Three of the nine new faces on the 2011-12 Sam Houston men’s basketball team scored in double figures to lead the Bearkats to a 76-42 non-conference victory over Howard Payne in the season opener for SHSU Saturday night at Johnson Coliseum.
Steven Werner scored 20 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead both teams. Konner Tucker totaled 17 points and Demarcus Gatlin scored 11.
Point guard Darius Gatson assisted on six Bearkat baskets. Sam Houston shot 24-of-60 for 40 percent for the game.
Brandon Irwin led the Yellow Jackets with 13 points.
The score was tied twice with seven lead changes early in the game. A pair of free throws by Gatlin started a 12-0 run by the Bearkats to give Sam Houston a 20-10 lead and the Kats never trailed again.
Sam Houston led 30-16 at halftime. The Jackets cut the margin to eight points, 32-24, five minutes into the second half but the Bearkats ran away and hid after that.
The Bearkats’ eventually led by as many as 34 points.
Freshman Michael Holyfield grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. One of Sam Houston’s three returning lettermen Marcus James scored eight points.
Sam Houston travels to Notre Dame next Wednesday night in the Kats’ next outing.