The Sam Houston State University Bearkats found their rhythm in the second half and grabbed the victory in their 2018-2019 regular season opener 85-64 against the East Texas Baptist University Tigers.
Head coach Jason Hooten talked about the victory and some of the challenges his team faced.
“I think the game went about like I thought it would,” Hooten said. “I’ve been saying all long we’re a work in progress for sure, and we got off to a slow start. But I thought we settled in well. I thought the effort was there all night long. The biggest thing we’ve got to do is continue to get better defensively.”
The Bearkats led both halves in scoring +4 and +17 point margins, respectively. In the first half, SHSU shot 44.1 percent from the field, with redshirt senior guard Marcus Harris leading the charge shooting 4-for-6 from the field and 1-for-1 from behind the three point line.
Also helping the Bearkats in the first half was redshirt senior Cameron Delaney with a 4-for-9 performance from the field and 2-for-7 from behind the arc. Delaney led the Bearkats with 12 points in the first half, as well as six rebounds and one assist in 17 out of the first 20 minutes.
Delaney talked about leading SHSU with the most threes hit in the game.
“Really, I was just taking shots that were within the offense and whenever that was opening up. I was just taking it and being aggressive and having that confidence,” Delaney said.
Junior forward/center Kai Mitchell is one of the new faces on the Bearkat roster as a transfer from Hutchinson Community College. In his first Division I game, Mitchell picked up a double-double. The final statline for Mitchell was 14 points and13 rebounds, as well as an assist and asteal in his 23 minutes of play.
Mitchell talked about his mentality heading into the matchup against the Tigers.
“I was just doing whatever I could to help my team win,” Mitchell said. “I knew that if we rebounded well that we would probably end up getting the win, and that’s really what happened.”
The Bearkats will have a day of rest before playing their next game, with tip-off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum as they take on the Southwestern Pirates.