HUNTSVILLE – Josh Delaney carried over his strong performance from the Southland Conference Tournament by pouring in 19 points, including a key late 3-point bucket, to propel the Sam Houston State Bearkats past Eastern Michigan, 69-62, in its opener of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Monday night at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
The win clincheded the Bearkats (20-14) and Jason Hooten’s fourth 20-win season in the past five seasons while Eastern Michigan finished the season at 22-13. The Bearkats experienced a roller coaster of a game as they led by as much as 18 in the first half and saw Eastern Michigan tie it at 62 with one minute remaining.
Delaney led the Kats in the scoring column with 19 points as he drained five triples on the night, including the go-ahead triple that proved to be the nail in the coffin for Eastern Michigan. Jamal Williams added 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting while Boutte added 10 points. John Dewey III flirted with a triple-double for the Kats with eight points, seven rebounds and nine assists on the night.
Kevin McAdoo, Paul Jackson, and Kevin Nobles combined for 47 of Eastern Michigan’s 62 points with the three combining for 10 triples. McAdoo led the way with 23 points while Nobles and Jackson added 12 points each.
The Bearkats now advance to the quarterfinals of the CIT on Thursday when they head to San Antonio to take on UTSA. The Roadrunners advanced with a win last Wednesdsay over Lamar in its opening round. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. from the Convocation Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Sam Houston came out of the gates in a physical way as they raced to a 14-8 lead in the first 8:30 with all 14 Sam Houston points coming in the paint compared to Eastern Michigan’s two. Sam Houston would get their next six points from two Josh Delaney triples to capture a 20-8 lead midway through the first half.
The Kats continued their hot start to their opening CIT match as they extended their lead to as much as 18 after a Jamal Williams layup with five minutes remaining in the half. Eastern Michigan would manage to shave the Bearkat advantage down to 12 as they didn’t allow a Sam Houston point in the final four minutes.
Sam Houston dominated the paint in the first 20 minutes outscoring Eastern Michigan 26-6. Sam forced nine turnovers compared to committing five themselves as they converted the nine Eastern Michigan turnovers to 15 points. Sam Houston shot at an outstanding rate inside the arc in the first half capturing a 74 percent mark.
Williams led the eight Bearkats who scored in the first half with 10 points while Delaney added eight with two triples. Dewey had a productive first 20 minutes as well as he pulled down five boards while dishing out five assists to go along with two swipes. Eastern Michigan’s McAdoo poured in 14 of their 23 points to lead all scorers in the half.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
Eastern Michigan flipped the script at the beginning of the second half as they opened the final 20-minute period on a 10-4 run to bring the score to 39-33 in favor of Sam Houston with 15 minutes remaining. McAdoo would sink his fourth triple to bring the Eagles to within three with 14 minutes left, but the Bearkats would score nine unanswered points in 90 seconds to push their lead back to double digits.
However, Eastern Michigan didn’t go away as they pulled back within six with 8:30 remaining thanks to back-to-back triples from Paul Jackson and Jordan Nobles. The squads would draw even at 53 with seven minutes left after their sixth triple of the half to cap a 15-2 run over 2:33.
Sam Houston would score a quick four points to lead 57-53 with six minutes left, but Eastern Michigan would go on to sink their seventh shot from downtown in the second half to pull back to within one. Eastern Michigan would tie the game once again at 59 with 2:30 remaining, but Dewey would respond with a triple to put the Kats on top before Nobles would tie it again with his third shot from beyond the arc in the period with 1:45 left.
After a layup for Eastern Michigan rimmed out Delaney would can a triple that touched every part of the rim before it went in to give the Bearkats a three-point advantage with one minute remaining. Eastern Michigan couldn’t cash in at the stripe as they missed four freebies in the final minute while the Kats would sink four freebies to increase their lead to 69-62 as the buzzer sounded.
The Kats outscored the Eagles 34-12 in the paint while scoring 17 points off of Eastern Michigan’s 11 turnovers. The Kats outshot the Eagles at a 40.6 percent clip compared to Eastern Michigan’s 36.7 percent. Sam Houston’s bench came through in a big way as they outscored Eastern Michigan 25-17.