HUNTSVILLE – Albert Almanza led the Bearkat long-rage clinic with a career-high 22 points as Sam Houston State shook off a sluggish start to race past Schreiner, 81-55, on Tuesday at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
Almanza canned a career-best six 3-point buckets on the night, including five in the second half, in helping the Kats (4-3) erase a three-point halftime deficit. That effort helped led a Bearkat offensive attack that saw them hit 15 three-pointers, their most since hitting 16 against Central Arkansas in February of 2016.
Sam Houston will get a quick turnaround before hosting St. Thomas (TX) on Thursday at Johnson Coliseum. The game will be aired on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
It was a tale of two halves for the Bearkats as they outscored Schreiner (2-4) 51-22 in the second half after shooting just 38.7 percent in the opening half. The bench came through in a big way for the Kats, outscoring Schreiner’s bench 49-14, weighted heavily by Almanza’s game-high 22.
Christopher Galbreath Jr. continued his hot streak with his sixth consecutive game scoring in double digits and paired his 13-point effort with 11 rebounds to give him his first double-double of the year and sixth of his Bearkat career. Josh Delaney also hit all four of his tries from distance for a season-high 12 points.
Keenan Gumbs led the Mountaineers with 16 points along with a 12-point effort by TJ Distefano.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
The first half was full of runs as the Mountaineers and Bearkats went back and forth in a 33-30 first half with the Mountaineers owning the three-point advantage at the break. The Bearkats started slow and ended up shooting 38.7 percent from the field compared to Schreiner’s 41.2 percent mark.
The Bearkats scored the first bucket of the game to lead 2-0 but failed to regain the lead the rest of the half after Schreiner answered with 11 straight points of their own. The Bearkats answered with a 13-4 run of their own to tie the game at 15 thanks in part to threes by Delaney and John Dewey III.
Turnovers were the Achilles heel for the Bearkats in the half as they committed eight in the first 20 minutes of action with Schreiner scoring 11 points off turnovers. The Mountaineers answered the Bearkat run with a 16-8 run to take a 31-23 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. The Bearkats then responded with a 7-4 run to close the half thanks to buckets by Galbreath and Williams and a 3-pointer by Delaney.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
The Bearkats captured their first lead since the opening minutes of the game thanks to a Bubba Furlong 3-pointer in the second minute of the half and the Bearkats never looked back, going on to sink 10 second-half threes outscoring the Mountaineers 51-22 in the second half.
Almanza turned it on in the half scoring 17 off of five threes leading the Bearkats to a terrific shooting effort capturing 45.9 mark from the field and hitting 10 of 19 tries from 3-point land in the half.
The Bearkats showed off their defensive prowess holding the Mountaineers to 19.2 percent from the field in the half, also forcing seven turnovers in the half and 12 on the game converting those to 18 points.