CORPUS CHRISTI – The Sam Houston State Bearkats overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to escape with a narrow 70-69 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday night at the American Bank Center, staying unbeaten in conference play.
Sam Houston (17-8, 12-0 SLC) trailed Texas A&M-Corpus-Christi (10-14, SLC 5-6) by as many as 10 with less than 10 minutes to play in the second half before storming back and getting a free throw from Kai Mitchell with less than three seconds on the clock to edge the Islanders for the win.
The win runs the Kats to 12-0 in Southland play, setting a new high-water mark for the best start to conference play in the program’s history. Sam Houston currently leads second-place Abilene Christian by 3.0 games in the standings with just six games remaining in the regular season.
Cameron Delaney led all scorers with 19 points (17 in the second half) and went 5-for-7 from deep while collecting a game-high nine boards. Mitchell, Zach Nutall and Josh Delaney each scored 11 points apiece to round out the double-digit scorers for SHSU.
Mitchell grabbed six rebounds and shot 4-for-7 from the field, while Josh Delaney continued his stellar point guard play this season with eight assists and only one turnover.
Chad Bowie scored six points and only connected on one of his 3-point attempts, but it was arguably the biggest play of the game. With just 56 seconds remaining and the score tied at 66, Bowie caught a pass from Josh Delaney in the left corner and drilled the go-ahead basket to put the Kats up 69-66.
Jashawn Talton for the Islanders scored a basket and was fouled on the next possession. He would convert the three-point opportunity to tie the game at 69, but left enough time on the clock for the Kats to run one final play for the win. Josh Delaney was able to find Mitchell in the post and the Bearkat big man was fouled, sending him to the line where he sealed the victory.
The Islanders shot 52 percent from the field for the game and 53 percent from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Kats were just 4-from-14 from distance in the opening 20 minutes before catching fire in the second half, draining seven of their 13 tries from beyond the arc.
How It Happened
- The Bearkats started the game 0-for-8 before the team connected form behind the arc on three straight possessions with triples from Nutall, RJ Smith and Josh Delaney.
- Nutall came off the bench and dropped seven points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field, breaking the Bearkats drought from behind the arc.
- Josh Delaney had seven points to along with four assists and no turnovers.
- As is the norm for SHSU they kept their turnovers at a minimum with only four in the half.
- SHSU connected on just four of their 14 attempts from the 3-point line in the first half.
- Marcus Harris drilled a triple with 1:52 left in the half to give the Kats their final score of the half, making it 28-27.
- Cameron Delaney scored eight of the team’s first 11 points within the first five minutes of the half.
- With 9:27 the Bearkats fell behind by 10 (57-47) but went on a 14-4 run to tie the game up at 61.
- The Bearkats caught fire in the second half from behind the arc shooting 7-for-13 from three-point range.
- Both teams were hot form the field in the second half: Sam Houston shot 52 percent in the second half and the Islanders shot 55 percent.
- Cameron Delaney scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half
The Kats will now go on the road to try to inch closer to the program's third Southland Conference championship on Saturday at Lamar. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be aired on ESPN3.