Kats top ‘Roos in season opener, 100-52

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Intense defense and bench performance played a huge role in Sam Houston State men’s basketball 100 – 52 blowout win over Austin College in the season opener on Friday at Johnson Coliseum.

The Bearkats tallied 11 steals, 10 blocks, and snagged 54 rebounds while also putting a body on the opposition, forcing the Kangaroos to shoot 29.5 percent from the field.

Senior center Michael Holyfield proved he was the defensive anchor for the Bearkats, leading the way with five blocks and eight rebounds. SHSU also forced Austin College to commit 22 turnovers.

On the offensive end, SHSU shot lights out and played a non-selfish game.

The Kats shot 52.9 percent from the field and dished out a total of 26 assists. Sophomore guard Dakarai Henderson led SHSU in scoring with 16 points despite coming off the bench while senior guard Kaheem Ransom played the role as assist leader with 10.

“We are a family,” Henderson said. “We play as a family, we share the ball a lot and the more that we do that, the more wins we are going to get.”

The Bearkats never trailed in the game against Austin College and the bench played a huge factor in making that happen. The depth of the Bearkat bench showed to be a promising factor in games to come as SHSU scored a total of 59 points from players coming off the bench.

“We showcased our depth today,” Henderson said. “We have a bench that can come in, get stops, get rebounds, score points and win games.”

Head coach Jason Hooten also said how he was proud of the way the bench players stepped up and performed.

“I think our bench will be that way all year long,” Hooten said. “It feels good to know that I can go down there, grab a guy and put him in without losing anything.”

The SHSU men’s basketball team had a couple of highlight film worthy plays during Friday’s win. Henderson had a SportsCenter top ten like dunk late in the first half, posturizing an Austin College defender, while Holyfield had some monster blocks.

The Bearkats look to bring the same level of intensity as they travel to Las Vegas to take on Nevada – Las Vegas on Sunday.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Hooten said. “We are playing a team that is athletic and well coached, and it will be a great experience.”