Three Bearkat newcomers scored in double figures in a 77-60 loss to South Dakota State in the second of three games Sam Houston State will play this week in the Progressive CBE Classic.
Konner Tucker scored 14 points including two three-pointers and Darius Gatson and Michael Holyfield each produced 12 points as the Bearkats fell to 1-3 for the year. SHSU will face Niagara Wednesday on the third and final day of the tournament.
Griffan Callahan scored 21 points and Nate Wolters added 18 to lead South Dakota State as the Jackrabbits upped their season mark to 2-3.
The Bearkats equaled their best shooting night of the year, going 23-of-58 from the field for 40 percent. South Dakota State hit 43 percent with 22-of-51 shooting and held a narrow 35-34 advantage over the Kats on the boards.
Sam Houston jumped out to a 9-2 lead after Marcus James, Holyfield and Gatson edge hit jumpers and Tucker nailed a three-pointer in the first two and a half minutes.
The Jackrabbits responded with a 14-4 run in the next six minutes as SDSU took a 16-13 lead after a Wolters lay-up at the 11:11 mark.
South Dakota State built that margin into a 10-point lead on a Zach Horstman free throw with 1:08 before halftime to lead 33-23. Marquel McKinney’s three-point bomb with three seconds left sent cut the margin to 33-26 at intermission.
The Jackrabbits opened the second period with a 29-4 run in the first eight minutes for a 52-30 lead with 12:54 to play. Sam Houston bounced back, out-scoring SDSU 18-7 in the next five minutes as Aaron
Harwell cut the lead to 11, 59-48, with a jumper at the 7:49 mark.
But the Bearkats could come no closer as their opponents pulled away to stay and claimed victory.