Sam Houston's run through the Southland Tournament came to an end with a 55-52 loss to No. 2 seed Northwestern State in the semifinals.
The Bearkats played the game the way they wanted and executed coach Jason Hooten's game plan to perfection.
"It was tough one," said Hooten. "I thought we fought hard and played exactly the way we wanted to play. You've got to give credit to Northwestern State because they beat us at our own game."
Darius Gatson led all scorers with 14 points in his final game as a Bearkat. The senior hit three three-pointers and had an attempt to tie the game go off the rim with six seconds left.
James Thomas scored 11 points and had eight rebounds. Nathaniel Mason and Michael Holyfield each chipped in seven points.
Sam Houston and Northwestern State were all knotted up 26-26 at halftime as the teams went blow-for-blow in the first period.
Nathaniel Mason scored the Bearkats first six points. Mason hit a three-pointer in the opening 90 seconds and completed a three-point play on the Kats next possession.
The Demon's hit their first three-pointer of the game before missing the next nine attempts from range in the first half. They finished the game 2-of-15 from outside of the arc.
The Kats had a seven point lead, 46-39, with just under nine minutes left in the game. Northwestern State chipped away at the lead until they finally tied it with three minutes left and eventually took the lead for the final time with 39 seconds left.
"We've got a good nucleus coming back," Hooten said. "We need to go out and sign a guy or two that can take us to another level. That's what we have to do because Sam Houston basketball has established itself as a top program in Texas."
Sam Houston finishes the season 17-17 overall. Northwestern State will play No. 1 seed SFA Saturday for a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Southland Conference Men's Tournament Schedule/Results
Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 8 McNeese St. 62, No. 5 Nicholls St. 59
Game 2: No. 6 Sam Houston St. 69, No. 7 Central Arkansas 63
Thursday, March 14
Game 3: No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana 85, No. 8 McNeese St. 65
Game 4: No. 6 Sam Houston State 58, No. 3 Oral Roberts 55
Friday, March 15
Game 5: No. 1 Stephen F. Austin 68, No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana 57
Game 6: No. 2 Northwestern St. 55, No. 6 Sam Houston State 52
Saturday, March 16
Game 7: No. 2 Northwestern State vs. No. 1 Stephen F. Austin, 7:30 p.m.
All times Central