Wednesday, Jan. 9 • Conway, Ark. • 7:00 p.m. • Farris Center (5,000)
Sam Houston State (6-8, 1-0 Southland) at Central Arkansas (6-9, 1-1 Southland)
Live Stats • Watch ($) • @BearkatsMBB on Twitter
HUNTSVILLE – With their first Southland Conference victory behind them, the Sam Houston State Bearkats will go in search of their first road win of the year on Wednesday evening when they take on Central Arkansas in Conway.
The game is set to tip off at 7:00 p.m. at the Farris Center and can be watched ($$) at UCASports.com. Fans can follow along via live stats, or get updates by following @BearkatsMBB on Twitter.
Behind a 30-point explosion from Josh Delaney on Saturday, SHSU was able to hold off a heated rally by Abilene Christian to move to 1-0 in league play. The Kats led by as much as 25 points in the opening half before ACU, who came into the game with a 12-2 overall record, cut that advantage all the way down to just two points with less than five minutes remaining.
But Delaney was able to put in 10 of SHSU’s final 12 points in the last three minutes of the game, giving SHSU a victory in its SLC opener for the first time since 2015-16. Now they will look to get their first true road win of the year, after having dropped each of their first seven in non-conference play.
Delaney, along with his brother Cameron, are two of three Bearkats averaging double figures in points this season with Kai Mitchell also averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Those marks help make up a roster that has no player averaging more than 26.8 minutes per game this year.
The Kats have been on fire from outside of late, hitting 48 3-point baskets in their last five games after nailing eight against the Wildcats. They have also been of the most trustworthy teams with the basketball in the SLC this year, tied with ACU with a league-low average of just 12.7 turnovers per game.
Meanwhile, the Bears opened their league schedule last week by splitting two games on the road. They dropped a 12-point decision at A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday despite hitting 15 3-point baskets in their SLC debut. That came just before rebounding to take down one of the league favorites, Southeastern Louisiana, with a last-second bucket in Hammond, La., on Saturday.
DeAndre Jones had that game-winning score vs SLU, finishing with 18 points against the Lions after going for 22 points and five assists vs the Islanders three days earlier. He leads the Bears with an average of 13.2 points per game, while Thatch Unruh is right behind him with 11.5 points and also leads the team with 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
SERIES vs CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Sam Houston owns a 16-3 all-time lead in the series with the Bears, but the Bears have won two of the last five meetings over the past two seasons. Each of those UCA wins came in Conway, including an 88-70 win at the Farris Center late last year.