SHSU men’s basketball makes a late season push

The Sam Houston State University Men’s Basketball team started this week of games with a seven and four conference record.

The ‘Kats looked to bounce back after a road trip that left them with a bitter taste in their mouths and included two losses by a combined total of four points.

SHSU travelled to Abilene where they beat the Abilene Christian University Wildcats 84-71. The last time the two teams played was in Huntsville on January 25 where the Bearkats won handily 72-51.

However, the team still respected ACU, as they have only gotten better as time has gone on.

“I think they’re one of the most improved teams in our conference this year,” Head Coach Jason Hooten said. “There is a little that we can take from our first game, but it’s almost two different teams.”

With that in their minds, the Bearkats fell behind early to ACU but took their first lead of the game with 16:26 left in the first half and never looked back.

At halftime SHSU was up 44-35. The ‘Kats finished off the Wildcats with a 20 point lead with under four minutes left to play.

The Bearkats set a Southland Conference and a school record when all 22 free throws attempted found the back of the net.

“We shot it really well in practice here last night and this afternoon in walk-through,” Hooten said. “You’re always a better free throw shooting team when you have good shooters, and we have good shooters. I really felt good about tonight.”

The Bearkats opened the week on Saturday with a rematch against Houston Baptist University Huskies and won the game 80-68.

The Bearkats jumped out to an early lead 11-2 with less than five minutes into the first half. The Huskies clawed their way back into the game and even took a one point lead with three minutes left in the half. The ‘Kats finished the half strong and went to the locker room up 37-33.

The Bearkats came out of the locker room with a fire in their bellies and jumped all over the Huskies. SHSU led by 17 with 10 minutes left in the half, which was the largest lead either squad had.

Junior guard Dakari Henderson and junior foward Aurimas Majauskas combined for 37 points, seven assists, nine rebound and shot perfectly from the free throw line helped lead SHSU.

“This was a really big win,” Henderson said. “Our game plan is inside-out. If we can get the inside game going then we can pass it out and that worked tonight.”

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Hooten said. “We executed our game plan well tonight. Our guys were on a mission.”

The Bearkats improved their record to 14-12 (9-4) for the season.

They look to continue this win streak against the University of Central Arkansas Bears.

The Bears have struggled this season with a 6-16 (5-7) record. However, UCA is not a team that should be scoffed at as they still have some potent weapons.

Sophomore guard Jordan Howard leads the way for the Bears, averaging over 20 ppg as well as averaging three assists, three rebounds, and shooting 87 percent from the free throw line.

Howard’s partner in crime is junior Derreck Brooks who averages 13 ppg. Brooks also gets one block, one steal, two assists, and six boards every contest.

The Bearkats take on the Bears at Johnson Coliseum on Saturday at 4:30 pm.


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