Good things come in threes.
For Sam Houston State men’s basketball, that was clear.
The Bearkats had a trick up their sleeves behind the arc against Abilene Christian on Monday, going 12-26 from behind the three-point line to get the 80-63 Southland Conference win.
Six players dropped shots from downtown. Senior guard Kaheem Ransom led the charge, shooting 3-7 from long range. Senior guards Jabari Peters, Marquel McKinney and Demarcus Gatlin and junior guard Dakari Henderson each added two threes. Sophomore forward Aurimus Majauskas got in on the party with one of his own.
The Kats totaled 26-52 from the field by the end of the night.
Bouncing back after a tough loss to SFA over the weekend, the Bearkats set the tempo early and carried the lead the entire game.
The Wildcats rank 12th in the SLC in total rebounds, and the Bearkats took full advantage of a smaller team. The battle of the boards were completely dominated by SHSU with 34 rebounds to the Wildcats’ 22. ACU only had four total offensive rebounds to the Bearkats’ 10.
With rebounding comes second chance points. Fourteen of SHSU’s points came from having another opportunity to score.
SHSU beat the Wildcats at their own game, which was winning behind the three-point line and making free-throws. Although the Wildcats are eighth in the league in scoring, ACU leads the SLC in free-throw percentage, three-point percentage and has made 156 threes for the season.
The story was different Monday night as the Wildcats shot 43 percent from the free-throw line, and SHSU shot 76 percent at the line.
SHSU had five players with more than ten points. Ransom led the SHSU scorers with 13 points. Ransom looked more efficient against the Wildcats after struggling against the Lumberjacks on Saturday when, only totaling three points.
Gatlin and Henderson followed closely behind, scoring 12 points with senior center Michael Holyfield scoring 11 points. Peters finished with 10 points, going 4-7 from the floor.
The Wildcats had three players with more than ten points. ACU’s junior forward Austin Cooke led the team and had a game-high of 15 points.
The Kats are now 7-1 in the SLC and will return home to host Houston Baptist on Saturday at Johnson’s Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.
UPDATE: HEAD COACH JASON HOOTEN WEIGHS IN
H: What was the game plan heading into tonight’s game?
JH: “It was more constructed towards the team we were playing, but our plan was to come out, work hard and establish ourselves early, and luckily we did that tonight.”
H: Will the team have the same approach going into next game?
JH: “We will be playing a different opponent so we’ll have a different game plan, but yeah our approach is always the same. We’re going to go out and play harder than our opponent and try to execute what we’re trying to do on both sides of the ball.”
H: What did you tell Kaheem Ransom before the game after struggling against SFA?
JH: “I didn’t tell Kaheem anything. Anytime you have a player struggling like that you just instill confidence in them cause they’re going to come out of it eventually. Everyone is going to go through it, no matter what level you’re playing on. Everyone goes through a stretch like that. We’re going to keep giving him the ball and continue to expect the things he’s always done because I know he will. He had a great game tonight and I’m really happy for him.”
H: What does this win mean for you and the team?
JH: “We got knocked off the horse against SFA, but we hoped back on it [Monday] and got back in a direction, now it’s time to get back on a streak. We have a tough game on Saturday at home against Houston Baptist they’re 4-3 in conference. They have really good size inside and good guards that can drive. It’ll be a really tough game we’re hoping we can get a great crowd like we did last Saturday against Stephen F. Austin.”
Layout Editor Ryan Reynolds contributed to this report.