.m. showdown against UT-San Antonio at Johnson Coliseum. The Lady Kats (5-12) stand eighth in the Southland Conference standings with three games left, only one game up on ninth place Southwest Texas. The top eight qualify for the conference tournament.Each game means something to us now, Lady Kat head coach Erika Ritter said.UT-San Antonio comes into the game sitting in fourth place in the conference with a 10-6 record. In the matchup between the two teams on Jan. 13, San Antonio stomped the Lady Kats 72-47. UTSA is playing very well right now, Ritter said. Theyre deep, they have good three-point shooting, a good post player and they blew out (second place) Louisiana Monroe on Saturday (65-42).Ritter said the key to the game will be to be patient on offense and try to keep the ball out of opposing hands.I think were a better team than we were when we (played) there, she said. At the same time, San Antonio is a better team now also. The Lady Kats will finish the week when they host Southwest Texas in the second game of Saturdays doubleheader. In the first game of the afternoon, which will start at 2 p.m., the Bearkat men will take the court against the Bobcats, who beat Sam Houston 80-72 in the first meeting between the schools on Jan. 15.The game was closer than that, said Bearkat head coach Bob Marlin, whose team stands tied with UT-Arlington and Nicholls State in third place with a 10-7 record. We turned it over 14 times in the first half, 22 for the game. That put us in a hole we couldnt get out of. We played very poorly, they played good and because of that we lost.The Bobcats, who are in seventh place at 7-9, are coming off a 90-85 loss to Sam Houstons opponents next Monday at 7 p.m. in Johnson Coliseum, UT-San Antonio.The Roadrunners are a half game up on the Bearkats at 10-6. A win by both teams on Saturday (UT-San Antonio plays Lamar) will set the scene for a game that could decide second place (depending on what happens with Nicholls State, who holds the tie-breaker on Sam Houston) in the conference. Theyre very good, Marlin said of UTSA. Theyre in second place and were a half a game out of second so its going to be a big game. San Antonio will come in and play us hard, they always do. Were looking forward to the game.The Bearkats snuck by the Roadrunners 84-81 earlier in theseason.This weekend is a big weekend because its our next two games and theyre at home against good rival schools that are playing good basketball, the coach said. Hopefully well play well. Weve gotten better in the last part of the season and now well see if we can pass the test.Marlin said hed like to claim one of the four top spots, which will give them a home game in the first round of the conference tournament. Better yet, Marlin said, if things go good a second or third place finish will ensure that the Bearkats wont have to play the regular season conference champion (McNeese State has clinched the title) until the tournament championship game.Winning the next two games, which are in the friendly confines of Johnson Coliseum, will do a lot to help Sam Houstons fate. Wed love to get students out, as many as we can, Marlin added. Id love students to get out and get back into it. We think its a good show and we really need their support.

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