Courtesy Brandon K. Scott / Bearkat Athletics / GoBearkats.com
In a game where Sam Houston’s leading scorers Konner Tucker and Marcus James went head-to-head with former teammate Nafis Richardson, it was the Bearkats who pulled away for a 66-54 victory over Paul Quinn.
This was the second win a row for Sam Houston after dropping five straight games.
Getting back on the winning track, albeit against a pair of Division II schools in Dallas Christian and Paul Quinn, was exactly what the Bearkats needed heading into a tough stretch next week, which includes a matchup against Texas A&M on Wednesday.
The Bearkats started the game on a 9-0 run, and while Paul Quinn battled back relentlessly, it was never tied.
The matchup was described by Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten as a “sloppy” one, but the Bearkats just wanted to add a third victory to the win column.
What led to the victory was the monster performance of James, who recorded 18 points and 17 rebounds. James said after the game that the part of his focus was not letting Richardson have a big night as an opponent at Johnson Coliseum.
Before the game, Richardson said he was as happy as he had ever been, coming off a 31-point performance against Texas Wesleyan the night before and looking to play even bigger against the Bearkats.
Still, Richardson played in foul trouble for much of the game and was limited to nine points, three steals and seven turnovers in the loss.
“One of my biggest things was to not let him go off and show us up in our gym,” James said after the game. “As a team we did a good job of focusing on him and not trying to keep him from doing what he does best.”
Hooten wasn’t particularly excited about his team’s performance but noted that he only suited up six scholarship players the last two weeks.
Tucker and point guard Darius Gatson each poured in 13 points and freshman center Michael Holyfield added 10 points.
Reginald Hill led the way for Paul Quinn with 22 points and shot 70 percent from field, including six 3-pointers.
After the game, Hooten was asked if the attitude was different with this year’s team as opposed to last year’s, which featured Richardson and four other players who transferred to other schools.
“Is the attitude different with these guys?” Hooten repeated. “Most definitely. No question. In our program, we’re going to have guys who get up and go to class.
“We’re going to have guys who go to study hall. We’re going to have guys who do the right thing, on and off the court. And we’re going to have guys who play hard and practice hard.”