Sam Houston State Bearkats
Southland Conference (25-7, 14-2)
Big Wins: 11/24 vs Oral Roberts (71-65), 11/25 vs Rider (80-68), 12/20 at Auburn (107-89)
Bad Losses: 12/5 Louisiana Lafayette (85-95), 2/20 at Texas San Antonio (90-91), 3/6 at Texas State (97-101)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2003, First Round loss to Florida
Coach: Bob Marlin (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Sam Houston State leads the nation in assists and is fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio. That is why the Bearkats have had so much success in the Southland Conference and beat teams like Auburn, Oral Roberts and Rider in out of conference play. Senior Ashton Mitchell is the catalyst of the offense and keeps the high powered offense moving. Not only is he averaging 12.7 points per game and shooting 41.9 percent from beyond the arc, but Mitchell is also a great defender and dishes out 5.1 assists per contest.
He has some help in the impressive assist-to-turnover ratio from Josten Crow and Drae Murray. Crow, the starting small forward, does just about everything. He is a superb shooter and rebounder and also dishes out 3.9 assists per game. Even Murray, the backup point guard, who only plays about 17 minutes per game, averages 3.6 assists per contest. With those three hanging onto the ball, Sam Houston State has the ability to play fast, but play under control.
Why They Can Disappoint:
But it seems like for every bucket SHSU scores, they will give up an easy one on the other end. The overall team defense is not strong, but the team still wins because they too can shoot well and they will create more turnovers than they give up. The deficiency of quality defense stems from the lack a shot blocker. This is a team that likes to run and the forwards need to be able to run with them. Gilberto Clavell is the star of the frontcourt and a superb interior scorer who can step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. Preston Brown is the team’s most gifted shot blocker, but he averages less than one per game. Yet, led by those two, the Bearkats are a good rebounding team. Antuan Bootle can add another big body to the floor, but a fractured bone in his foot has slowed his progress late in the year. Without Bootle at full strength, the pressure is on Clavell, Crow and Brown to keep the team effective on the glass.
Who To Watch:
The backcourt has plenty of passers, but it is Corey Allmond who is the pure scorer of the bunch. He hits about three long balls per game, but will also use his speed and experience to find a lane and attack the basket. Allmond is mostly a shooter, but this team has other shooters too. Along with Mitchell and Crow, sophomore Drae Murray adds even another long range threat to the Bearkats. And if the outside shot is falling for all those guys, Sam Houston State is tough to beat.
Ashton Mitchell, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.8 spg
Corey Allmond, Senior, Guard, 15.9 ppg, 2.2 apg
Josten Crow, Junior, Forward, 8.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.9 apg
Preston Brown, Senior, Forward, 9.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Gilberto Clavell, Junior, Forward, 16.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg
Antuan Bootle, Sophomore, Center, 4.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Drae Murray, Sophomore, Guard, 4.3 ppg, 3.6 apg
Lance Pevehouse, Junior, Guard, 6.0 ppg, 1.0 apg, 4.1 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.8 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.9 (208, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (40, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (170, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.0 (8, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.0 (33, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.5 (117, 3)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (34, 3)
Assists Per Game: 20.9 (1, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (148, 4)
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