ANCHORAGE, Ak. – A dominating first half performance gave the Sam Houston State Bearkats plenty of cushion in the second half as they took down Santa Clara, 73-59, in the third game of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Christopher Galbreath Jr. pumped in 17 points with nine rebounds and a career-high six assists to lead the way, pacing a Bearkat (3-3) attack that saw them put 11 players in the scoring column.
Sam Houston led by 19 points at the halftime break after holding Santa Clara (1-5) to just 26 percent shooting. The Kats finished with a 33-26 advantage on the glass and did not allow the Broncos their first offensive rebound until nearly seven minutes into the second half.
John Dewey III hit three of Sam Houston’s nine 3-pointers on the game and finished with 13 points and four assists, while Jamal Williams once again did a little bit of evertything with six points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and just one turnover in 30 minutes of work. That line included an emphatic dunk 11 minutes into the game that gave the Kats a nine-point lead.
In all, Sam Houston hit nearly 52 percent of its shots from the field and held the Broncos to less than 40 percent for the game and leading by as much as 20 points in the second half.
The Bearkats will now return to Texas, but will get right back to work with a busy week ahead of them. Sam Houston will host Schreiner on Tuesday before hosting St. Thomas on Thursday before opening up the following week with a road trip to Baylor.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
A balanced attack and a strong performance both defensively and on the boards had the Kats with a commanding 19-point lead at the break. Sam Houston owned a +12 margin on the glass and did not allow a single offensive rebound in the opening period, while getting 10 players in the scoring column.
The Kats hit 56 percent from the field and held Santa Clara to just 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) shooting in building the big lead. The Broncos had an early 4-2 lead but then the Kats went on a 9-0 run and scored 21 of the next 30 points to open it up. Defensively they held the Broncos scoreless for more than a five-minute stretch and got the lead to double figures on a quick 7-0 run in just 64 seconds that included layups from Albert Almanza and Josh Delaney, along with a triple from Cameron Delaney.
Santa Clara was again as close as 11 at 26-15, but Sam Houston closed the half on a 10-2 run that included buckets from Abrian Edwards on consecutive possessions to end the half.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
It was all KJ Feagin for the Broncos in the second half as the Santa Clara guard put in 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second period, including the Broncos’ first eight points of the half. But two layups from Williams and a three from Dewey negated that early run.
The Kats got a nice boost from junior guard Devin Jackson in the second half as he nailed a pair of threes around a three-point play from Galbreath that gave the Kats their largest lead of the game at 51-31 with 11 minutes to play.
A late run fueled by eight points from Santa Clara’s Joseph Vrankic got the Broncos as close as they would get in the second period at 69-59 with only 46 seconds left in the game before the Kats were able to close out the 14-point win.