Sam Houston State University men’s basketball fell to top ranked Stephen F. Austin University 81-76 after a late surge of offense from SFA and costly a couple of costly Bearkat turnovers.
SHSU played well to start the game as they went on a 15-2 run in the middle of the first half which gave them a 23-13 with 10:16 left to go. The game ended up being tied up at 36 going into the second half.
The game was back-and-forth the rest of the way until the very end. While tied at 60, SFA hit a three-pointer that gave them the advantage. Sophomore guard Xavier Bryant responded with a three of his own that tied the game back up. SFA hit a three-pointer on the next possession which gave them a 66-63 lead. They never looked back on that lead as they went on a 7-0 run thanks to two late turnovers by the Kats that put the game out of reach.
“I personally think these are the best two teams in the league,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “Bottom line is we didn’t rebound the way we needed to. We knew that would be a key to the game… When you give teams two or three chances to score, you’re likely to get it in.”
Despite the loss, all five starters ended the night in double digits with senior center/forward Kai Mitchell leading the way with 15 points.
“Our guys are resilient as you saw,” Hooten said. “We even cut the lead to six with 40 or 50 seconds left.”
One other issue in the game was foul trouble. Redshirt junior R.J. Smith fouled out of the game with less than three minutes to go and senior guard Chad Bowie had four. Sophomore guard Zach Nutall and Mitchell ended the game with three fouls a piece as well.
The Bearkats look to bounce back in their next matchup against the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals Feb. 5 in San Antonio.