After playing its last home game of the season, Sam Houston State travels to Beaumont to play Lamar today.
SHSU won the last battle 79-50 on Feb. 2 in a game where senior guard Kaheem Ransom had 18 points.
With only two games left of the season, the Bearkats would like to finish strong with Stephen F. Austin State being the last game on their schedule Saturday. Their first test in this two-game road stretch is the Cardinals’ guard Anthony Holliday.
Holliday is the leading scorer for the Cardinals, averaging 14.5 points per game with 3.4 assists per game. Senior forward Tyran de Lattibeaudiere is their second leading scorer with 13.6 PPG.
Both teams are respectable in the Southland Conference in rebounding, being in the top three in total team rebounds. Lattibeaudiere leads the Cardinals with 7.6 rebounds per game, and senior Michael Holyfield leads the Bearkats with 8.0 RPG.
The Bearkats started off slow against Central Arkansas on Tuesday until their 23-0 run to start off the second half. A slow start against the Cardinals is far from what SHSU needs.
“I was a little disappointed with our defensive intensity so I went in at halftime and expressed that to the team,” head coach Jason Hooten said following Monday’s win. “Then we came out and held them scoreless for the first nine minutes.”
The Bearkats last loss came from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which is a team that the Cardinals beat earlier in the season. A tough LU team could be the difference in SHSU making a run for first in the conference.
One thing the Bearkats do well is make free throws. SHSU ranks in the top half of the SLC in free throw percentage while Lamar sits at the bottom half of the conference.
SHSU’s leading scorer senior guard DeMarcus Gatlin needs to have a big game along with Ransom who is the second leading scorer to set the stage for Saturday’s “wildcard” to SFA.
The Bearkats realize that they have to finish strong while the Cardinals look for revenge.
Tipoff for Thursday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Montage Center in Beaumont.