ABILENE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats saw their eight-game win streak come to an end, falling 71-64, to Abilene Christian on Saturday afternoon at Moody Coliseum.
Despite the loss, the Kats (17-7, 8-3 SLC) still remain in first place in the league standings with seven games remaining. Meanwhile, the Wildcats (10-12, 4-7 SLC) picked up their fourth league win of the year, all coming at home, and now own victories over each of the top three teams in the Southland standings.
Sam Houston was its own worst enemy in the first half, committing 11 turnovers, but was still able to erase an eight-point halftime deficit. However, ACU was able to go on a 11-0 run to snap a 40-40 tie and hit 27-for-32 from the foul line for the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bearkats could not take advantage of two extended scoring droughts by the Wildcats in the opening half, and were marred by 11 turnovers in trailing 27-19 at the break. Henderson had nine of his 20 points in the opening 20 minutes, but it was still the Kats lowest-scoring half of the season behind just 34.8 percent shooting.
ACU led nearly the entire half despite an early scoreless drought of greater than 5:30 that ended when Hayden Farquhar hit a three to spark a 7-0 run that upped the lead to 12-7 nearly nine minutes into the game. The Kats followed with jumpers from Henderson and Galbreath, and eventually got to within a point on a free throw from Majauskas, but could not build on a stretch of nearly eight minutes that saw the Wildcats’ only points come from the foul line.
Instead, ACU finished with scoring 12 of the half’s final 17 points, including a three from Drake Green just before the buzzer to hit the locker room up eight despite hitting just 3-for-14 from distance.
It took the Kats less than eight minutes to square things up with ACU in the second half, doing so on a short jumper from Majauskas who finished with 17 points for the game. The teams then traded buckets before the Wildcats used a Jaren Lewis jumper to spark an 11-0 run to go up 51-40 with 8:23 to play.
That lead did not get below seven until the game’s final minute when the Kats got to within as close as 65-61 on a three from Paul Baxter, but that was as close as it got as ACU finished things off with the game’s final six points
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Dakarai Henderson finished with a season-high 20 points, hitting three 3-point baskets for the game. Aurimas Majauskas hit 5-for-8 from the floor and had 17 points and six rebounds, while Paul Baxter reached double figures with a dozen points.
Neither team shot greater than 45 percent from the field, but the difference in the game came at the foul line. Sam Houston hit just five of its first 16 free throws and finished 14-for-26 at the line, while Abilene Christian connected on 27-of-32 despite entering the night hitting just 64.2 percent from the stripe.
Sam Houston will head to Lamar on Thursday to wrap up its season series with the Cardinals before returning home for its first look at Incarnate Word on Saturday.