The Sam Houston State men’s basketball team opened the 2003-2004 season with an 81-78 win over Team Ezybond of Australia last Thursday night at Johnson Coliseum.
After trailing by as much as 15 points, Team Ezybond would not go away and it took a few late free throws from Marcus Ebow and Jason Stephenson to seal the deal.
“We have a long way to go,” head coach Bob Marlin said. “I thought that we played good in the first half in spurts. We started well in the second, and we had a couple of chances to put them away, but we didn’t. We were fortunate to hang on.”
The Kats started the game with a 14-4 run, but Ezybond closed the gap with an 11-0 run of their own to take their first lead of the night at 15-14. The two teams battled back and forth for most of the period before SHSU was able to pull away with a 14-point half time lead.
Sam Houston started off the second half strong and was able to keep a double-digit lead for most of the period. Team Ezybond cut it to six with 7:27 left in the game thanks to a Daniel Cioffi three pointer. Alford then hit a lay-up at the 4:38 mark to push the Kats’ lead up to 11. A Damien Anderson three tied the game for Team Ezybond with 56 seconds left, but a 5-2 Bearkat run in the closing seconds ended the comeback bid.
“I anticipate a close game every time we play,” Coach Marlin said. “We have a young group and we really don’t know what to expect. We have to find ourselves.”
“I didn’t expect us to put on a clinic tonight, and I don’t expect a clinic next Friday night. We need to have our spurts last longer.”
The Bearkats had 11 players see action in the game and four of those players scored in double digits. Red shirt freshman Othello Alford led the Kats with 15 points and Ebow, Stephenson, and Ryan Griffin each had 14. Kelvin Williams and Joe Thompson contributed nine and eight rebounds respectively.
“We got a lot of guys some minutes and I thought that we had some good production at times,” Coach marlin said.
Jamal Brown from Team Ezybond led all scores with 23 points and he also had 16 rebounds.