HUNTSVILLE – Cameron Delaney hit a career-high six threes and Josh Delaney collected 12 assists to help lead the Sam Houston State Bearkats to a 69-59 victory over the Lamar Cardinals at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday.
Sam Houston (12-8, 7-0 SLC) followed up a performance in which they knocked down a season-high 14 3-pointers on Wednesday at Northwestern State by drilling 13 more shots from behind the arc, on an efficient 13-for-27 shooting night.
The win was the seventh win a row in conference play, and the first 7-0 start in league play since the 2009-10 season when they started 11-0 on their way to winning the conference title.
The Bearkats led Lamar (9-11, 2-5 SLC) for the majority of the game, with their largest lead being 14. The lead got as low as three at 48-45 midway through the second half, but the Bearkats answered with triples on their next three possessions and did not let it get any closer.
Along with hitting a career high in threes, Cameron Delaney scored a team-high 24 points, collected seven boards and blocked two shots.
Kai Mitchel added 12 points and added five rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while Albert Almanza went 4-for-6 from the field for 10 points.
The strong defense was right in line with the way the Kats have played defense against conference opponents as the team entered the night leading the league in opponent’s scoring, and clamped down on the Cardinals who entered the game averaging better than 79 points per game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Josh Delaney got his teammates involved early, assisting on each of the Bearkats’ first four field goals on his way to collecting seven assists in the first half.
Almanza hit the first of eight Bearkat triples in the first half, going 2-for-4 from long range and scoring eight points. Cameron Delaney followed with a pair of triples that would only be the start for him in the half. The senior guard shot 4-for-5 from behind the arc and led SHSU in scoring for the half with 14 points.
The Bearkats held the Cardinals to 26 percent shooting from the field, 23 percent from three and did not allow a single basket off of a turnover in the first half. Coach Jason Hooten’s squad led by as much as eight after Josh Delaney found Cameron Delaney on back-to-back possessions for threes that stretched the lead to 27-19 with 3:37 left in the half, helping the Kats to a 34-29 advantage at the break.
Josh Delaney would get his career high in assists on a lob to Mitchell with 4:55 remaining to give SHSU a double-digit lead.
The second half was more of a fight for the Bearkats and they had to execute late to prevent Lamar from coming back.
With just under six minutes remaining SHSU saw their double-digit lead cut to only seven, but the team responded with a 7-0 run. The run, however, would not keep the Cardinals down for long as they came back with a 7-0 run of their own.
After a pair of free throws for each side, Sam Houston State would connect on three free-throws to hold on for the victory.
The Kats will head back on the road on Wednesday to face off against Southeastern Louisiana. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. in Hammond, La.