Sam Houston and McNeese played a tight game until the final stretch when the Bearkats pulled away for a 72-57 win.
Demarcus Gatlin led the Kats with 15 points and a solid seven-of-seven on free throws. Gatlin scored seven points down the stretch to finish off the Cowboys.
Darius Gatson and Paul Baxter each added 11 points. Gatson hit a trio of three-pointers including two early in the second half.
The Bearkats had a 28-27 lead at halftime and it remained close for most of the way. McNeese tied the game at 39 with 15:29 left in the game. The Kats then rattled off three consecutive three-pointers by McKinney, Bond and Mason.
“A win for us is never easy,” Coach Hooten said. “We just played hard. This team continues to surprise me and if we continue to make shots we could be pretty good.”
McNeese State got within a basket at the 7:35 mark before the Bearkats finally pulled away for good. The Kats got to the free-throw line and made ten-of-ten to extend the lead out to 15 points.
The last field goal by McNeese State was a three-pointer by Ledrick Eackles at the 9:53 mark. Eackles led McNeese with 18 points and six rebounds.
Michael Holyfield had 11 rebounds including five on the offensive side. The Bearkat team ended up with 20 offensive rebounds for the game.
The Kats are back in action at home next week with Central Arkansas Thursday night and Oral Roberts Saturday afternoon.