NACOGDOCHES – Cold shooting hampered the Sam Houston State Bearkats the entire night at William R. Johnson Coliseum as the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks handed the Kats a 64-56 loss in the regular-season finale for both teams on Saturday.
The Kats (19-12, 10-8 SLC) hit just three of its 23 attempts from three-point range, and despite cutting a 14-point SFA (16-13, 11-7 SLC) lead down to just three late in the second half could not close the door on SFA.
The loss for Sam Houston means they will be the No. 5 seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament. The Kats will play on the opening night of the tournament at 5 p.m. against the eighth-seeded Central Arkansas.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lumberjacks did their damage from distance in the early going, taking advantage of cold outside shooting by Sam Houston to build up a 20-13 lead at the 8-minute media timeout. Kevon Harris had two of those triples on his way to 11 points in the half, with his three-point play finishing off an 8-0 run that snapped a 9-9 tie midway through the half.
SFA stretched out its lead to as much as 10 as the Kats missed their first 11 tries from three before Albert Almanza took the lid off the basket with a straightaway long ball, trimming the lead back to 25-18 with 3:40 left in the period.
Four straight points from Ty Charles followed, but the Kats closed strong with an 8-2 run, including the half’s final four points from Baxter. That run cut the SFA lead down to just 31-26 at the half despite Sam Houston hitting just 1-for-13 from beyond the arc.
Dallas Cameron came out in the second half firing, hitting threes on SFA’s first two possessions to quickly up the Lumberjack lead to 11. That lead got to as much as 14 on consecutive buckets from Leon Gilmore III but Chris Galbreath Jr. finally got going, answering with two straight and-one finishes, cutting the SFA lead to 43-32 with 15:51 to play.
A three from Dewey followed and a second jumper from him the Kats to within 49-45 midway through the half. That lead shrunk even further on a putback dunk from Jamal Williams just minutes later, but SFA responded with a 9-2 run to distance themselves for the final time.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Baxter pumped in eight of his 11 points in the first half, while the combination of Dewey and Galbreath got the Kats going in the second half. Dewey finished with 11 point and a pair of assists, while Galbreath had nine of his 10 points in the second half.