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March 23, 2014

SAM HOUSTON STATE BASKETBALL — Bearkats reach end of the road in CIT

Kats fall to San Diego in second round of CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament

HUNTSVILLE — The Bearkats’ lengthy postseason run came to an end on Saturday.

Sam Houston State hosted San Diego in its second CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament game since losing in the Southland Conference tournament championship last Saturday, but the Toreros bounced the Kats out of the postseason with a 77-72 victory.

“I feel like every guy on that team gave it his best effort,” Sam Houston junior guard Jabari Peters said. “We just fell short but I’m proud of our team. We always fight. I’m just really disappointed right now that we didn’t get the win but we’ve got to be proud of our effort.”

It was Sam Houston’s effort that brought the Kats back from a 10-point halftime deficit to taking the lead twice in the second half. Senior forward Terrance Motley hit a 3 from the top of the key with 9:17 to go to give Sam Houston its first lead since nearly midway through the first half.

The Kats pushed their lead to as much as five points with six minutes to play, but the Toreros had other plans.

Most notably, San Diego point guard Christopher Anderson got locked into a zone. Anderson scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the final six minutes of the contest. He hit a 3 to bring the Toreros to within a bucket. Then another on the next possession to bring them to within one after Bearkats senior forward James Thomas scored on the other end.

The most crucial points came when Anderson drove the lane and converted a reverse layup, plus drawing the foul and making the free throw to convert the old-fashioned three-point play.

“I knew they were very good watching them on film, but to be honest, I thought they were better in person than on film,” Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten said. “They’ve got a lot of length. I thought we did a tremendous job on those guys. If one more shot goes in and one less shot for (Anderson) goes in, we’re sitting here talking about moving on.

“It’s part of the game, part of basketball.”

Peters finished with a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds for the Kats. Sam Houston also got 16 points, seven assists and two steals from Paul Baxter. James Thomas scored 14 points and Kaheem Ransom added 10 in the losing effort.

For San Diego, Johnny Dee scored 15 points, Dennis Kramer dropped 13 and Duda Sanadze finished with 12 points.

This was only the second loss at Johnson Coliseum this season for the Bearkats. The other home loss came in mid-February against Stephen F. Austin, which is still alive in the NCAA tournament and is playing UCLA today to advance to the Sweet 16.

“This is our house and we try to do our best to protect it,” Peters said. “I’m just really disappointed with the loss. It means a lot for the seniors, especially because it’s two extra games to their final season. We’ve got a lot to build on going toward next year, so it’s good.

“Losing these two tournament games — we had goals this season we didn’t make — just gives me a lot of fuel. We don’t want to feel this disappointment again.”

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