Bearkats Plunder Privateers on ESPN

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Bearkats Plunder Privateers on ESPN

Men’s basketball team still optimistic after losing home finale to Sam Houston State.

Men’s basketball team still optimistic after losing home finale to Sam Houston State.

Photo by Stefan Muro

Men’s basketball team still optimistic after losing home finale to Sam Houston State.

Photo by Stefan Muro

Photo by Stefan Muro

Men’s basketball team still optimistic after losing home finale to Sam Houston State.

Stefan Muro, Reporter

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Last Wednesday, the Lakefront Arena hosted a highly anticipated home finale for the Privateer men’s basketball team. With a three game winning streak, a strong 11-2 home record, and the loudest home crowd all season, the Privateers were primed and ready to take on the only better team in the Southland Conference: the (20-9) Sam Houston State Bearkats on ESPN3.

In the first half, the Privateers managed to hold a lead a few times and ride the momentum of the crowd, but the Bearkats’ redshirt senior guard Cameron Delaney was practically automatic at the three-point arch. He shot 4-5 from deep and racked up 16 points alone for the Bearkats in the first half. Even with a great defensive stretch that left Sam Houston State scoreless for almost seven minutes, the Privateers unfortunately couldn’t catch up with Sam Houston’s three-point shooting in the second half.

The atmosphere of the crowd gradually changed from animated to agitated throughout the course of the game, but even more so in the second half. Bearkat three pointers continued to fall (12-26), and a few questionably called fouls riled up the crowd and buried almost, if not all Privateer momentum. A solid team effort lead by junior guard Bryson Robinson’s 15 points cut Sam Houston State’s 17-point lead down nine, but unfortunately couldn’t get within striking distance. The final score was 71-60 for a Bearkat win.

This was the team’s first defeat since losing senior guard Ezekiel Charles to a torn Achilles injury. Since then, the team has played as a whole unit and doesn’t seem lean on a single player to lead on a nightly basis. After the game, coach Mark Slessinger said that “We’ve had multiple guys step into the leadership role. It’s been like that tonight, the last few games and the whole year. It’s never been just one person to step up as a leader.” When asked if he thought it was necessary to have a standout leader to succeed, he frankly said, “No.” “With our team and our depth, I don’t think it’s necessary because at any given moment of any given night, anyone can step up for us,” Robinson said.

In that late second half stretch, the Privateers never showed any quit in them and displayed that spirit they described. Freshman forward Gerelle Gates and senior center Scott Plaisance each scored 12 points, while Plaisance also added 5 blocks, 7 rebounds and 2 steals to his night. The team still managed to rack up an impressive 7 team steals and blocks. Bryson says that, “ What’s done is done. All we can do is think on it and we will not forget about it. We’re going to play hard, work hard every day in practice and win out. I want to see them again in the tournament.”

Coach also commented that, “We want to run into them again… We’ve got two games to play and we’re trying to get the 2nd seed in the tournament. They’ve been the best team in our league all year, and we hope to see them again in the championship.”

The Privateers finished their home schedule with an impressive 11-3 record and have two road games remaining until the Southland Conference tournament in Katy, Texas.

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