The two teams battling for Southland supremacy will come face-to-face tonight.
The Sam Houston State Bearkats (14-5, 5-2) and the Northwestern State Demons (13-6, 6-1) go head-to-head in Louisiana in what will be a turning point in the conference standings.
Sam Houston has won three of their last four trips to Natchitoches, but the Demons are undefeated at home this season. Their only conference loss came to Sam Houston back on Jan. 14.
In that loss, the Bearkats capitalized on mistakes made by the Demons.
Northwestern had 17 turnovers which resulted in 19 Sam Houston points. The Bearkats also had different players step up throughout the game.
Shamir McDaniel was lights out shooting 6-7 from the field, including 5-6 from three point land.
At the end of the game, Chris Jordan came up huge from the foul line, shooting 10-12 for the night. As a team, the Bearkats shot 64% from the charity stripe.
The Demons did put up a fight, and the game was close near the end, when Clifton Lee hit a string of three pointers to pull the Demons within five
But it was the free throw shooting that would give the Bearkats their first conference victory.
That night also saw the energetic performance of Ryan Griffin, who had eight points and three rebounds in seven minutes of play.
After taking a fall, Griffin saw limited action the rest of the night, but without his contribution off the bench the Bearkats would have been in a hole.
“We beat [Northwestern State] here, and they are going to be ready for us,” said Coach Bob Marlin in an interview last week. “There is still a lot of basketball left. We are only as good as our last outing.”
In their last outing, the Bearkats struggled some with the UT-San Antonio press, but did handle the Northwestern State press well earlier in the season.
For the Bearkats to win this game, the shooters must have another stellar night.
They have to jump out to an early lead, build some confidence, and not look back.
The game tonight is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Natchitoches.
The Kats will also take on Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday in Huntsville. This game will mark the one and only time the two teams will play each other in the regular season.