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SHSU takes wins over TAMU-CC, HBU

Staff Reporter

Published: Monday, February 3, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 23:02

Kaheem Ransom

Alex Broussard | The Houstonian

Junior transfer Kaheem Ransom moves the ball into the paint, putting the ball up for a lay-up. Ransom finished the game with 13 points and 7 rebounds against Houston Baptist.

The brooms at Johnson Coliseum wiped the court Saturday as Sam Houston State’s men’s basketball team swept its weekend match-ups against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Houston Baptist University.

It was the Bearkats first series back at home after a four-game road trip.

SHSU squeaked out a 78-74 victory Thursday against Texas A&M – Corpus Christi after stopping a late surge by the Islanders.

SHSU started off the game slow getting in early foul trouble and committing mental mistakes that got them down early in the first half. Senior forward Terrance Motley made use of his time off the bench to provide a much-needed offensive spark for the Bearkats to stay in the game.

The Bearkats struggled to hold off the Islanders’ fast break attack to close the opening half down 31-27.

However, the game was a tale of two halves.

Head coach Jason Hooten said aggressiveness on the court would spark his squad over the Islanders’ lockdown floor defense.

“[I told them] to continue to be the aggressor,” Hooten said. “Be the hunter and not the hunted.”

SHSU’s strong defense forced TAMU-CC to commit early mistakes and turnovers, which led to an early push by the Bearkats to gain a 16-point lead. Senior forward James Thomas led the way in the second half churning the offense with 17 points in his 32 minutes on the floor.

Yet late in the game the Islanders got the ball rolling and cut the 16-point deficit to put them within reach of stealing the win, but the defense led by Paul Baxter and Michael Holyfield was able to make some huge stops late to ice the game.

“It was a big win,” Hooten said.

As Houston Baptist rolled into Huntsville Saturday, the story remained the same for the Bearkats.

HBU never held a lead as SHSU finished the game led by their five starters. The quintet combined for 64 of SHSU’s 81 points. Jabari Peters, Holyfield and Thomas finished with 14 points each.

Baxter led the defense to playing stingy the entire second half and not letting HBU get in range of tying the game as the Bearkats took the match, 81-63.

“We did come out a little sluggish,” Peters said. “We just needed a little push from coach as usual. He told us to get focused and we did, and we came back out and won it.”

The weekend sweep keeps SHSU second in the Southland Conference with an 8-2 record, still two games behind rival Stephen F. Austin.

SHSU will be idle Thursday before facing Lamar University Saturday at Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 3:45 p.m.

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