The Horns' depth and free throw shooting finally took its tool as Texas rallied for a 56-40 victory. But a determined group of Bearkats definitely made a statement in Austin Saturday night.
Sam Houston limited Texas to 31.6 percent shooting (18-of-57) and equaled the Longhorns' field goal total, hitting 18-of-56. The difference came at the line where Texas was 16-of-26 and SHSU 0-of-2.
"After the long road trip last week, I'm really proud of the way our kids fought tonight," SHSU head coach Jason Hooten said. "We got better tonight, and that's our goal every game. We have to continue to get better each time we take the floor."
The Bearkats played tenacious defense from the beginning, allowing the Horns to sink only one of their first 13 shots. Sam Houston took a 9-2 lead on Demarcus Gatlin's jumper at the 14:22 mark of the first half and Darius Gatson's jumper at the 12:20 mark stretched the lead to 16-4.
After a media timeout, Texas began to inch back into the game, tying the contest for the first time 18-18 with 6:43 to go in the period. Werner scored again to make it 20-18 before the Horns tied the contest again at 22-22 and led at half 28-22.
Sam Houston hit 10-of-29 field goals in the first half while Texas managed only 9-of-29. The Horns' big advantage came at the free throw line where they were 8-of-9 while the Kats did not have any attempts.
The pesky Bearkats continued the fight into the second half. Konner Tucker drove the lane for a layup to pull Sam Houston within two points, 30-28, with 14 minutes to play. Texas held only a four-point lead, 34-30, at the second media time out at 10:25 and a six-point lead, 36-30, at the third media at 7:32.
Sam Houston pulled within four, 39-35, on a basket by Holyfield with 5:44 remaining. After Holyfield and Marcus James fouled out, the Horns pulled away with a 17-5 run to close the contest.
"We've been playing good defense. We need to hit some shots," Hooten said. "We've got some guys hurt right now, but you have to go with what you have and those kids played their hearts out tonight."
The Longhorns maintained their unbeaten record in the Erwin Center this year where they've gone 3-0. Texas stands 3-2 for the season. Sam Houston drops to 1-5.
Sam Houston returns to Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum Tuesday, November 29, to play host to Dallas Christian in a 7 p.m. contest.
Hillcrest Ford of Huntsville will be giving one Sam Houston State student the opportunity to win an F150 truck during the game.
The F150 truck is not the only prize up for grabs.Aberdeen and Brook Place Apartments have added great incentives to enter including an Apple IPA D, a Tom-Tom Navigation System and a Sam Houston t-shirt.
Wing Stop is joining in the fun of the "Hillcrest Toss for a Truck" contest as well. Wing Stop will be providing a $25 gift card as a prize and also will be presenting special discount Wing Stop coupons for the section represented by the first place contestant.
Students can sign up to participate at the Coliseum entrance prior to the game Tuesday. Former basketball players who played in high school or college are ineligible to participate. A drawing will be held to pick the four contestants for the halftime bean bag toss. Registrants for the contests must be present at the game to be picked. Closest to the target wins an Apple IPAD plus the chance to shoot the halfcourt shot to win the Ford F-150.
Randall Reed's Hillcrest Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai is located just off I-45 southbound side at IH-45 Exit #114. The hard-working team at Hillcrest Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai are there for all automatic needs. Sam Houston students can save "big bucks" at Hillcrest.
Tickets for all Sam Houston State men's basketball home games are on sale now online at www.gobearkats.com/tickets . The Sam Houston athletic ticket office in the Ron Mafrige Field House at Bowers Stadium is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ticket office telephone number is (936) 294-1729.