Sam Houston’s men’s basketball saw its nine-game winning streak snapped as Stephen F. Austin State fired on all cylinders on Saturday.
In a loud, roaring coliseum, the Bearkats went against the defending Southland Conference champions SFA.
Lumberjack fans showed up to support their team as SFA defeated the Kats 79-68 in Huntsville.
The rival team outmatched the Bearkats toughness early on and showed they were not afraid of the home team. SFA were able to take an early 20-point lead with only nine minutes remaining in the first half. Defense and rebounding were the early advantages for the Jacks.
The Jacks’ leading scorer Thomas Walkup had a total of 17 points and second leading scorer was Jacob Parker with 13. The freshman Ty Charles also contributed with 16 points.
After being down 20, the Bearkats fought back with creating open shots by attacking the rim and easy basketball penetration.
The dribble-drive-motion seemed to work for Kats later in the first half by trimming down the lead to 10 at halftime.
The Bearkats had ten turnovers to the Jacks four in the first half of action and were unable to take the lead.
Having a good shooting efficiency was the key to the rivalry game where SFA hovered around 50 percent all game long to the Kats 38 percent.
The beginning of the second half, SFA took over again like the team had in the first half by expanding the lead back to 20. They also had more boards than the Kats in the second half.
Late in the second half, the Kats showed effort and tried to fight back by trimming the lead to nine, but the bounce back was not enough to hold off the defending champions.
“They were a very talented club and run a good offensive system,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “We just got beat by a team who were just better than us.”
The Bearkats failed to take a lead the entire game after having moments of a likely comeback that did not happen.
Demarcus Gatlin was the leading scorer for Sam Houston with 15 points and Michael Holyfield led the team in rebounds.
The last three previous times these two teams matched up, SFA were able to come on top including the SLC Championship game last year in Katy.
Both teams sit on top of the SLC in standings and are the two respectable favorites to win the title this year to earn a NCAA tournament bid.
The Lumberjacks remain on top of the conference with a 15-game winning streak. The next time these two teams face off will be March 7th in Nacogdoches.