MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - For the second time this season, foul trouble doomed the Sam Houston State men’s basketball team on the road as Central Michigan came from behind to steal an 84-77 victory at McGuirk Arena Saturday.

The Chippewas (3-0) overcame a 37.9 percent shooting performance from the floor by going 33 of 46 (71.7 percent) from the free-throw line to top the Bearkats (1-2) in back-to-back seasons.

Sam Houston State had a solid game offensively, hitting 44.4 percent (28 of 63) of its shot attempts. The Kats also went 8 of 20 (40 percent) from 3-point range but were called for 34 fouls.

Sophomore guard Xavier Bryant led SHSU with 16 points, while sophomore guard Zach Nutall, senior forward Kai Mitchell and junior transfer Demarkus Lampley each chipped in 12.

The Bearkats got off to a hot start in the first half, hitting 16 of 35 shot attempts (45.7 percent), including 4 for 8 from 3. Back-to-back fast break layups by Nutall and Bryant gave Sam Houston State its biggest lead of the game at 27-15 with 8:17 to go.

The first half mirrored the second. The Chippewas were able to get to the free-throw line to cut the lead to 40-36 at the half.

The Kats held CMU to just 25.8 percent shooting (8 of 31), but the Chippewas hit 16 of 24 free throws.

Sam Houston State returns home Wednesday for the first time since the season opener to host LeTourneau at 6:30 p.m.