HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats started off slow and could not climb out of an early hole as Abilene Christian picked up a 72-39 win on Saturday afternoon at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The loss, coupled with wins by both Nicholls and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi officially eliminates the Bearkats (3-23, 3-13 SLC) from contention for a berth in the Southland Conference Tournament.
Jasmine McCants led the Bearkats with 11 points and five rebounds, but no other player made it into double figures. Lydia Baxter just missed double figures with nine points and seven boards, while Rachel Harrell finished with eight points off the bench, including a pair of threes.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a rough first quarter for the Bearkats as they trailed 17-2 after the first 10 minutes of play. McCants scored the first bucket for the Kats at the 7:22 mark of the quarter, but Sam Houston was not able to get back on the scoreboard until two free throws from Ashleigh Cooper at the 8:04 mark of the second quarter.
The Wildcats (20-8, 14-2 SLC) scored 20 unanswered points in that span and eventually got the lead up to as much as 27 with less than three minutes to go in the half. A breakaway layup from Jenniffer Oramas with 4:43 left in the half broke a nearly 13-minute span without a field goal for Sam Houston and got the Kats going a bit as they got five points each from Oramas and Harrell in the final minutes of the half.
Still, Sam Houston shot just 27.3 percent from the field in the half and fell behind 26-12 on the glass as the Wildcats took a 38-16 lead into the halftime locker room.
Harrell opened up the second half with a three, but ACU scored eight of the next 10 points and was off and running once again. The Wildcats hit 46 percent from the floor in the third quarter, but turned up the defense in the final 10 minutes and held Sam Houston to just 2-for-12 from the floor in building its lead up to as much as 34.
Sam Houston will wrap up its home slate on Thursday when it hosts McNeese at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.