Kats in CIT semis for first time

The Sam Houston State University Bearkats men’s basketball team advanced to the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament (CIT) semifinals last Thursday with a victory over UT-San Antonio by a final score of 76-69 to advance past the second round for the first time in school history.

A brief history of the CIT

The CIT was founded in 2009 as a postseason tournament for 16 teams that did not qualify for the NCAA March Madness tournament or the NIT postseason tournament. In 2012, the CIT field was expanded to 32 teams.

Previous champions of the tournament are Saint Peter’s in 2017, Evansville multiple times in 2016 and 2015, Murray State in 2014, East Carolina in 2013, Mercer in 2012, Santa Clara in 2011, Missouri State in 2010 and the inaugural champions Old Dominion in 2009.

SHSU vs. UTSA- What happened?

The Bearkats were able to rebound from a nine-point deficit at the half, thanks to the help of senior forward Chris Galbreath Jr., junior guards Josh and Cameron Delaney and junior guard John Dewey III, all of whom scored double-digit points in the game. Also, something else that helped was that everyone who stepped on the floor for the Bearkats had at least five points in the game against the Roadrunners. Galbreath was also able to bring in another double-double in the game, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive side of the ball.

SHSU was able to convert at the charity stripe, knocking down 79.4 percent from the free throw line on 27-34 shooting. Seven steals, three blocks, 15 assists and 15 forced turnovers also contributed into the win for the Bearkats on both sides of the ball.

SHSU vs. Northern Colorado-What needs to happen?

For the Bearkats to reach the CIT National Championship Game, they must first take on the Northern Colorado Bears in the semifinals. UNC (24-12) comes into this game off an impressive double-digit win over the San Diego Toreros by a final score of 86-75.

The Bears, who came in fifth place in the Big Sky standings, lost to the Montana Griz in the Big Sky Tournament Semifinals by a score of 91-89. At home, UNC grabbed a 12-3 record during the regular season, where they scored an average of 88.5 points per home win during the regular season. They scored 81 points in their home game in this year’s CIT.

A big key for the Bearkats is going to be limiting their opportunities from behind the arch as UNC has converted 36 percent of their opportunities from three-point territory. That mark has the Bears averaging 8.7 three-pointers per contest this year, while holding their opponents to about half that total at 4.7.

Another big key for Sam Houston State University will be their ability to get the rebound. The Bears lost anytime they gave up 25 or more rebounds in a game, regardless of it being at home or away. In those losses, the Bears average 35.3 rebounds given up per game. So, if the Bearkats can get to 35 by the end of the game and limit the three-point opportunities of the Bears, then Sam Houston State University should have a good opportunity to take home the victory and a birth into the CIT national championship for the first time in program history.

The Bearkats face UNC at Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Greeley, Colo. for a spot in the CIT National Championship.

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