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SHSU basketball falls in Piney Woods Battle, 67-60

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 01:02

Kaheem Ransom basketball

Alex Broussard | The Houstonian

Junior Kaheem Ransom stares down the Stephen F. Austin defense. Ransom finished with 11 points, but wasn’t able to get the win for the Bearkats. SHSU is now 11-2 when Ransom scores in double figures.

Stephen F. Austin State halted Sam Houston State’s journey to the top of the Southland Conference with a narrow, seven-point win Saturday.

SFA came into Johnson Coliseumwith momentum on their side, sporting a 20-game win streak and a perfect record in conference play as they ousted SHSU 67-60.

Junior post Jacob Parker was unstoppable as he recorded 20 points for the evening. Sophomore guard added insurance around the perimeter with a hefty 16 points, with seven coming from the charity stripe.

Coming into the game, SHSU head coach Jason Hooten said he knew that the Lumberjacks would be tough to tame.

“We knew they would be good,” he said. “We just have to continue to get better at things offensively.”

Most of the first half was competitive between both teams, with the Bearkats’ defense forcing key turnovers and drawing points out of them. With 11:47 on the clock, SFA’s Cameron Dallas lost possession of the ball, allowing senior forward Terrance Motleyto finish at the rack with a tone-setting dunk.

After Motley rocked the rim, the Jacks were clutching a one-point advantage before senior guard Deshaunt Walker dropped a 3-pointer to up the lead to four points.

However, sophomore guard Paul Baxterwould not accept that.

Baxter answered Walker with a three-pointer of his own, again cutting SFA’s advantage to one.

The Jacks began to pull away from the Bearkats after three crucial turnovers as they scored off of each one. With 1:28 left in the first half, SFA had given themselves a 14-point cushion and managed to hold a 10-point advantage, 37-27, at intermission.

The Bearkats opened up the second half with an open layup from senior forward James Thomas,but they struggled to connect on their shots in the second half, missing their next four looks at the basket.

The Bearkats regained some life after a quick layup from junior center Michael Holyfield, putting the score at 36-50. Just seconds later, redshirt freshman guard Dakarai Hendersonconnected on back-to-back 3-pointers, pulling the Bearkats within eight points of the Jacks.

From there, SHSU’s offense picked up somewhat, seeing production from Motley and freshman forward Aurimas Majauskas.

No strangers to late-game thrillers, SHSU pulled within five points of SFA with 18 ticks left on the game clock, but an untimely turnover and foul kept them from gathering any last second magic.

Allowing SFA to defeat them again was unacceptable to junior guard Kaheem Ransom.

“They outplayed us the first 35 minutes,” he said. “But we got the film, and we’ll watch it.”

The Bearkats return to the road for the next three games, facing Lamar first Saturday at 6 p.m.

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