Game 2
Tuesday, Nov. 14 • Huntsville • 6:30 p.m. CT • Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum (6,100)

Sam Houston State (1-0, 0-0 Southland) vs Hardin-Simmons (0-0, 0-0 American Southwest)
Live StatsWATCH (BSN)@BearkatsMBB on Twitter

HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats will go for their second straight win to open up the 2017-18 season on Tuesday night against Hardin-Simmons at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

The Kats jumped out to a 1-0 start on Saturday with a 91-51 win over UT Tyler behind four players in double figures and a defense that held the Patriots to just 30.4 percent shooting for the night. Tuesday will be the just the third meeting between the Bearkats and Cowboys since 2007.

Tuesday’s game can be followed via live stats or with live updates by following @BearkatsMBB on Twitter. Fans can also watch along on the Bearkat Sports Network’s YouTube channel with Jason Barfield providing play-by-play.  

Coach Jason Hooten’s Bearkats got 15 points and eight boards from Jamal Williams to lead the way against UT Tyler in a game that saw the Kats lead for nearly 39 minutes of play. Tuesday’s game will be the final tune up for Sam Houston before it hits the road for more than a week away from home with a game at Idaho followed by three at the Great Alaska Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend.

They canned 10 three-point baskets in the win, including three from Albert Almanza and two from Josh Delaney who also tied his career high with eight assists. The Bearkats only had three games in all of 2016-17 in which they hit 10 or more treys.

This will be the 10th all-time meeting between the Bearkats and Cowboys with Sam Houston holding a 5-4 edge in the series. But it is only the third meeting with the Kats as a Division I team, each coming since 2007. HSU last came to Huntsville in 2012 with the Kats taking a convincing 82-31 win.

AMONG THE LONE STAR ELITE With 23 Division I basketball teams within Texas’ borders, one does not have to look far within the Lone Star State to find quality teams. In the last 4+ seasons under Jason Hooten, the Bearkats have been one of those teams and this season having won 90 games since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign. The only teams with more wins in that span include SMU (111), Stephen F. Austin (109) and Baylor (100).

The six Bearkat freshmen make up a group of nine newcomers on this year’s roster, which is not a common thing for the Bearkats. This year marks only the second time since 2007-08 that the Bearkats have had at least 5 freshmen on its opening-day roster.  

Josh Boutte may be a new face for the Kats, but he does not lack familiarity with the Bearkat coaching staff. Assistant coach Kyle Campbell is in his first year on the Bearkat coaching staff and spent the last 5 years as the head coach at Dodge City Community College, where he was Boutte’s head coach the past 2 seasons. Campbell compiled a 92-66 record at DCCC in his tenure, helping Boutte to honorable mention all-America honors last year after the sophomore averaged a double-double for the year.  

When the NCAA recognized more than 1,200 Division I teams for outstanding academic achievements in May, the Bearkats’ men’s basketball team was one of four Sam Houston teams to be recognized. More importantly, they were just the second Southland Conference men’s basketball team to earn the NCAA’s public recognition award, joining Northwestern State who earned it both in the 2004-05 and 2012-13 academic years. The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or academic term and provides a clear picture of the academic performance for each team in every sport. 

Getting longer and more athletic was a point of emphasis for the Bearkats in its last signing class, and the coaching staff made sure that was addressed. Sam Houston will sport four players on this year’s roster - all freshmen or a redshirt freshman - checking in at 6-8 or taller. Both Chidozie Ndu and Justin Van Pelt list at 6-11, while Bubba Furlong is in at 6-9 and Manny Gatkek at 6-8 with expansive wingspans. The Kats had just 2 players on last year’s roster at 6-9 or taller, with one being Van Pelt during his redshirt season. 

The Bearkat bench was a major part last season’s early success with Sam’s reserves outscoring the opponent’s bench in 26 of 34 contests. In all, Sam Houston’s bench outscored its opponent’s bench by a 30.3-21.1 margin.

Under Hooten, the Bearkats have always made things happen on the defensive end. The Kats are forced 16.3 turnovers per game last season, a mark that was tied for tops among teams in the Southland. Additionally, Sam led the Southland in field goal percentage defense, holding its opponents to just 42.6 percent from the field. It was the second time in the last three years the Kats have led the SLC in opponent’s field goal percentage after they held teams to just 39.1 percent in 2014-15. In all, Sam Houston has led the SLC in field-goal percentage defense seven times, all coming since 2000. 

Don’t be surprised when you look at the Bearkat roster and see the last name Delaney on the roster. It’s not a misprint. Brothers Josh and Cameron Delaney are twins in their second year playing with the Kats and are one of just seven sets of twins in NCAA Division I college basketball. Additionally, their sister, Angela, suits up for the Bearkat women’s team. That makes Sam Houston one of just two schools in the nation with a brother/sister combo on the hardwood.  

Sam Houston has had its fair share of success in the assists department over the years, but have not had a player lead the Southland in dimes since Ashton Mitchell did so in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. Sophomore John Dewey III almost brought the assist crown back to Huntsville last season, finishing second in the SLC with 4.9 assists per game. Sam Houston hast claimed that individual statistical title 10 times previously in Southland history.