Sam Houston State men’s basketball team (13-4) will return to action tonight against Nicholls State (4-10).
The Bearkats are currently on an eight-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 607 to 466 during the stretch and are looking to stay unbeaten in Southland Conference play. SHSU is currently first in the conference with a 5-0 record.
The Kats are coming off a sloppy nine-point victory to rival McNeese State in which the Kats only shot 37.7 percent from the field.
Although the Kats did come out with a win, the offense will be looking to get back to their usual form. SHSU averages 76.6 points per game, ranking the Kats 28th in the nation in that category.
In the game against the Cowboys, the Bearkats leaned on senior guard Jabari Peters for scoring. This is unusual because the Bearkats tend to spread the ball around, which is why they are currently 39th in the nation in assists per game with 15.2 and third in the nation in rebounds with 44 per game.
“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 ride that wave. I hope he keeps this going for the next twenty games.”
With only 14 regular season games left to be played, senior guard DeMarcus Gatlin is averaging the most points for the Bearkats this season with 11 per game. Senior guard Kaheem Ransom is leading in assists with four per game, and senior center Michael Holyfield is leading in rebounds, averaging around eight per game.
As for Nicholls State, the Colonels are currently in a slump, losing five of their last seven games, but if the Bearkats want to keep things under their control, they must focus in on the top two Colonel scorers: junior guards Amin Torres and T.J. Carpenter.
The Colonels do not share the ball very well as they only average 11 assists with sophomore guard Richie Lewis leading the way with only two per game. If the Bearkats can keep the ball in front of them and lockdown whoever has the ball, then the Kats should have a good opportunity to travel back to Huntsville with a win.
Even though Nicholls State is suffering through a rough patch, fans have to expect them to bring their best possible game if they want to beat the number one team in the SLC.
“Teams are going to want to beat us,” Holyfield said. “They are going to want to knock us off.”
Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in Thibodaux, Louisiana.