Corey Allmond gets open, takes a pass from his point guard and launches a shot with a high arc that swishes through the basket for a 3-pointer.

It's a sight Sam Houston State fans have seen often this year as the Bearkats have rolled to first place in the Southland Conference men's basketball race.

Allmond leads the Southland and ranks in the top 20 in NCAA Division I in 3-point field goals per game. But the Bearkats' high-scoring guard hasn't always used the long range trey with the high arc.

"I didn't shoot 3's when I was in high school. I drove inside a lot and I had a set shot," Allmond, who was an All-Metro selection at Brandywine High School in Oxon Hill, Md., said. "When I got to junior college, I starting shooting outside. In one of my first games, a big guy blocked my set shot back in my face. That's when I starting putting more arc on my shot."

Sam Houston State head coach Bob Marlin likes Allmond's shot the way it is now.

"Corey has a pretty shot with good rotation," Marlin said. "It's amazing some of the shots he has made. We feel he is one of the best shooters in the country. His outside shooting also opens up a lot for us inside as well."

The Kentucky Wildcats will attest to Marlin's statement. In a 10-point loss to Kentucky in November, Allmond set an Adolph Rupp Arena, Southland Conference and Sam Houston State record with 11 treys. The senior guard ended the night with 37 points, the second-highest point total ever by a Bearkat in an NCAA Division I game.

"When you think of all the great players who have played at Rupp, one of the most storied Arenas in college basketball, having a Sam Houston guard hold the record for 3-point baskets is something," Marlin said. "Corey also set a school record with 99 treys to rank No. 14 in the nation in -point shooting last year. Definitely, the teams we're playing have somebody out guarding Corey."

Allmond said he knew early on he was going to have a good game

"We before the game coach told me this was a shooters gym," Allmond said. "I started off hitting just one of my first 3, but then I knocked down a few in a row and just started feeling it. When I hit the double-clutch shot, I knew everything I was putting up there was going to go in."

Allmond has scored in double figures in 43 of the Kats' 51 games since he transferred to Sam Houston last season from Howard College in Big Spring. He owns the seventh-highest career scoring average in school history (15.6). With his 16 points a game this season, the Bearkats are off to their best leage start in their 23 years in the Southland.

The senior kinesiology major credits his success to his teammates.

"First off, it's hard to get a shot off if you're not catching the ball," Allmond said. "Ashton Mitchell, Drae Murray and Josten Crow are doing a great job of hitting me when I'm open."

With Allmond delivering with the buckets, Sam Houston State has ranked either one or two in NCAA Division I men's basketball in assists all year.

Marlin is amazed at the chemistry between Allmond and Mitchell, the Kats' senior point guard.

"As roommates, the pair are close off the court as well as on," Marlin said. "Ashton is the facilitator. Corey is the shooter. Even though they are short in stature, Ashton and Corey are very good in what they bring to the table."

Since Marlin became Sam Houston head coach in 1999, the Bearkats rank not only as the "winningest" team in the Southland Conference but also rank No. 2 among Texas NCAA Division I teams in victories since 2000. Only the Texas Longhorns have won more games.

The Bearkats have finished among the top three teams in the Southland standings six of the past seven seasons. SHSU won Southland championships in 2000 and 2003 and won the Southland post-season tournament in 2003 to advance to the NCAA Championships against Florida.

The Bearkats have two more home games at Johnson Coliseum remaining -- McNeese Wednesday Feb. 24 and UT-Arlington Saturday Feb. 27. Then the Kats head to Katy for the 2010 State Farm Southland Conference Tournament and a shot at winning the school's second NCAA playoff berth.

Sam Houston State students are admitted free to all home games at Johnson Coliseum on presentation of their BearkatOne Card.

For more information about tickets to Bearkat athletic events, fans can go on-line to www.gobearkats.com, visit the Sam Houston athletic ticket office at Bowers Stadium or call the ticket office at (936) 294-1729.