ANCHORAGE, AK. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats had things tied up with less than 10 minutes to play, but the College of Charleston went on a late run and came away with a 59-49 win in the consolation semifinals of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday night at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Sam Houston (2-3) held the Cougars (3-2) to just 35.2 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent in the opening half, but were marred by a pair of scoring droughts to end each half. The Kats turned the ball over 16 times in the game, but just twice in the game’s final 16 minutes, hitting seven threes in the second half to nearly pull out the win.
The Bearkats will have Friday off before closing out the Shootout on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. CT against the loser of the second consolation semifinal on Thursday against Santa Clara.
Christopher Galbreath Jr. paced the Bearkats with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Josh Delaney and John Dewey III each had eight points. Dewey added seven assists one night after tying his career high in that category and Jamal Williams had a solid night with six points, six rebounds and three assists. Freshman Bubba Furlong added four rebounds and four blocked shots, the most blocked shots by a Bearkat in a game since Michael Holyfield in the 2014-15 season.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Like Wednesday night, Sam Houston had to weather another early opponent’s barrage from distance as Charleston’s first four field goals came from beyond the arc. But two field goals from Galbreath and a three from Furlong kept the Kats within striking distance, down 14-9 nearly seven minutes in.
Williams then got Sam Houston going with four straight points and a jumper from Galbreath gave the Kats their first lead of the night at 15-14. Josh Delaney’s first three of the night capped a 9-2 run and had the Kats up 18-16, but that would be it for the half offensively as they had six turnovers and missed their final seven shots to end the first period in going scoreless for the final 7:49.
Meanwhile, Charleston took advantage, closing out the half on a 9-0 run to take a 25-18 lead into the break after a bucket from Nick Harris as time expired. That all despite the Kat defense holding them to less than 30 percent from the floor and Sam owning a commanding 24-13 margin on the glass.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
It took the Kats nearly three minutes for their first bucket, but got it going when Harris drained a three from the left corner. Sam Houston would score 10 of the game’s next 14 points, aided by consecutive layups from Harris, and got it to 34-33 on Dewey’s first three ball of the night less than seven minutes into the half.
Charleston would push its lead back out to five, but Sam Houston clamped down and held the Cougars without a field goal for more than three minutes and tied it up at 41-41 on a three from Albert Almanza with 9:01 to play.
But from there Charleston would go on a 16-5 run with Nick Harris scoring five points in that stretch and Evan Bailey putting in his second three of the night. Galbreath hit a straightaway triple with 5:55 to go that still had the Kats within two at 46-44, but two free throws from Dewey would be the only points Sam Houston would get in the next five minutes. Meanwhile, Charleston got points on three consecutive possessions to finish it off.