Kats host third place TAMU-CC, hopes to continue streak

On to the next one.

Chris Winfield | The Houstonian

Chris Winfield | The Houstonian

That has been the motto all season long for Sam Houston State men’s basketball team as the Bearkats are set to host the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.

“We’re excited they have a really great team, and they’re off to a good start in conference as well,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “They’re always tough and well-coached, and it will be just a really good college basketball game.”

The Bearkats have bounced back from their first Southland Conference loss superbly, winning their next three games with their latest victory being Monday against Lamar. Throughout the three game stretch, SHSU outscored their opponents 222-165.

“I think we’re starting to play really well,” Hooten said. “I think we’re getting better offensively. The guys are starting to do a good job of moving and sharing the ball and taking quality shots. I also think our defense is playing at a high level.”

As for the Islanders, they are currently sitting at third place in the SLC with an overall record of 12-9 and an SLC record of 7-2. Texas A&M Corpus-Christi is coming off a nail-biting 71-70 victory over Incarnate Word.

The Islanders have seen a defeat in their last five regular season meetings against the Kats with their last win dating back to the 2011-12 season.

In the 79-50 win against Lamar, the Kats shot 42.9 percent from the field as well as a stellar 42.1 percent from behind the arc, making eight of their 19 attempted three pointers. They also compiled a total of 42 rebounds, eight steals and six blocks. SHSU plans to keep the same strategy going into Saturday’s game.

“We’re just going to keep doing the same things we’ve been doing, and that’s play good defense and try and get some good shots,” Hooten said.

If the Bearkats want to walk out of Johnson Coliseum with a win, they are going to have to slow down and really key on Islander guard John Jordan.

Although Jordan may be the shortest player on the court, with his height officially listed at 5 foot 10 inches, the man can ball. He currently ranks seventh in the Southland Conference in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game. He also ranks second in assists, averaging 5.1 PPG. The Bearkats must also keep an eye on sophomore forward Rashawn Thomas.

Jordan and Thomas had productive outings against Incarnate World, both recording double-doubles. Jordan scored 19 points and had 10 assists while Thomas scored a game-high 20 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds.

“We’re going to have to keep their point guard Jordan out of the paint and limit perimeter shots by their guards,” senior guard DeMarcus Gatlin said.

If SHSU wins, the Kats will hold on strong to second place clawing at Stephen F. Austin State’s first place hold. If TAMU-CC steals the win, the Islanders will continue to be in the hunt with SHSU for second place.

Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m.

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