Bearkats Overpower Blue Raiders, Eye Conference Title

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Sam Houston secures a crucial victory over Middle Tennessee, setting the stage for a championship showdown

Press Release from

HUNTSVILLE — With a possible Conference USA championship in reach, it could have been easy for Sam Houston to overlook Middle Tennessee on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.

The Blue Raiders gave their best shot, the Bearkats were just ready for them.

Davon Barnes scored 23 points as Sam Houston (18-11, 11-3) put away Middle Tennessee in the second half to coast to a 81-64 victory. The win sets up a showdown with Louisiana Tech for at least a share of the league title when the two teams meet up in Ruston, Louisiana on Thursday.

The Blue Raiders made a move in the second half to get back in it with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 53-45. Middle Tennessee would only score five points over the next six minutes as Sam Houston seized control.

Anthony Wrzeszcz drove inside and scored on a layup as the lead went back to 10. Marcus Boykins then scored four straight and a layup by Souleymane Doumbia made it 64-50.

Jaden Ray capped an 8-2 run by the Kats for an 18-point advantage, and Doumbia put the icing on the cake when the big man drilled a 3 from the top of the key for a 75-58 lead.

Boykin finished with a career-high 17 points, and Wilkerson scored 10. Doumbia and Ray both chipped in seven for Sam Houston which has now won five games in a row.

For the second game in a row, the Kats ran into s scrappy opponent as the Blue Raiders took an early lead. Barnes, who had a fantastic first half with 19 points in the second half, knocked on a 3 to make it 12-9 four and a half minutes into the contest.

Barnes then got hot. He rattled off consecutive 3s to give the Bearkats a six-point advantage, but Middle Tennessee kept coming. Barnes kept answering.

The junior from Memphis, Tennessee drilled a 3 for a 13-point lead. He knocked down another, and Lamar Wilkerson followed as Sam Houston built a 37-21 lead.

An old fashion three-point play by Barnes and layups by Wilkerson and Marcus Boykin both drove the lane for layups to end the half with the Kats on top 48-36.