A late second half rally from being at one time 20 points down was not enough for the Sam Houston State University Bearkats men’s basketball team as they fell to their Piney Woods rival Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 82-66 in front of a capacity crowd Saturday night in Nacogdoches.
In the first half of play, the Bearkats were only able to convert on 30 percent of their shots from the field. The final 12 points of the first half scored by SHSU were all from the charity stripe. The last field goal of the first half came with 7:55 left. Another factor that helped the first half struggles was the fact that the Bearkats shot zero of six from behind the three point line.
Bearkats head coach Jason Hooten talked about what he saw from the game.
“Giving them [SFA] 66 percent from the field, just played really bad,” Hooten said. “I mean, this is probably the worst game that we’ve played all year long and you have to give them credit. Their defense just completely took us out of everything we wanted.”
The second half started out when well senior forward Christopher Galbreath Jr. scored the first two baskets of the half for the Bearkats followed by a free throw made by junior guard Marcus Harris that made it a 48-33 ball game with 17:36 left to go.
With 10:18 left in the ball game, the Bearkats were able to make it an 11-point game thanks to some scoring from Galbreath Jr. and from senior guard Jamal Williams who contributed by outscoring the Lumberjacks 13 to four on second chance opportunities.
At the 3:48 mark of the second and final half, the Bearkats still trailed 70-55. Turnovers and key fouls were the main reason for the 15-point deficit. However, the Bearkats were able to hit their first three-pointer of the game. Unfortunately for SHSU, it was not enough to fulfill the comeback effort as they fell short by 16 points.
Hooten, however, is looking ahead to their next matchup against McNeese on Tuesday while reflecting on a couple of key things the team will have to work on heading into that game.
“Another good team,” Hooten said. “They have a really good team. I’m not sure if they won today or not, but we have to just play better. We’ve got to guard and defend and guard the ball. When a team like this tonight that drives as much as they do, we took one charge and that’s not like our team. So, we did a really poor job with that.
The Bearkats will look to rebound from this rough stretch of games as they play the Cowboys at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday when they travel to Lake Charles, LA.