WACO – The No. 22 Baylor Bears went wire-to-wire on Monday night, handing the Sam Houston State Bearkats an 84-56 loss at the Ferrell Center.
Christopher Galbreath Jr. turned in his third straight double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bearkats (5-4), but no other player was able to get into double figures against a Baylor (6-2) defense that held Sam Houston to just 34.9 shooting for the night.
The Kats trailed by as much as 23 in the first half before an 8-0 run in the final minute made it just a 15-point game at the half; however, the Bears hit more than half their shots in the second half and nailed a dozen free throws while never leading by less than 13 the rest of the way.
Galbreath hit 10 of his 21 shots from the floor on the night and had 15 of his points in the second half, making the most of his 29 minutes on the floor. He has now reached double digits in scoring in each of his last eight games played.
Albert Almanza added eight points off the bench and hit two of Sam Houston’s five 3-point buckets. John Dewey was held to just three made free throws, but still dished out six assists and pulled in six rebounds.
The Bearkats outrebounded the Bears 41-37 and 11-7 on the offensive glass, while losing the battle in the paint just 36-32 behind Galbreath’s big night.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Galbreath put the Kats on his shoulders in the early going, scoring Sam Houston’s first eight points of the game. The Bears opened up the game with a 10-2 run, but the Kats answered with an 8-0 run of its own, tying it up on a baseline dunk from Jamal Williams with 13:14 to play.
But form there the Bears stretched it out, going on a 14-1 run that did not end until a 3-point basket from Almanza more than seven minutes after Sam Houston’s last field goal. Baylor would follow that up with a 16-2 run that had the Bears up 40-17 with less than a minute to the break; however, the Kats would score eight points in the half’s final 48 seconds, including a three from Almanza as the buzzer sounded.
That run got the Kats to the locker room down just 15 despite hitting only 30 percent of their shots, including 2-of-12 from distance.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
It was Galbreath who opened up the half with a score again for the Kats on their opening possession, but the Bears answered back with 12 straight points before a floater from Williams went down nearly four minutes into the second period.
Despite scores from Galbreath and Abrian Edwards, the Bears continued to build upon their lead and after hitting a trio of threes in the early minutes of the half, did work at the foul line by converting eight times at the charity stripe in scoring 14 of the game’s next 21 points to hold a 68-40 lead with less than seven minutes to play.
That was plenty for the Bears who forced nine Bearkat turnovers in the half and turned them into 15 points in the period.
The Bearkats will have nine days off before hitting the court again when they travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on the Rebels on December 13 at The Pavilion.
Sam Houston State Head Coach Jason Hooten opening statement ...
“Obviously, disappointed giving up 84 points and getting basically beat by 30. As crazy as it sounds, though, we executed to a tee against that zone. I was very proud of our execution, got wide open shots. I think if we make 10 out of 26 threes it is a totally different game.”
On SHSU going through scoring droughts too often…
“We have. I mean it’s very hard when you play a team that is that long and athletic. I mean we only got outscored 36 to 32 in the paint. When you’re playing a team that is that big, scoring 32 means that you’re doing something right. Just have to make some threes to go along with that.”
On winning the rebound battle…
“It is [something we can take away from this game and build on], but they shot 48 percent, so there aren’t a lot of rebounds to get. I will tell you that we have done a really good job of offensive rebounding. That’s the disappointing thing is that we are offensively rebounding, but as a team right now we are shooting 41 percent.”
On Baylor as a team…
“I’m not sure, they have played a tough schedule. I’ve tried to compare them to last year’s team, and I think the only difference right now is just the big kid [Johnathan Motley] inside who was a consistent scorer. But, I like their toughness and I believe they are better defensively than they were last year, which I think will be good for them down the stretch.”