HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats led nearly the whole way, but a late run by Troy surged the Trojans past the Kats, 84-79, on Friday in the opener of the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Classic at Reed Green Coliseum.
Jenniffer Oramas pumped in a career-high 28 points as one of three Kats (2-3) to reach double figures, and Sam Houston led by as much as 17 in the first half, but could not close things out in the game’s final minutes. The Bearkats led 73-67 with just three minutes left to play, but Troy followed that up with 11 straight points and hi their final five shots from the field to close out the game and pull out the win, despite only holding the lead for less than five total minutes of gametime.
The Bearkats forced 24 turnovers and nailed seven 3-point baskets, but turned the ball over 20 times themselves and were out-rebounded 49-37, leading to a 19-9 Trojan advantage in second-chance points.
Along with Oramas, who hit 11 of 21 shots from the field and had six assists, Jaylonn Walker and Amber Leggett also reached double figures with 16 and 10 points each. Rachel Harrell finished with nine points on a trio of 3-point buckets in the game’s final quarter.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bearkats started off slow, hitting just one of their first 12 field goals of the game, but that cold spell did not last for long. Walker pumped in seven points and Oramas had six more, helping SHSU close out the quarter on a 19-3 run to take a commanding 21-8 lead after a quarter of play.
Walker would add another seven points in the second quarter, but the Trojans would make a run, cutting the Sam Houston lead to just four with 1:20 to play. However, the Bearkats managed to close out the half strong, getting a 3-pointer from Amber Leggett just before the horn that capped a 7-0 run to finish the quarter and give the Kats a 41-30 lead at the break.
The Kats would keep the Trojans at arm’s length for most of the third quarter, but Troy would eventually tie it up at 54-54 before consecutive quick baskets from both Walker and Oramas helped SHSU maintain a two-point lead as the game moved into the fourth quarter.
But Troy took the lead on a 3-point basket of the fourth quarter, their first since early in the game. The Kats immediate answered back on a layup from Oramas to retake the lead and after a 3-pointer from Harrell and a score from Oramas, Sam Houston held a 73-67 advantage with just 3:21 left in the game.
Unfortunately, that’s right when Troy got going. The Trojans reeled off 11 straight points in just over two minutes of work to go from a six-point deficit to eventually as much as a six-point lead.
The Kats will look to rebound on Saturday when they close out the weekend event against the host, Southern Mississippi. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in Hattiesburg.