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SHSU basketball to face SFA in Battle of Piney Woods

Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 00:02

Men's basketball

Alex Broussard | The Houstonian

Johnson Coliseum will get hot Saturday as the top two Southland Conference teams, Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State, take the floor for their second showdown of the season.

While both teams have established themselves as strong presences in the SLC, it is the Lumberjacks who lead the conference with a perfect 11-0 record. The Bearkats remain in close quarters as they only trail by two games (9-2).

The matchup will be tough as SFA has gained national attention, moving up to no. 3 in College Insider’s national mid-major poll. Riding a 19-game winning streak, not only does SFA have momentum on their side, but they also have a senior guard tandem providing energy for them.

Leading the Jacks up the polls are senior guards Desmond Haymonand Deshaunt Walker.

Both have played pivotal roles in SFA’s storied campaign. Haymon dropped 36 points in the Jacks’ contest with Cal State Northridge in late December, allowing for a thrilling come-from-behind win. He finished 12-of-17 from the floor with four of those shots coming from behind the three-point line.

Walker brought 22 points in his 22 minutes on the floor against North Texas in mid-December. Going 7-of-9 from the field, including five three-pointers, Walker helped the Jacks pull off their first road win against the Mean Green in 19 seasons, their last coming from the 1994-1995 campaign.

However, the Lumberjacks aren’t the only ones with weapons to wield.

The Bearkats strength has come from their offense this season with junior transfer guardsJabari Petersand Kaheem Ransomrunning the floor. Together they command an offense that totals nearly 81 points per game, which has landed them second in SLC scoring offense.

SHSU’s bench has also proven itself to be a force. In their last match against Lamar, eight players came off the bench allowing almost everyone to contribute to the victory.

Dakarai Henderson, Marquel McKinney, and Terrance Motleycombined for 35 points in the Bearkats’ 84-70 victory over the Cardinals.

But the Bearkats are taking the matches one game at a time, and head coach Jason Hooten doesn’t want to look too far ahead as his team faces Northwestern State Thursday.

“With such a big game to take care of tonight, I don’t want to talk about Saturday’s game,” Hooten said.

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