EDINBURG - The Bearkats’ road woes reared its ugly head in a 90-86 double-overtime loss to UTRGV in South Texas Tuesday evening.
Sam Houston State (4-4) lost a 10-point lead in the second half and a four-point advantage with 1:31 to go in the first overtime to fall to 1-3 on the road this season. The Kats shot only 34.7 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from behind the arc.
The Vaqueros (3-5) improved to 3-1 at UTRGV Fieldhouse this season with their lone loss coming to Southland Conference opponent Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 55-52 on Nov. 30.
Sophomore Zach Nutall led the Bearkats with 22 points, and senior Kai Mitchell posted a double-double with 18 points and a game- and career-high 19 rebounds. Junior Demarkus Lampley chipped in 13 points, senior Dainan Swoope had 12 and junior Terryonte Thomas scored 11 to give Sam Houston State a season-high five players in double figures.
Nutall hit one of two free throws to put the Kats up 82-78 with under two minutes left in the first overtime. UTRGV went on a 4-0 run to tie it and SHSU missed a layup and a half-court heave in the closing seconds.
Poor shooting in the second half doomed the Bearkats. SHSU shot 25 percent in the final 20 minutes of regulation and less than 35 percent in the two overtime periods.
The Bearkats led 43-34 with 17:35 to go in the second half, but UTRGV would eventually outscore Sam Houston State 41-31 to force the first overtime. SHSU led by two at 70-68 with 32 seconds left on a pair of free throws by sophomore Dajuan Jones only to see the Vaqueros send it to overtime on a layup off a missed shot with five seconds on the clock.
Lampley just missed a game-winning jumper at the buzzer.
The Bearkats also led by as many as 10 points twice in the first half, the latter coming when Thomas dropped in a floater in the lane with less than five seconds to go to make it 39-29. Lampley blocked a last-second attempt at a half-court shot as the clock expired.
Sam Houston State struggled early from the field and the free-throw line but started to pick things up late in the first period. The Kats ended the first 9 for 14 from the line (64.3 percent) after a 3 for 8 start and shot 43.3 percent from the floor.
Three-point shooting also helped the Kats hold off a first half rally by UTRGV, which cut SHSU’s first 10-point lead to 16-14 with just under eight minutes to go before halftime. Sam Houston State was 4 for 8 from 3-point range.
The Bearkats return home to host Louisiana Tech Sunday at 4:30 p.m.