In its final non-conference tune-up before beginning the 2013 Southland Conference men's basketball race, Sam Houston State will play host to the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets Saturday at 4 p.m. at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The Bearkats have won three of their last four games including NCAA Division I victories on the road over Houston Baptist and Samford. Sam Houston stands 6-5 in non-conference action this year.
The 2012-13 Kats certainly are an example of a balanced line-up. While no player is scoring in double figures, the top four own point averages each within a point of one another.
Darius Gatson leads the squad with a 8.3 scoring men, followed by Terrance Motley 7.8, Demarcus Gatlin 7.5 and Marquel McKinney 7.4. The next three scorers are averaging between 5.8 and 6.3 points per game.
Eight different players have been game scoring leaders in Sam Houston's 11 contests this year.
"With only one senior, we're looking for more consistency each game," head coach Jason Hooten said. "Our number one goal is top play tough defense."
Defense is an area where the Kats have excelled, particularly on their home court at Johnson Coliseum. Sam Houston stands 4-1 at Johnson, allowing opponents just 51.6 points per game in the building and limiting foes to 37.2 per cent from the floor.
Howard Payne brings a 2-7 record into Saturday afternoon's game.
Sam Houston will open Southland Conference play Friday, Jan. 4, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 3:30 p.m. start at Johnson Coliseum.