HUNTSVILLE – Snapping a four-game losing streak, senior Marcus Harris led the Sam Houston State men’s basketball team (4-7) with 12 points as the Bearkats broke out a 78-57 victory over Alabama State, Tuesday night at Johnson Coliseum.
Bench production was key for the Kats in the first half as the Kats led the bench matchup, 12-2. Kai Mitchell came off the bench and led Sam Houston with nine points on a 3-for-5 effort from the field in the first half, along with nine rebounds.
Mitchell was joined by senior Marcus Harris, who also tallied nine points, as the leading scorers in the first half. Harris completed a well-rounded first with half three rebounds and three assists.
The Bearkats defense was big from the beginning of the game, forcing four early turnovers to help maintain a lead that they never relinquished.
Sam Houston’s defense continued to hold the visiting Hornets in check as it held Alabama State under double digits with 7:55 remaining in the first half.
After Alabama State connected on a jumper, Sam Houston responded with 13 unanswered points to extend their lead to 39-13.
The Bearkats’ stifling defensive effort did not let up as they finished the half on a 24-4 run – holding Alabama State without a field goal for the final five and a half minutes of the opening stanza.
The second half saw more of the same for the Kats as they kept up the defensive intensity and leading by as many as 28. Mitchell continued to have an impact on the boards in the second half as he completed his second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds and 11 points.
Albert Almanza and Josh Delaney each nailed a three-pointer to start the scoring for the Kats in the second half. Responding to the Bearkat momentum, the Hornets went off on an 11-0 run – which was interrupted by Chad Bowie as he connected on a driving lay-up.
Although the Hornets found more success scoring the ball in the second half, the Bearkats had an answer every step of the way.
The Bearkat guards kept up the pressure in the second half, continuing to attack into the heart of the defense for drive-and-kick opportunities. The consistent driving opportunities were created by Harris and Josh Delaney as the pair combined for 10 assists.
With the victory, the Bearkats move to a 4-7 on the season. The team shot 42.9% from the field and hit 11 three-pointers.
The Bearkats hit the road for a matchup at Utah Valley on Saturday, Dec. 22, in Orem Utah.