Kats best HBU 63-52, improve to 8-1 in SLC

Sam Houston State men’s basketball team zipped out to an early lead and never looked back, beating Houston Baptist 63-52 Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.

The Kats looked impressive on both offense and defense for the second straight game and were able to win its second straight game after losing to Stephen F. Austin State last Saturday.

“We came out, and I feel like we played with a lot of intensity early,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “We just did what we had to do today.”

Although the Bearkats rank sixth in the SLC in three-pointers, the Kats hit a total of seven shots from behind the arc. This is something the Kats saw much success in Monday’s game against Abilene Christian.

Senior guard Jabari Peters led the Bearkats in scoring with a game-high 13 points. To go along with excellent display of offense, senior guard Kaheem Ransom helped out the Bearkat offensive flow by sharing the basketball. He dished out a game-high six assists in the win.

SHSU’s offense was fluent, consistent and held the turnovers to a minimum. The Kats limited turnovers to four in the first half and 14 for the game.

“I feel like we had good execution on offense today,” Peters said. “We got the ball from side to side a lot, and we just happened to make shots.”

The Kats’ defense suffocated the Huskies all game long forcing HBU into taking tough and contested shots. SHSU held HBU to only 22 points in the first half and forced them into shooting a dreadful 35 percent from the field. The Bearkats racked up a total of 35 rebounds, six blocks as well as eight steals.

Senior center Michael Holyfield was the Bearkats’ leading rebounder with 10 and shot blocker with three. Peters also contributed to the defensive charge by recording a game-high three steals.

“I think we did well on defense,” Holyfield said. “There’s a couple of areas were we let them come back in the game at the end. It was just careless communication on defense and we will work on that, but as a whole, I think we did well on defense today.”

The Kats are now 8-1 in the Southland Conference only behind SFA in the standings.

SHSU will next host Lamar on Monday at Johnson Coliseum with only 48 hours of rest. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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