After opening up the season with a victory over Dallas Baptist on Saturday night, the Bearkats face one of the most exciting games in several years as the Texas Tech Red Raiders come to town on Wednesday night.
Much of the hype surrounding the game has focused on the arrival of legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight, who holds the record as winningest coach in college basketball with 890 victories. Yet the most impressive aspect of the evening could prove to be something other than the wild antics and scintillating sideline shows of the ‘The General’. The Bearkats, who were picked to win the SLC-West Championship this year, bring a powerful show of their own with returning 2006-2007 first-team All-Southland selection Ryan Bright, as well as Shamir McDaniel, who looks to be one of the Bearkats’ top go-to players this season after losing senior standout Aaron Wade to graduation last spring.
Bright, listed at 6-ft. 6-in., and McDaniel, 6-ft. 1-in., each scored 13 points for the Bearkats against DBU, while senior James Barrett (6-ft. 5-in.) and junior Reggie Rawlins (6-ft. 6 in.) took top scoring honors for the team with 14 points each.
The opposing Red Raiders are coming off of a win of their own after opening their season at home with an 68-56 victory over the University of California-Riverside on Saturday.
Sophomore Martin Zeno (6-ft. 5-in.) led the Red Raiders in scoring with 19 points as Texas Tech found their lead snapped to one point before breaking away with a 17-3 scoring streak in the second half to defeat the Highlanders.
The history between the Bearkats and the Red Raiders is full of both agony and ecstasy on both sides of the ball, including the Bearkats’ 69-65 victory over the Red Raiders in Lubbock in the 2001-2002 season. Not only did the Bearkats hand the Red Raiders a loss on their own court that year, they also knocked Knight with his first loss as head of the Texas Tech basketball program. After losing to Sam Houston State, the Red Raiders went on to a 23-4 conference record and a third-place finish in the Big XII.
Since their first meeting, the Red Raiders have defeated the Bearkats twice with a 97-63 win in 2003-2004 and a 79-64 win last year. All three meetings have been in Lubbock with this Wednesday being the Red Raiders first trip to Huntsville and their debut at Johnson Coliseum.
If nothing else, the game looks to spark an epidemic of school spirit across the campus while attracting one of the largest crowds to ever descend on Johnson Coliseum.
Already, Bearkat fans have made their presence known as reserved tickets to the game sold out in one hour on the morning of their release nearly two weeks ago. Even single-game tickets are going fast, prompting the SHSU Athletic Department to break protocol and release student tickets early. Beginning Monday, lines formed in the newly remodeled mall area as Bearkat fans patiently waited throughout the morning to pick up their passes into the game.
With tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the student tickets will continue to be available in the LSC mall area from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Ron Mafridge Field House. Doors to Johnson Coliseum will open at 6 p.m. on game day.