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February 26, 2014

SHSU BASKETBALL — Central Arkansas games big for Kats

Men battle to maintain No. 2 spot in conference, women look to get back in tournament picture

HUNTSVILLE — With only four contests remaining in the 2014 regular season, Thursday’s Southland Conference doubleheader at Central Arkansas is crucial for both the Sam Houston men’s and women’s basketball teams.

For the Bearkat men, winning the 7 p.m. tilt with the Bears is one more step towards nailing down one of the top two seeds in the Southland Conference tournament in Katy from March 12-15.

Both the No. 1 and 2 seeds earn an automatic semifinals berth with a bye through the first two rounds. Stephen F. Austin (14-0) is one victory away from securing the No. 1 seed.

The Sam Houston men (11-3) are locked in a battle with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (11-4) for the No. 2 spot. The Bearkats hold a half-game lead over the Islanders that they can extend to a full game with a win Thursday when Corpus Christi is idle.

Further, with a victory over Central Arkansas, Sam Houston would earn its seventh 20-victory season as an NCAA Division I program. The last 20-plus win season came in 2010 when Sam Houston won the Southland title and advanced to the NCAA regional in New Orleans. That team won 25 games. Other 20-victory years at the Division I level have been 2008 (23), 2007 (21), 2006 (22), 2003 (23) and 2000 (22).

The Bearkat men have won 10 of their last 12 games and have shown a talent for winning the close ones. The Kats are 8-0 in games decided by five points or less in 2013-14.

Jabari Peters (12.4 points per game) and Kaheem Ransom (11.5) continue to lead Sam Houston in scoring. Michael Holyfield (6.6) is the Kats’ leading rebounder.

When the Sam Houston women take the floor at 5:30 p.m. at Central Arkansas, they will be fighting to insure a berth as one of the eight teams in the post-season event in Katy.

The Sam Houston women (6-8 in league action) currently stand 10th in the standings but are within one game of eighth place and two games of fifth with four contests to play.

Angela Beadle (15.6 points and 10.3 rebounds) and Jasmine Johnson (11.8 points) lead the Bearkat women.

The women’s game will be broadcast live on KHVL 107.9 FM while the men’s contest will air on KSAM-FM 101.7 Thursday night.

Action continues this weekend when both SHSU basketball teams move on to Tulsa to face Oral Roberts in the final road Southland games for the Bearkats. The men play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night while the women tip off Sunday at 1 p.m.

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