Kats lose in Conway, set to face rival SFA

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats men’s basketball team lost a crucial game Wednesday night 88-70 against the University of Central Arkansas Bears.

The loss eliminates any chance of grabbing the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament as the Bearkats needed to win both games against the Bears and the game this Saturday against Stephen F. Austin and one loss as well from Southeastern Louisiana in their final two games of the season.

Head coach Jason Hooten talked about the loss after the game.

“Just didn’t play very well,” Hooten said. “We got beat in ever facet. They outplayed us, played harder than we did, they executed better than we did. They deserved to win. I’m happy for those guys over there, they’ve worked real hard to get to .500 [percent] in our conference and it’s a good thing for them. All the way around, they were just better than us tonight.”

The Bearkats only got nine opportunities from the free throw line during the game, only converting on six of them for a free throw percentage of 66.7 percent. All nine free throws came in the first half of play.

One bright spot was junior forward Abrian Edwards, who tallied 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 32 minutes of play. Edwards accumulated almost half of the entire team’s free throws on the game, converting three-of-four from the charity stripe.

Edwards talked about his and the team’s performance.

“I think I played pretty well,” Edwards said. “But, as a team, we shut down a little bit. We didn’t handle the pressure in the second half. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the second half, let them go on a run and just didn’t play our best defense this time.”

Next, the Bearkats will host the Lumberjacks at 7:00 p.m. this Saturday at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in the final game of the season. SHSU finds themselves in an interesting situation. For the Bearkats to become the No. 3 seed, a win is necessary on Saturday in order to tie with the Lumberjacks, which the Bearkats would win because of SHSU’s defeat against Southeastern Louisiana earlier in the season, whereas SFA lost to SLU. So, if SHSU wins Saturday, they move up to the third seed based on virtue of matchup against the same opponent.

Hooten, however, explained how having a rival come into their home stadium does not matter as much as the goal for the team.

“None of that matters,” Hooten said. “The only thing that matters is the same thing that we have worked on and talked about all year long, which is the next game. It doesn’t matter who it is or where it’s at. That’s all we talk about all year long from day one. Only goal we’ve had is to get better every day and to become a better team, as a family. That’s it. We haven’t talked about the conference tournament, we haven’t talked about winning 20 games [this season], we haven’t talked about winning the league, we’ve just talked about getting better. We didn’t get better tonight. We took a step back.”

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