HUNTSVILLE - The Sam Houston State Bearkats trailed for the majority of the second half, but pushed the Nicholls Colonels into overtime where they eventually came away with an 84-74 win at Johnson Coliseum.
Sam Houston (18-9, 13-1 SLC) led by as many as 10 points in the first half, fueled by a 9-0 run with 5:41 remaining. Nicholls (11-15, 4-9 SLC) responded with an 18-4 run to close out the half capped off by a buzzer-beater from Jeremiah Buford. The Colonels led for the majority of the second half before some late-game heroics from Marcus Harris forced an extra five minutes.
There the Kats outscored Nicholls 17-7 behind eight points from Kai Mitchell, keeping them on top of the Southland Conference by a full 2.0 games with just four games left to play.
The Colonels had an answer for every SHSU score through the second half. It took a 13-4 run in the final six minutes punctuated by a steal and layup from Harris in the final minute of regulation to bring the Bearkats all the way back after relinquishing their first-half lead.
SHSU rode the momentum from their comeback to end the second half and did not let up in overtime. They started the overtime period on a 9-1 run, providing plenty of cushion to make it to the finish line. Mitchell and Cameron Delaney combined for 16 of the team’s 17 points in the extra period.
In the extra period, Nicholls went 0-for-3 from the 3-point line and only shot two free throws after hitting 11 shots from beyond the arc in regulation. Sam Houston hit their only 3-pointer – a huge one from Delaney that made it a 73-68 with 2:28 to play - and went 10-for-13 from the free throw line.
Mitchell scored 19 points to lead the Bearkats in scoring for the game, with 15 coming in the second half and overtime. He also added 14 rebounds and four assists. Cameron Delaney, Chad Bowie, Josh Delaney and Harris each scored in double-digits.
Cameron Delaney added 11 boards to join Mitchell as the two Bearkats with double-doubles. Delaney went 2-for-3 from behind the arc and had three blocks.
Josh Delaney had seven assists to go with his 11 points. Bowie played strong defense off the bench and scored efficiently going 6-for-10 for the field and adding three steals.
Along with sending the game into overtime, Harris filled up the box score with five rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Nicholls were aggressive attacking the basket and shot 8-for-9 (89 percent) from the free throw line. Sam Houston State shot only one free throw.
- SHSU led by as many as 10 with 5:41 remaining in the half, but Nicholls responded to a 9-0 run by the Bearkats with an 18-4 run to end the half. The run was capped off by a buzzer-beating field goal Jeremiah Buford to finish the half.
- SHSU committed only three turnovers in the half.
- The Bearkats were efficient from behind the three-point line shooting 6-for-13 from three with Albert Almanza connecting on 2-for-3.
- Chad Bowie led the team with seven points off the bench on 3-for-5 shooting. Bowie added two steals and two boards.
- Cameron Delaney grabbed five rebounds in the first half to lead the team in that category.
- Gavin Peppers had 14 points and two assists for Nicholls.
- After shooting 43 percent from the 3-point line Nicholls shot only 33 percent in the second half from behind the arc.
- Cameron Delaney had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks in the second half and overtime.
- Sam Houston shot 46 percent from the field in the second half and connected on all three of their field goals in the overtime period.
- SHSU shot 13 free-throws in overtime going 10-for-13.
- Nicholls shot only 3-for-9 in the overtime period.
- Mitchell scored 15 points shot 7-for-9 from the free-throw line and pulled down 11 boards in the second half and overtime.
- Harris scored 10 points in the second half including the game-tying basket with 57 seconds remaining in the regular period.
- Overtime, the Bearkats outscored Nicholls 17-7 as they knocked down their free-throws and forced the Colonels to miss all three of their attempts from the 3-point line.
The Sam Houston State Bearkats will be back home for their matchup against Houston Baptist on Saturday. The men’s game will be a part of a double-header following the women’s game. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m.