CORPUS CHRISTI – The Sam Houston State men snapped and three-game losing streak with a tough victory on the road, knocking off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 55-51 on Saturday afternoon.
Trailing by eight at the half, the Kats surged early in the final 20 minutes, mostly on the back of Demarcus Gatlin. The junior scored the first nine points of the half for the Kats.
Gatlin finished the game with 15 points, all in the second half, to lead the Bearkats (12-9, 5-4 Southland).
The Kats were able to draw even twice in the second half, but didn’t take the lead until Gatlin hit a free throw with 57 seconds left to play to finish off a 3-point play. Darius Gatson then hit four free throws in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we were able to come out and get the victory,” said SHSU head Jason Hooten. “Demarcus came out and really gave us a spark in the second half.”
After allowing the Islanders (2-17, 1-8) to shoot nearly 50 percent from the floor in the first half, the Bearkat defense limited the Islanders to just 29 percent over the final 20 minutes.
“ I thought we did a much better job on them defensively in the second half,” Hooten said. “It was big for us looking forward to get the win here.”
In addition to his 15 points, Gatlin pulled down 10 rebounds, and also added a block in the closing minutes of the game.
The Kats shot much better in the second half, converting on 11-of-24 shots. They were also very good from the free throw line, hitting 18-of-21 as a team.
They will return home on Thursday to take on McNeese State in a game that will be broadcast by ESPN3.
Thursday is "Whataburger" Night at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum for the men's and women's doubleheader. Also, at halftime of the McNeese-Sam Houston men's game Thursday, there will be a special recognition ceremony for the Bearkat Southland championship football team.