Bittersweet ending

It was a thriller in Johnson Coliseum on Saturday night as the Bearkats came up a little short against arch-rival SFA in a preview of March Madness. The Kats dropped the game 73-72, after SFA freshman Josh Alexander drained his only three pointer of the game with 11 seconds left.

The game was dominated early by SFA, who went into half time with a 10-point lead. It seemed that the Bearkats could not get it together, and at different times, trailed the Lumberjacks by 14.

But in the final four minutes, the Kats put together a 16-0 run to take the lead 72-70 with 47 seconds left off a John Gardiner lay-up. Then, on the ensuing possession, Alexander, the near 50 percent three point shooter, drained his only three of the night over the outstretched hands of the Bearkat defenders.

“We got kicked around in the post all night, but we did do a good job on Alexander,” said Ryan Bright. “He just made the big shot at the end.”

Bright led the Bearkats with 19 points and six rebounds. Jejuan Plair also had a big night for the Kats, as he put in 14 points and had 15 assists.

Antuane Miller led the Jacks with 21 points and nine rebounds. Anthony Paez had another solid game with 17 points.

The loss puts the Bearkats at 20-8 overall and 11-5 in conference. After defeating UTA earlier in the week, the Kats had the number two seed locked up going into the match up against SFA. As a result of their victory on Saturday, the Lumberjacks get the number four seed and a first round home game in the SLC tournament.

“We made a great comeback and needed one stop to win the game,” said SHSU Coach Bob Marlin. “We played super defense on Josh Alexander and his only three-pointer of the night was contested.”

“As a coach, I’m proud of our guys for continuing to fight and not backing down when every possible thing had gone wrong,”

Before the game senior Chris Jordan was honored in a ceremony. Unfortunately, Jordan did not have the night the Kats needed. He finished with five points over 23 minutes of play. After the game against UTA, Jordan started feeling ill.

“He struggled and has been feeling sick. He didn’t practice Thursday, but did practice Friday,” said Coach Marlin. “He seems to be doing ok, he is taking medication.”

On the injury front, Ryan Griffin broke his nose within the first minute of entering the game. He sat out the rest of the contest. Griffin did break his nose in high school, and may have to bust out the mask for Tuesday’s match up. Tuesday’s game is against UT-Arlington. The tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sam Houston won both games earlier in the season.

“It’s important to roll [Saturday’s] effort over into tournament time, [it] gives us confidence,” said Ryan Bright. “It was a lot of fun with the crowd into it, and I hope to see that again Tuesday night.”

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