NACOGDOCHES – An early second half run by SFA was all that it took to hand the Sam Houston State Bearkats their first Southland Conference loss of the season.
With the game tied at 33 late in the first half, SFA hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 36-33 lead into the locker room. They also took all the momentum. They open the second half on a 21-4 run on their way to a 73-56 win over the Bearkats.
“They made that really big three at the buzzer and I thought that was a momentum shift,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “We have to get out there and challenge and make him put the ball on the floor and drive. We didn’t do that and they made the shot.”
It started to unravel for the Bearkats (9-5, 1-1 Southland) shortly after James Thomas was called for a hand check and then was assessed with a technical foul, fouling him out of the ball game four minutes into the second half.
The Kats also got out of their offensive rhythm over the first nine minutes of the second half, hitting just one of their first 14 shots after shooting for a 53 percent clip in the first 20 minutes of the game.
“You just can’t stay in a game when you go 1-for-14,” Hooten said. “I though we did a good job on them defensively, but we just did get what we need when we drove to the basket and we lost our cool a little bit.”
The Lumberjacks (13-2, 2-0) outrebounded SHSU 44-27, including 17-11 on the offensive glass. SFA outscored the Kat 21-5 on the second chance points.
Paul Baxter led the Kats in scoring with 16 points.
The Kats open up the home slate in Southland play on Thursday night when McNeese State visits Johnson Coliseum for a 7:30 tip.