Dakarai Henderson led the way with 14 points, as the Sam Houston State Bearkats throttled the Alabama State Hornets, 71-49, in first-round action of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Johnson Coliseum.
James Thomas added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Bearkats (24-10), while Aurimas Majauskas scored 11 points and pulled down another seven boards in just 17 minutes off the bench. Paul Baxter chipped in with 10 points and Jabari Peters dished out six assists for the Bearkats who now advance to the second round to face an opponent to be determined.
The Hornets (19-13) were paced by Brandon Graham with 13 points and eight rebounds, while DeMarcus Robinson added 11 points and Jamel Waters finished with six assists, but shot only 1-of-11 from the field.
SHSU shot only 35.7 percent from the field in the first half, but scored the final six points of the period to take a 28-20 lead into the break. It held the Hornets to just 24.1 shooting from the field in the period, including a mere 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.
SHSU was hot from the field after the break, knocking down 54.2 percent of its field goal tries and 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the half. ASU continued to struggle from the floor, hitting on only 27.6 percent of its field goal attempts, including 3-of-12 from 3-point distance. The Bearkats opened the second half on a 14-3 run to take control of the contest, pushing their lead to as many as 28 points, as they cruised to victory.
The Bearkats dominated the Hornets in the paint, outscoring the visitors 20-4. Sam Houston State also had the edge on the boards, outrebounding ASU, 47-33.