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Men’s basketball looks to keep winning record alive with win over Central Arkansas

Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 23:01

The men’s basketball team improved to 3-1 in their Southland Conference stint after beating McNeese State University 72-57 in Lake Charles, La. last Saturday. Demarcus Gatlin, who had 15 points, helped lead the Bearkats to their second straight win after losing to Midwestern State last Monday.

The Kats have won seven of their last eight games after starting the season 3-4.

Although Sam Houston (10-6, 3-1 SLC) pulled away down the stretch of the game, the Bearkats held only a slim 28-27 lead at half time, and the game remained close most of the second half.

The Cowboys were able to tie the game at 39 with a little over 15 minutes remaining in the game, but three straight three-pointers made by Marquel McKinney, Will Bond and Nathaniel Mason gave the Bearkats the push they needed to outscore McNeese 44-30 in the second half.

“A win for us is never easy,” Kats head coach Jason Hooten said. “I’ve never been around a more fun group to coach. Those guys play hard every single day and give me everything they’ve got.”

The Bearkats dominated shooting percentages in the second half, sporting a 55.6 three point percentage and 48.1 percent from the field compared to McNeese’s 44.4 percent three point shooting and 29.6 percent from the field.

“[This team] continues to surprise me,” Hooten said. “When we make a few shots, we have a chance to be pretty good. That’s what we did today in the second half.”

Center Michael Holyfield led the Bearkats under the rim, pulling down 11 rebounds—five of which were on offense. The seven-footer also had four points and a blocked shot.

Guards Darius Gatson and Paul Baxter contributed on offense with 11 points each. Gatson was able to knock down three buckets from beyond the arch and make two of three free throws. The team was sent to the foul line 25 times in the game, making 19 of them.

Ledrick Eackles led the Cowboys with 18 points and six rebounds.

Defense was also controlled by the Bearkats, forcing 12 turnovers from the Cowboys and out-rebounding them. The Cowboys were also held to a measly 33 percent field goal shooting over all.

Hooten’s Bearkats will continue conference play Thursday against Central Arkansas (5-9, 0-4 SLC) at 8 p.m. in Johnson Colliseum. The Bears have yet to win a conference game and the Bearkats look to win their fourth in this conference showdown. For more information, including stats and team schedule, visit Gobearkats.com.

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