Kats crush Cowboys on the road

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LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana -- What a way to say hello to 2020.

Sam Houston State torched the net from 3-point range to open the new year with a bang with an impressive showing on the road in a 94-75 Southland Conference victory over McNeese Thursday at H&HP Complex. The Bearkats (10-4 overall, 3-0 in SLC) hit 15 of 28 3-pointers (53.6 percent) to push their winning streak to six games.

Sophomore Zach Nutall, junior Demarkus Lampley and sophomore Mark Tikhonenko all scored career highs with 25, 21 and 15 points, respectively. Junior RJ Smith chipped in 12 points to give SHSU four players in double-digit scoring.

Sam Houston State led McNeese (5-8, 0-2) from start to finish thanks to 57 percent shooting from the floor. The Bearkats' biggest advantage was at 81-55 midway through the second half when Tikhonenko hit one of his five 3-pointers to extend the lead to 26.

Lampley also hit five 3s and Nutall had two.

The Bearkats led by as many as 14 points with 3:35 left in the first half when Lampley came off the bench to hit a 3 then steal as pass for a fastbreak layup. Junior Terryonte Thomas also hit a 3 off the bench to put SHSU up 41-27.

Sam Houston State had the lead the entire first half thanks a 51.5 shooting percentage. Nutall had 16 points in the opening period and Tikhonenko scored 9 by making 3 of 3 attempts behind the arc.

The Bearkats return home to Johnson Coliseum Saturday to host Nicholls at 5:30 p.m.