The Sam Houston State Bearkats (18-11, 9-7 SLC) snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday night by defeating the McNeese Cowboys (7-20, 4-12 SLC) 79-74 at Johnson Coliseum on Senior Night.
MCN took advantage of SHSU’s losing slump early in the game, getting out an early 16-5 lead. Senior guard Dakarai Henderson and junior forward Chris Galbreath Jr. did a lot of the heavy lifting early for the Kats as the two combined to score the team’s first 12 points. With 7:20 left in the first half , the Cowboys held a 25-20 lead when Henderson drained his third three pointer of the half on the assist from sophomore guard John Dewey III. Although, MCN led for a majority of the half, the Kats were the ones going to the locker room on top after sophomore guard Albert Almanza nailed a corner three to put the Bearkats up 38-37.
In the second half, a jump hook by senior forward Torry Butler, followed by a three pointer from Dewey III, stretched SHSU’s lead to five with 15:44 left to play. With 12:38 remaining Cowboy guard Jarren Greenwood converted a bucket and drew a foul to cut the Bearkat lead to just three, 54-51.
Greenwood continued to make plays for MCN when he made a huge three pointer with 8:54 left to play to bring the Cowboys within one; but sophomore guard Josh Delaney and senior guard Jovante’ Spivey both matched the three to push the lead to 65-58 with 7:37 remaining. Free throws from senior guard Dakarai Henderson extended the lead to 73-68 with 1:54 remaining.
Shortly after, Henderson knocked down clutch three pointer to push SHS’s lead to six with 1:07 left in the game. However, Cowboy guard Jamaya Burr made a layup with 18.9 seconds left to bring MCN within four points, 78074. Delaney put the icing on the cake for the Kats with a last second free throw to seal the Bearkat win 79-74.
6’3” freshman guard Kalob Ledoux and 6’7” junior forward Stephen Ugochukwu led all scorers each, recording 17 points for the Cowboys. Henderson led the way for the Bearkats scoring 16 points.
Thursday also marked senior night in honor of the six seniors on the Bearkat basketball team. Henderson, guard Paul Baxter, Spivey, center Aurimas Majauskas, Butler, and forward Philip Jones Jr. were honored for their services for the program and to the university.
“We ate dinner at my house like we always do before every home game,” head coach Jason Hooten said. “Usually I’d talk about the seniors before their final game at the Coliseum, what they mean to me, to our program and this university, but last night I didn’t do it.”
“There’s a lot of basketball left and there’s something there that we still haven’t accomplished that we want and going to do,” Hooten added.
The Bearkats will now prepare for a huge matchup against the SLC’s No. 2 team the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks on March 4 in Nacogdoches.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.