BEAUMONT- A slow first-half start for the Sam Houston State Bearkats left them in too large of a deficit to overcome in the second half of play as they were handed their first loss in conference play 75-72 against the Lamar Cardinals on Saturday at the Montagne Center.
The Bearkats (17-9,12-1 SLC) found themselves in shooting trouble in the first half going 8-for-25 from the field and just 4-for-16 from beyond the arc. Lamar (14-12, 7-6 SLC) caused the Kats to turn over the ball 12 times in the first half of play.
Sam Houston was led by Kai Mitchell with 17 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Cameron Delaney with 13 points and Marcus Harris with 11.
Harris shot 3-for-6 from the 3-point line, all of those triples coming at crucial times for the Bearkats.
A run for the Kats in late in the second half seemed to show some promising plays for the Bearkats and they got back within one possession of the Cards on several occasions, but never could draw level or regain the lead. Lamar led for the final 26 minutes of the game.
Lamar went 30-38 from the free throw line, ultimately the pitfall for the Bearkats as they took less than half the number of attempts and went 11-16 from the line.
- A slow start from both the Bearkats and Cardinals had the score at just 9-9 at the halfway point of the first period
- Harris snapped an almost 7-minute field goal drought for the Kats with a 3-pointer after the team went 1-10 from the field on their last 10 attempts
- The momentum began to swing in favor of the Cardinals who went on a 22-8 run to close out the first half
- The Bearkats struggled to hold onto the ball and had 12 turnovers in the first period of play
- Sam Houston trailed by 15 going into the half, which is the largest deficient the team had seen in conference play this year
- The Kats came out of the half with a quick bucket from Mitchell, but could not really get anything established
A quick4-point spurge led by a Mitchell bucket and a Bowie steal started to shift the momentum for the Kats
- The Kats went 4-for-5 from field goal range to go on an 11-2 run, Zach Nutall found himself in the midst of that with a shot from beyond the arc
- Sam Houston stayed within six points of the Cardinals for the rest of the half, but would never close the gap
- Late 3-pointers from Albert Almanza and Marcus Harris got the Kats within one point, but there just was not enough time left in the game forcing the Kats to have to foul on the defensive end
- The Cardinals went 4-4 from the free throw line in the last 11 seconds of the game
The Sam Houston State Bearkats look to bounce back on Wednesday, February 20th against Nicholls at Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.