Game 24
Saturday, Feb. 3 • Huntsville • 6:15 p.m. CT • Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum
Sam Houston State (13-10, 7-3 Southland) vs Abilene Christian (14-9, 6-4 Southland)
Live StatsESPN3@BearkatsMBB on Twitter

HUNTSVILLE – For the first time this year the Sam Houston State Bearkats will get a second look at an opponent when they host Abilene Christian on Saturday evening, kicking off a stretch of three straight games at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.

The game can be watched on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Matt Pedersen on the call and former Bearkat Paul Baxter providing analysis. Live stats are available at GoBearkats.com and fans can also get updates as they happen by following @BearkatsMBB on Twitter.

The Kats got could not quite climb out of a 14-point deficit in the league opener on the Wildcats’ home floor on December 30 despite 18 points from John Dewey III. Sam Houston was hot from deep early in the game, hitting seven of nine tries from 3-point range in the opening half before finishing with just two makes on its final 12 attempts.

But Coach Jason Hooten’s team got it going after that, winning each of its next five games and now will go into the rematch a game up on ACU in the league standings and just 1.5 games behind first-place New Orleans.

The Kats are coming off its most recent win Tuesday at McNeese in which they led by as much as 19 in the second half behind five 3-point baskets from Josh Delaney and a 12-point, 12-rebound effort from junior big man Josh Boutte.

ACU heads to Huntsville having alternated wins and losses over its last five games, picking up a win over Lamar on Saturday to rebound from a 14-point loss at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi a week earlier. One of the best shooting teams in the league, ACU’s .479 field-goal percentage is the third highest in the Southland. They also rank sixth in scoring at 75.9 points per game despite not having a single player ranking in the league’s top 10 individually.

Jalone Friday’s 14.2 points per game paces the team following a 24-point outburst on Saturday in the win over Lamar. Jaren Lewis is also averaging 13.0 points per game and is second in the league with a .609 shooting percentage from the floor.

SERIES vs ABILENE CHRISTIAN
Sam Houston leads the all-time series 23-17 with the Wildcats, but it is ACU who will ride a 3-game win streak in the series into Saturday. ACU swept the Kats a year ago and took the first meeting this year between the teams, 75-72, in the SLC opener for both teams on December 30 in Abilene. It is the first 3-game win streak for ACU in the series since the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons, prior to the Kats joining Division I. The last time ACU came to Huntsville was late in the season in 2017, hanging on for an 84-81 win despite a career-high 31 points from John Dewey III.