It seemed as if Sam Houston State men’s basketball team was on its way to advancing to the next round of the CollegeInsiders.Com Postseason Tournament after sophomore forward Aurimus Majauskas hit a contested layup with 7.9 seconds left on the clock.
It took exactly seven seconds for Louisiana-Lafayette to spoil that.
As Ragin’ Cajuns sophomore guard Jay Wright seemed to drive toward the basket, he pulled back to hit a three to end the Kats’ season.
The 71-70 win for UL advances the team to the next round of the CIT as the Bearkats’ seniors played their last game.
It was former SHSU head coach Bob Marlin’s return to Johnson Coliseum since his leave to take over at UL. Marlin’s squad came out in the first half and dominated, leaving SHSU to find an answer in the second.
Hooten’s team came out strong after halftime, beginning the half on a 14-2 run to take the lead. It carried over through the entire half, but foul trouble left the Kats stranded toward the end of the game.
Senior center Michael Holyfield fouled out with two back-to-back fouls on both sides of the court with 1:58 left. He finished the day with five points, eight rebounds and two blocks in his last SHSU game.
In those final two minutes, it was a close one with the score going back-and-forth. After Majauskas’ basket, all the Kats had to do was not give UL an open shot to continue their season.
According to Marlin, he told Wright to find an open lane and take it after success the entire game going to the basket. Wright had 19 points and shot 70 percent on the game. As the clock winded down, Wright left the Cajuns’ fate in his hands, and it paid off.
Had SHSU shot well from the floor in the first half, the Kats could have taken the win. The Bearkats were 10-28 from the field accompanied by 5-for-13 from behind the arc and 4-10 from the line. The Kats were able to finish the game shooting 40 percent, but it was almost too little too late.
Sophomore guard Dakari Henderson led all Kats with 16 points as senior guard DeMarcus Gatlin had 14 and junior guard Paul Baxter finished with 10.
The Bearkats now lose starters Jabari Peters, Kaheem Ransom, Holyfield and Gatlin heading into next season as the Kats season ended today. The four contributed to SHSU’s 26 wins on the season; the most in school history.