The Sam Houston State University men’s basketball team fought tooth and nail, but in the end could not claw their way back to a victory as they fell to the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions by a final score of 89-79 in the semifinal round of the Southland Conference Tournament at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.
In the first half of play, SHSU at one point trailed by 16 points against the Lions. However, the Kats was able to make a comeback before the end of the half, bringing it to a four-point ball game as they trailed going into the locker room at halftime 36-32.
Junior guard John Dewey III, junior guard Josh Delaney and junior forward Abrian Edwards led the scoring for the Bearkats with eight points each in the first half of play. Edwards also led SHSU in rebounds in the first 20 minutes of play with four total rebounds, three of which came off the defensive end.
Senior guard Jamal Williams ended the night with 13 points and five rebounds—all of which were on the offensive side of the ball—three assists and a steal on the night. Williams talked about the effort his team gave during the game.
“It took a lot of effort, but we’ve been there before,” Williams said. “We go through that during practice for games where we have to claw back and forth. We believe in ourselves and we knew that we could come back. We had the game right where we wanted it, but we unfortunately fell short. We are built for this and we knew that the game was far from over.
To begin the second half of play, Sam Houston State University hit the floor running, grabbing the lead with a put back dunk by senior forward Chris Galbreath Jr. to take the lead by one, 42-41, with 16:07 left to go in the ball game. Later in the half, as the Bearkats went back and forth with the lead, junior guard Cameron Delaney hit a huge three pointer with 7:26 left in the ball game to make it a one-point contest 62-61..
Some foul troubles hurt the Bearkats in the game, especially with Dewey being called for his fourth foul of the game early in the second half of play. Dewey would come back in with about six minutes left in the ball game. Cameron Delaney once again hit a three pointer with 4:50 left in the ball game to make it 70-69, Bearkats still down by one point.
However, it was not enough as some questionable officiating ultimately led to the fall of the Bearkats. With the loss, SHSU falls out of a chance to make it to the NCAA tournament and possibly the NIT tournament, as well.
Head coach Jason Hooten talked afterwards about the team’s performance.
“We got the game where we wanted it,” Hooten said. “In the second half, we were right there. But, as a coach, you also know that you don’t know where our time is stopping and getting the ball inside against us. Jamal [Williams] was playing the post and he’s done that before. He’s done a great job with it. But, you know, it was just tough and had a couple of breaks not go our way.”