HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The Sam Houston State men’s basketball team held off a furious rally from Northwestern State for a 67-64 win Thursday at Johnson Coliseum. The win is the Kats (18-6, 10-2 SLC) fifth straight and keeps them firmly in second place in the Southland standings.
“I know they’re a very good offensive team and that’s probably the best defensive game we played all year,” Bearkat head coach Jason Hooten said. “I’m happy with how hard we played tonight and how good we played defensively. We were great defensively tonight.
After SHSU held the Demons to a season-low 22 points in the first half, things got interesting late in the second period. The Bearkats had a double digit lead for most of the second half until Jalen West scored six unanswered points with less than three minutes left to play.
The Demons got within two points down the stretch but clutch free-throw shooting by Kaheem Ransom closed it out. Ransom went 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute and finished with nine points.
Terrance Motley had an outstanding night on both ends of the floor. He scored a career high 19 points and pulled down five rebounds while also blocking three Demon shots on the other end of the floor.
Motley led all scorers with 13 points in the first half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Kats a 34-22 advantage at the break.
“Terrance Motley has had an unbelievable senior year and he’s grown and matured leaps and bounds this year. The thing I’m most proud of is his defensive progress. He was flying around tonight, rebounding and blocking shots,” Hooten added.
James Thomas added 10 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double digit scoring performance in his last five games. It was his first double-double of the season.
Northwestern State shot just 29% from the field and went 0-for-7 from three-point range in the first period. Sam Houston outrebounded the Demons 31-20 and outscored them 14-8 in the paint.
Brison White led the Demons with 19 points while DeQuan Hicks added 16 and Jalen West scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Tonight’s win sets up a matchup of no. 1 vs. no. 2 in the Southland Saturday at Johnson Coliseum, as the Bearkats host league-leaders Stephen F. Austin. The game will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN3.