The weather outside may have been frightful, yet the game inside Johnson Coliseum proved to be very delightful for the nearly 2,000 Bearkat faithful in attendance Monday evening in a showdown against the Lamar Cardinals.
The SHSU (11-6, 3-1 SLC) team that took the court Monday night seemed to be a completely different team from that of Thursday in which they hit just 14-32 at the free-throw line in a 58-59 loss to McNeese State. In the game against Lamar (7-10, 1-2 SLC), the Kats shot an impressive 87 percent at the line, sinking 20-23 free throws.
The game got off to a slow start with neither team scoring until a foul by the Cardinals’ Currye Todd sent senior guard Jujuan Plair to the free-throw line. Plair’s first shot would the be only missed free throw of the half as the Bearkats went on to hit 8-8 at the line.
Though the Cardinal’s brought then leading scorer in the Southland Conference, James Davis, the high-powered Bearkat defense quickly shut him down as Davis was held to just 3 points all night.
Though he didn’t do much scoring, Davis quickly raked up four ugly fouls, including a technical, in the second half as the crowd noisily expressed their dissatisfaction with the chain of events. Davis was finally shut down for good near the end of the final period as his fifth personal foul of the game sent the usually high scorer to the bench for good.
Despite a period of low scoring in the first half, the Bearkats took the locker room with a solid 45-27 lead.
In the second period the Kats offense kicked into high gear, scoring 27 points before the 1 mark.
The Bearkat offense went on to score another 16 points while holding Lamar to just 25 points the entire second half.
In an outstanding offensive performance, junior James Barrett came off the bench to score 18 points for the Bearkats and earn top scoring honors for the game. Starting forward Aaron Wade brought in another 16 for the Kats, followed by Shamir McDaniel at 12.
The Bearkats’ victory over Lamar sends SHSU to third place in the conference and earned the team 71 votes on CollegeInsider.com’s Mid-Major Top 25 poll, just out of reach of the No. 25 spot.
The Kat’s next game is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow against Stephen F. Austin St. in Nacogdoches. The Lumberjacks (11-5, 4-0 SLC) are undefeated in conference play and hold the lead in the West division of the SLC.