Corpus Christi - Steven Werner scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Sam Houston State to an important Southland Conference men's road victory Saturday afternoon as the Bearkats defeated A&M-Corpus Christi 61-53 at the American Bank Center.

The win avenged a 50-49 loss to the Islanders in Huntsville January 21 and helped the Kats stay in the hunt for a Southland Conference post-season tournament berth in Katy in March. Sam Houston now stands 10-15 for the year and 4-7 in Southland Conference action.

The scoring performance was Werner's third time to score more than 20 points in a contest this year. The junior went 10-of-18 from the field.

Konner Tucker totaled 14 points including four three-pointers and Darius Gatson added 10 points and four assists.

A&M-Corpus Christi (4-20, 3-8) was led by Chris Hawkins-Mast with 17 points and Terence Jones with 16.

The contest was a see-saw battle with 10 ties and 13 lead changes. Sam Houston led 24-23 at halftime and was up by as many as nine points midway through the second half.

The Islanders charged back to take a one-point lead, 49-48, after a pair of free throws by Myron Dempsey.

A three-point basket by Gatson with 5:12 to play started an 11-3 run for the Kats as Gatson sank two free throws to give Sam Houston a 59-51 lead with 30 seconds to play.

Sam Houston out-rebounded the Islanders 37-34. The Kats hit 22-of-55 from the field for 40 per cent shooting.

The Bearkats return to Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville to play host to Central Arkansas Wednesday night at 7 p.m. then host Toledo in the Sears ESPN Bracketbuster game Saturday at 2 p.m.