Natchitoches, La. – Four Bearkats scored in double figures as the Sam Houston men’s basketball team fell 84-73 to Southland Conference runner-up Northwestern State in both team’s league regular season finale.
James Thomas scored 16 points, Will Bond 14, Paul Baxter 12 and Marquel McKinney 10 for the Kats who dropped to 15-16 for the year and 8-10 in Southland action.
Shamir Davis powered Northwestern State with 24 points while Brison White totaled 15. The Demons end the regular season 21-8 and are 15-3 in league play.
The Bearkts kept the contest close until the final few minutes, trailing by only two with 7:15 to play.
“Our players really fought hard today,” Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten said. “You’ve got to give Northwestern State a lot of credit. They rose up and made some difficult shots. We’re looking forward to heading to the tournament.”
Northwestern State started the game with a 10-0 as the Bearkats went the first seven minutes without scoring a point. Terrance Motley’s tip-in accounted for the first Sam Houston basket with 13:41 left in the first half.
The Demons built an 11-point lead, 18-7, five minutes later. Back-to-back jumpers by James Thomas started a 15-7 Bearkat run as Sam Houston pulled within three, 25-22 on a three-pointer by Darius Gatson with 4:50 left in the half.
Northwestern State went into the locker room with a 41-35 lead at intermission.
Sam Houston fought back again to take their only lead of the game 50-49 on a Will Bond trey with 12:15 to play. Northwestern State bounced back in front and the closest the Kats came afterwards was 63-61 after a Nathaniel Mason layup with 7:35 remaining.
The Bearkat men now head to the Southland Conference tournament at the Ferrell Center in Katy where Sam Houston will be the number six seed and play their first round match Wednesday night.
Tickets for the Southland Conference tournament are available now on www.gobearkats.com .