The Bears 70-62 lost against the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Feb. 19 at the Farris Center put them 5-20 for the season and 1-11 in conference.
“We definitely tried to work the basketball inside,” coach Corliss Williamson said. “We got on to them before the game, telling them they are not a three-point shooting team.”
The game opened with the Bearkats getting the leading tipoff, scoring a two-point basket shortly afterward. Senior guard Mike Pouncy scored the first basket for the Bears two minutes into the first half.
The game came to a standstill as both defenses played hard stopping each other from scoring for a little over three minutes. At the end of that short period, the Bearkats scored a basket. From that point their lead on the Bears increased little by little.
The first half ended with the Bears trailing 31-23.
“Not a single free throw in the first half and that’s something we can’t have,” Williamson said. “We have to be able to attack the basket and get to the free throw line, and in the first half we did not do that.”
The Bears started off the second half with a two-point basket by senior forward Tadre Sheppard, who did not make a basket in the first half. Sheppard became the leading scorer for the Bears with six of seven two- point goals and four of four free throws.
“He was really inspired,” Williamson said. “We kind of got on to him at halftime about how he was playing and he took that challenge and came back in the second half and gave us the spark to get back into the game.” “I could see that we were down and I didn’t do too well in the first half,” Sheppard said. “Coach told me I need to come back and give the team a spark and get everybody going and that’s what I came to the top to do.”
The other main scorers were junior guard Dewan Clayborn with 13 points and Pouncy with 12.
Senior forward Jacquan McClinton stepped into the game with about five minutes left, scoring a two-point basket and a free throw immediately afterward. “If it’s one thing about Jacquan, whenever he’s on the court he’s going to give it his all and play with his heart,” Williamson said. “That was a very big basket for our team and especially a big basket for him.
I think that basket brought our guys together.”
The Bears pressed on from the lead the Bearkats had on them and tied the game up with two minutes left on the clock. The Bearkats quickly regained the lead with two free throw points.
After the score from the Bearkats, the Bears fouled constantly, allowing the Bearcats to score six more free throws, which led to the Bears’ defeat.
Williamson said: “We knocked down some free throws but the bad thing about it was we gave up too many free throws. We didn’t shoot one free throw in the first half. I figured we were more aggressive in the first half being able to get to the free throw line.”
“In the first half when we attacked the basket we were going in changing our shots. But in the second half we were trying to go in strong. As a result of that we made more but we also backed down more. When we attack the basket like that we have an opportunity,” Williamson said.