Sam Houston State (16-16) vs. Oral Roberts (18-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leonard E. Merrell Center (5,600) -- Katy, Texas.
Television: None. Home Record: SHSU 9-6, ORU 9-4. Away Record: SHSU 6-10, ORU
8-3. Neutral Record: SHSU 1-0, Southeastern Louisiana 1-2. Conference Record:
SHSU 8-10, ORU 13-5. Series Record: ORU leads, 3-1.
GAMES NOTES: The third-seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and the sixth-seed Sam
Houston State Bearkats will collide in the quarterfinals of the Southland
Conference Tournament at the Leonard E. Merrell Center on Thursday night.
The winner of this game will move into the semifinal against two-seed
In the first round Wednesday night Sam Houston State was able to hold on for a
69-63 win over Central Arkansas. The Bearkats had lost five of the last six
games of the regular season to drop below .500 on the season but the win over
the Bears has them back at an even 16-16. Sam Houston State is just three
years removed from its most recent tournament title.
Even though Oral Roberts stumbled with losses in three of its last four games
of the regular season the Golden Eagles still earned a bye through the first
round of the tourney. Oral Roberts' rough stretch at the end of the regular
season still left the team a solid 18-13 overall, but at 13-5 in-conference,
the Golden Eagles missed out on the regular season crown by three games.
These teams met for just the third and fourth time ever this season. Oral
Roberts grabbed victories in each meeting this year and has won three of the
four total matchups.
Led by 19 points from DeMarcus Gatlin and a double-double from James Thomas
(16 points, 11 rebounds) Sam Houston State was able to survive against Central
Arkansas. The Bearkats were impressive on defense against one of the better
scoring squads in the conference holding the Bears to just 37.9 percent
In the win the Bearkats shot an uncharacteristic 48.1 percent from the field.
Normally the Bearkats really struggle to find a rhythm on the offensive end as
they shoot just 38.4 percent for the season while netting just 64.3 points per
game. Where they have been strong is on the other end as they keep foes to
just 61.6 points per game on 41.2 percent. There is no one dominant scorer
for the Bearkats who prefer balance across its roster. Thomas (9.6 ppg, 5.8
rpg) serves as the leading scorer and rebounder while Darius Gatson (9.5 ppg)
and Gatlin (8.6 ppg) are among seven other players scoring at least six points
Oral Roberts has had five days to recover from a brutal, 86-84 overtime loss
to none other than Central Arkansas in the regular season finale. Tied 84-84,
the Golden Eagles missed their only field goal attempt in the last minute of
overtime but were not done in until Anthony Borden sank a layup as time
Individual scoring is something the Golden Eagles have plenty of. Warren Niles
(19.1 ppg) is the second leading scorer in the conference while Damen Bell-
Holter (15.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg) is also among the top five scorers in the
conference. Bell-Holter isn't just a scorer though as he leads the league in
rebounds while among the top five players in the conference in blocked shots
(1.3 pg). Shawn Glover (14.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.4 bpg) protects the rim well also
and is another strong scorer. As a team the Golden Eagles are scoring a
healthy 70.8 points per game, while ranking second in the conference in
field-goal percentage (.462).
Although there is more balance on the offensive end for the Bearkats, the
Golden Eagles are a more productive scoring team and thus have the edge in
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oral Roberts 72, Sam Houston State 64