As the race for the top spot in the Southland West heats up, each passing game becomes more critical. Sam Houston State University (13-7 overall, 5-2 SLC) needed a bounce-back win against Texas State (8-13, 3-5) Saturday night after getting stunned by a seemingly beatable UTA team 78-65 Thursday night.
The game against Texas State would prove to be no different as the Bearkats came out victorious 88-74 keeping pace with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and SFA in the Southland West.
One of the many characteristics of the Bearkats’ success is that on any given night, someone will step up and take control of the game. This was certainly the case Saturday night as two of the more unlikely characters, C.J. Hadley and James Barrett, took center stage.
Hadley and Barrett carried the Bearkats with 18 and 20 points on the night, respectively.
Hadley who averages 18.8 minutes per game found himself with 33 against Texas State. “I’m not really worried about minutes. I just want to win,” Hadley said.
At the beginning of the game, it appeared that it would be a low scoring contest with the first basket coming at 16:52. Hadley, then went on a surge scoring 11 of his 16 first half points over the next few minutes.
“We struggled early and it looked like it would be a low scoring game.
Finally, C.J. got us off to a good start. He had a good first half. He gave us some good energy like he always does,” SHSU head coach Bob Marlin said.
Coming back from halftime, which the Bearkats led 40-31, the Kats sprinted out of the gates with a 14-5 run extending the lead to 54-36 in the first four minutes. Barrett had 10 of those points including two three-pointers.
“In the second half, we made a last second decision to start James Barrett instead of Aaron Wade. We thought he could get out to a quick start and he did,” Marlin said.
The Bearkats return to action Thursday in a divisional match up against UT-San Antonio in Johnson Coliseum at 7 p.m.