Texans roll Bearkats in front of a ‘Purple Out’ crowd at Wisdom


STEPHENVILLE – The first time Tarleton and Sam Houston met, the Texans eked out a one-point win. There would be no late dramatics needed this time, as Tarleton rolled Sam Houston 83-63.

The 20-point win for Tarleton is their largest victory since beating Arlington Baptist by 81 on Dec. 4. This marks back-to-back wins for the Texans, their first stretch of victories since Dec. 13-18 (three straight), improving to 16-12 overall, 8-9 in the Western Athletic Conference. The sweep of Sam Houston dropped the Bearkats to 14-15 overall, 9-9 in WAC play.

Tarleton seemed to do everything right in front of a “Purple Out” season-best crowd at Wisdom Gym on Wednesday night. Not only did the Texans shoot well, making 28-of-56 (.500) from the field, but they didn’t allow Sam Houston to get anything going offensively, forcing the Bearkats to 18-of-67 (.269) from the floor, the third worst shooting performance by a Tarleton opponent this season. Sam Houston didn’t make a three-pointer all game, going 0-for-4, and if it wasn’t for 39 trips to the free throw line, this would have been even uglier for the team from Huntsville.

Lucy Benson led the purple and white with a career-high 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, achieving her second career double-double in the process with 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists and a block. Out of Benson’s now 144 career games played, a Tarleton record, she has scored new career-highs twice in the last four, going for her first double-doubles in each of them.

Iyana Dorsey made her return in a way only “Yaya” can. She rattled off 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting, plus 7-of-10 from the free throw line, adding three assists and two steals. It marked her highest scoring game since dropping 19 on Lamar on Jan. 27.

Dorsey’s 16 points were part of 44 Tarleton bench points, compared to just six by Sam Houston.

Malaya Kendrick put together 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Tyler Jackson tallied 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting and three rebounds. There were 11 Texans who contributed to the scoreboard, making it Tarleton’s third highest scoring game of the year.

A lot of the scoring came on the fast break, 25 points in fact, as Tarleton forced 20 turnovers. The Texans scored 28 points off of the turnovers and outscored Sam Houston in the paint 42-32.

When trailing 6-2 after the first two minutes, Tarleton allowed just two more points the rest of the first quarter, outscoring the Bearkats 20-2 over the next eight to lead 22-8 after one. The Texans showed no mercy in the second quarter, building a 23-point lead before settling for a 19-point advantage at halftime, 45-26.

Sam Houston tried to chip away to start the third quarter, using an early 7-0 run to trail by 14. The rhythm of the game hit a wall with 19 foul calls in the third quarter alone, leading to 28 free throw attempts combined. The Bearkats made up just three points in the third, trailing 65-49 entering the fourth. Tarleton’s lead was never smaller than 16 points in the fourth quarter. With the game in hand, the Texans were able to get the entire roster some playing time in the conference victory.

Sam Houston’s Courtney Cleveland finished with a game-high 28 points on 6-of-24 shooting, going 16-of-21 from the free throw line. LeAndra Echi totaled 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds. Madelyn Batista pulled down 12 rebounds to go with eight points.

Tarleton will now turn their attention to a rematch with Abilene Christian, who the Texans beat on the road almost three weeks ago, 73-67. It will be the Texans’ regular season finale on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

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