Chris Mudge Ushers In New Era with a Win in Sam Houston’s Season Opener

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The Bearkats Start Strong as Mudge Makes Successful Head Coaching Debut Against Pacific

STOCKTON, Calif. — Two new eras began Monday night as Chris Mudge made his head coaching debut for Sam Houston, and the team played its first game as a member of Conference USA.
One thing remained the same — a Bearkat win.
Sam Houston used two key runs to hand Pacific a 64-57 loss at the Alex G. Spanos Center in the season opener. Lamar Wilkerson led four Sam Houston players in double digits in scoring with 15 points, and Davon Barnes, who provided a spark in the second half, finished with 13 while Jaden Ray and Souleymayne Doumbia each had 10.
The Kats opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take the lead for good as Wilkerson opened the period by driving the baseline for a layup to make it 27-25. Barnes then scored four unanswered with a pair of free throws and a laup.
Damon Nicholas Jr. came up with a steal and pushed it ahead to Ray, who pulled up for an uncontested three at the top right of the key to cap an 11-0 run going back to the final seconds of the first half to push the lead to 34-25.
Sam Houston never looked back.
The Tigers started the game strong with a four-point play to eventually build an 11-3 lead right out of the gate.
But the Bearkats had an answer.
Wilkerson knocked down a 3 to make it a two-point game, and Doumbia scored to tie it at 11 with 11:47 to go in the first half. Doumbia laid in another basket to give Sam Houston its first lead of the game thanks to a 10-0 run.
Wilkerson made it a 12-0 run when he made a spinning layup under the basket to push the lead to 15-11.
The first was sluggish for both teams with turnovers and a lengthy delay after a Tiger player attempted to play with a visible cut on his forearm and got blood all over the court. The game was halted for several minutes for cleanup.
Pacific looked like it was going to take the lead into the break, but Ray hit a floater in the lane to tie it at 25.
The Kats host former Western Athletic Conference foe Utah Valley on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the home opener at Johnson Coliseum.

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