Sam Houston State Bearkats
Head Coach: Jason Hooten
Location: Huntsville, TX
Mascot: Sammy Bearkat
Last time out: Defeated LeTourneau 97-54
Shirt not to wear: Orange, Tiger
Opening Line: Nebraska by 11.5
- This is SHSU's first year in the WAC which they joined with former Southland Conference members Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, and Stephen F. Austin
- Nebraska is 3-1 all time vs. SHSU. The one loss was the last time they faced in 2001 in the Barry Collier era
Player to watch: Savion Flagg
Flagg was a highly recruited out of high school and ended up playing 4 years at Texas A&M. He brings a Shavon Shields type skillset as the 6'7" wing is a well rounded player who can even run the offense. Is a load on the offensive boards. He's an ok 3pt shooter.
Player to watch: Tristan Ikpe
Don't be fooled by the size of starting center Ikpe who clocks in at 6'6" 210#. Last season led the Bearkats in rebounds and blocks. He'll anchor an aggressive defense that will pick up Nebraska full court at points.
Probable SHSU Starters
3 Demarkus Lampley G 6-2 175 Sr. Central HS / Wallace State-Hanceville
24 Donte Powers G 6-2 170 Jr. Starkville HS / East Mississippi CC
11 Javion May G 6-2 190 Jr. Hope Academy / Colby CC
1 Savion Flagg G/F 6-7 225 Gr. Alvin HS / Texas A&M
12 Tristan Ikpe F 6-6 210 Jr. Deer Park HS / Blinn College
2 Jarren Cook G 6-4 205 Fr. Newman Smith HS
10 Damon Nicholas Jr. G 6-4 195 Fr. Duncanville HS
13 Jaden Ray G 5-10 165 Jr. Midwest City HS / Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa
54 Kuba Karwowski C 7-2 235 Gr. Wladyslawowo / Utah State
40 Kian Scroggins F 6-7 235 Fr. Raymore-Peculiar HS
0 Javon Grant G 5-11 155 Fr. Pittsburg HS
22 Kevin Martina F 6-7 215 Fr. Fribourg Olympic
33 Giovanni Emejuru F/C 6-10 270 Fr. Charnwood College
The Rest of the Roster
Javion May is a traditional PF as he doesn't shoot 3s. He's also 6'2" and I'm seriously concerned about our ability to keep him off the boards. Powers is the PG who can make shots but doesn't take a ton. Can be turnover prone but excels as a defender and leads the Bearkats' turnover oriented defense. Demarkus Lampley functions as the shooting guard and hits from outside at a 40% rate; he doesn't need much room to get his shot up. SHSU does have some height in 7'2" Utah State transfer Kuba Karwowski who should play some minutes but might slow their pace. Backup PG Jaden Ray clocks in as the shortest Bearkat. Scroggins is F/C depth. Cook provides some outside shooting. True freshman Damon Nicholas is a 3 star SG out of Texas which is a big deal for this type of team.
UNL Game Notes
* Lat Mayen is a game time decision with an ankle injury
** Kobe Webster is a game time decision with a back issue
Probable starters for Nebraska
1 Alonzo Verge G 6-3
2 Trey McGowens G 6-4
5 Bryce McGowens G 6-7
11 Lat Mayen F 6-9
13 Derrick Walker F 6-9
32 Wilhelm Breidenbach F 6-10
30 Keisei Tominaga G 6-2
23 Keon Edwards G 6-7
0 C.J. Wilcher G 6-5
35 Eduardo Andre F 6-11
10 Kobe Webster G 6-0
14 Trevor Lakes F 6-8
3 Quaran McPherson G 6-3
33 Oleg Kojenets F 7-0
4 Jackson Cronin G 6-1
12 Sam Hoiberg G 6-0
15 Chris McGraw G 6-0
21 Jace Piatkowski G 6-3
After that Colorado exhibition game you thought this Nebraska team looked like it was capable of beating lower tier D-1 teams at home but came out and laid an absolute egg vs Western Illinois, looking worse than the sum of their parts. Piss poor effort on the glass and hero ball put the Huskers in a position to be beat by a team that honestly did play that well either. You have to hope that the silver lining to self-sabotaging post season chances on game 1 is that it pulls the team together. If Tuesday's body language is any indication, it didn't.
Here comes a Sam Houston St program that has been winning for the last twenty years with coach Jason Hooten building off of what Bob Marlin started. The Bearkats play fast on both ends so we'll see how the Nebraska ballhandlers handle pressure. The defense they run out should just naturally lead to passes to teammates so for at least a game our sharing issues will seem resolved. Rebounding is a whole other ball of wax as SHSU is generally good at it and our gametape has to have them salivating in anticipation of 2nd chance points.
Nebraska having Lat Mayen and Kobe Webster available would go a long way towards having veteran players available to make Hoiberg's system go as well as to provide leadership. I expect this team to bounce back but who knows. Seems like a fast start would be helpful for that cause. One thing to keep track of is how do the guys interact during time outs and does it appear that guys are icing each other out while on the court. It sure stunk to miss some FTs that might have sealed the game but it was encouraging to see 74% out of the gate.
Hope we can literally rebound but really expect us to metaphorically rebound.
Prediction: Nebraska 89 - Western Illinois 73