shsAfter picking up their first D1 win yesterday, the Flames will resume action today against the Sam Houston State Bearkats. The Bearkats knocked off Arkansas-Pine Bluff to find themselves matched with the Flames today.

Introduction: The Bearkats enter today’s game at 5-2, but don’t really have any impressive victories with wins against Texas Pan-American, Hillsdale Baptist, Prairie View A&M, Jarvis Christian, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, while dropping games against Texas A&M, and SMU. They hail from the Southland Conference, and are projected to finish 3rd in the quite weak league.

Believe it or not, they mean to spell “Bearkats” this way, an upgrade from their previous nickname “The Normals”.

Offense: Sam comes into the contest shooting 49% while averaging 84.1 points per game, good for the 36th ranked scoring offense. These numbers are a bit skewed from their 116 and 98 point performances against Hillsdale Baptist and Jarvis Christian, and KenPom gives Sam an offensive effeciency rating that ranks 246th, but the Bearkats are a respectable offensive team. They are led by Jabari Peters who averages 13.4 points 4 assists and 5.4 rebounds.

Defense: Sam Houston State gives up 71.4 points per game, which ranks 169th in NCAA Division 1. Jabari Peters leads the team in steals while Michael Holyfield leads the Bearkats in rebounds and blocks.

Player Turnover: The only major loss the Bearkats face is Darius Gatson, a point guard who averaged 8.9 points. They also lost Aaron Harwell who notched 2.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, they were able to add two of their top players, Jabari Peters and Kaheem Ransom, since last season.

Possible Starters

Guard: Kaheem Ransom (#15) 6’1″ Junior- Ransom is a JUCO transfer who has had a huge impact in his first season with Sam Houston State. He averages 13.7 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.6 rebounds for the Bearkats. He is only shooting 37.5% from the field but has some range with a 3 ball that hits 36% of the time.

Guard: Paul Baxter (#21) 6’1″ Sophomore- After a very solid freshman campaign, Baxter is upping his game in his sophomore year. He averages 10 points and 2.4 assists and has been a sharp shooter thus far. He has shot 65% from the field and 57% from 3.

Wing: Jabari Peters (#1) 6’4″ Junior- Peters had to sit out last season after transfering in, but Sam Houston State is elated to have him available this season. He is shooting 44% from 3 thus far while averaging 5.4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 13.4 points. He has been a great all around presence on both ends of the court for the Bearkats.

Forward: James Thomas (#20) 6’5″ Senior- Thomas has the ability to get the ball to the bucket, and boasts a 55% field goal percentage. He is averaging 3.6 rebounds and 7 points per contest so far, a bit down from his numbers last season. He is a very under the radar threat.

Center: Michael Holyfield (#35) 6’11” Junior- Holyfield struggles on the offensive end of the court but is a huge defensive presence. He averages 2.4 blocks per game and leads the team with 5.6 rebounds.

Prediction: The Flames have come off two really solid performances and will look to keep the streak going. Despite a 5-2 record, Sam Houston State is yet to beat a decent team. The Flames will take down the Bearkats to end the Corpus Christi Challenge 75-68