Sam Houston State men’s basketball was able to clean up its play after a sloppy shooting performance in the first half to fuel past conference rival McNeese State 69-60 on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.
With the win, the Bearkats extend their winning streak to eight and stay unbeaten in Southland Conference play. SHSU is now 13-4 overall and 5-0 in conference.
“It was a tough hard fought game by both teams,” SHSU head coach Jason Hooten said. “I’m happy we got a win and now we’re on to the next one.”
Shooting slumps and slow transition offense plagued the Bearkats all game long. McNeese State held SHSU to shoot only 37.7 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point land.
“We want to play perfect obviously, but that’s not going to happen,” senior guard Jabari Peters said. “We’re never going to have a perfect game. A win is a win, and I feel like watching film, we have a lot of things to work on, and all we can do is strive for perfection.”
The Bearkats are not normally a team that has one primary scorer. They spread the ball around and get everyone involved, but that was not the case tonight as Peters had the hot hand. He scored a game high 21 points while also reeling in six rebounds and three steals. Senior center Michael Holyfield messed around and finished the game with a double double, scoring 11 points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Jabari is feeling it right now,” Hooten said. “When he’s making his threes, he’s really hard to guard, and when he is, you have to call his number and obviously you have to ride that wave. I hope he keeps it going.”
SHSU’s interior defense played a huge role in the victory forcing the Cowboys to shoot 40.4 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.
The strong interior defense stopped the Cowboys from taking the ball to the basket, which eventually forced them to take more jump shots and three pointers.
The Bearkats will now hit the road and take on Nicholls State on Tuesday before heading home for rival Stephen F. Austin State next Saturday.