The Bearkats didn’t get off to the start in conference play they had envisioned on Thursday night.
Houston Baptist came alive in the second half, outscoring Sam Houston State 53-35 en route to a 79-65 victory in the two teams’ conference opener at Johnson Coliseum.
The Huskies (1-0 in Southland Conference, 5-6 overall) caught fire in the final 20 minutes, knocking down 57.1 percent of their shots from the field, which included 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point land.
Houston Baptist outrebounded the Bearkats 38-22 as well, leading to a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points.
“They just kicked our tail in every facet,” Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten said. “We couldn’t stop them. I played almost everybody. I gave everybody a chance and we couldn’t get a stop and we couldn’t make a shot. We just got pounded on the boards. You’re not going to win many games when you get outrebounded by 16. We definitely were outplayed tonight.”
Sam Houston (0-1, 9-5) shot an abysmal 14.3 percent (3 for 21) from behind the arc and struggled at the free-throw line, connecting on just 10 of its 19 attempts from the charity stripe.
“That’s kind of been our thing here as of late from the 3-point line,” Hooten said. “We just didn’t make the 3-point shot and didn’t execute as well as we needed to on offense.”
Houston Baptist forward Colter Lasher and guard Reveal Chukwujekwu combined to score 38 points on 12-of-18 shooting, burying six of their combined eight 3-point shots.
Huskies guard Braxton Bonds chipped in 13 points.
Bearkats center Aurimas Majauskas scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting despite missing a large chunk of the second half after getting whacked in the face on a made layup.
Sam Houston will hit the road on Saturday to take on Central Arkansas, with tipoff set for 4 p.m.
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