FORT MYERS, FL- The Sam Houston Bearkats win not only their sixth in a row but also the Fort Myers Tip-Off Palms Division Championship with a staggering victory over the South Dakota Coyotes 80-49 Tuesday afternoon.
The Coyotes (3-3, 0-0) had the Bearkats (6-0,0-0) on their toes to begin the game when they took a 7-2 lead with 16:43 left in the first half over Sam Houston with some nice shooting and defense.
South Dakota were coming off a 68-58 win against the Long Island University Shark and were poised to pull off a mid-major upset.
They were being led by players like senior guards Mason Archambault and Damani Hayes.
Sam Houston were not deterred though by the early deficit as they went on a 12-2 run after that and never looked back.
Both senior guard Donte Powers and sophomore transfer forward Cameron Huefner caught fire and the flames did not go out.
Huefner scored a new season high of 22 points in a game where he was a perfect 4-for-4 from downtown. The Australian native added four rebounds.
Powers added 20 points of his own with four 3-pointers of his own.
Senior transfer guard Qua Grant did not have a good shooting night but still contributed all around with five points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Fellow senior guard Jaden Ray visited double-double territory as he had seven points and six assists.
The overwhelming Bearkat defense showed out again for head coach Jason Hooten as they held the Yotes to only 49 total points.
It was not just a defensive clinic though, it was also a shooting clinic.
The Kats shot 56.1% from the field including 11-for-19 (57.9%) from the 3-point line. They also shot 5-for-6 (83.3%) from the charity stripe.
All this led to the 80-49 victory and writes the ending of a dominant performance over the two day at Fort Myers, FL.
Over the two games against the Coyotes and the Northern Illinois Huskies the Bearkats outscored both of them 168-104 combined. That is an opponent scoring average of 52 points per game.
Hooten stressed before the tournament that the team needed to be better at shooting overall.
The Kats did just that.
Sam Houston over the two games shot 54.2% from the field overall and 56.1% from the arc.
While the team took home trophy hardware, there was a WWE style championship belt that was given out to the MVP of the Palms Division.
The belt was given to Powers who averaged 16.5 points on 64.7% shooting in those two games. The Starkville, MS, native also tacked on 60% 3-point shooting.
Powers and Huefner were named to the Palms Division All-Tournament Team.
Huefner averaged 16 points and 3.5 rebounds at the Fort Myers Tip-Off.
This was a successful visit to Florida for the Bearkats.
It was what they needed and it so happened to garner attention from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy.
Too early to say, but with how the Bearkats are playing it is a good thing for them to get national attention. It will go a long way for ranking purposes.
Time will tell.
With this and its previous successes the team could now start pulling the crowd that what some among the Bearkat community deserve.
Sam Houston will have a break until Monday where they will face off against another Power 5 school on the road.
Next destination will be to Reno, NV, to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack (6-1,0-0).
It will be broadcasted on Pac 12 Mountain and on the airwaves of 101.7 KSAM.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. central time.