Bearkats Pull Away from LU with Second-Half Run

Published 11:41 am Friday, January 20, 2017

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Sam Houston State used a 13-0 run to start the second half turning a one-point advantage into a double-digit victory over Lamar University Thursday evening at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The Bearkats defeated LU, 87-65, dropping the Cardinals to 11-8 on the season and 3-3 in Southland Conference action.

The Cardinals finished the night knocking down 24-of-57 (.421) attempts from the field, and went 7-of-19 (.368) from three-point range. After a slow start, the Bearkats finished the game on fire shooting 60 percent for the game after a 17-of-25 (.680) performance in the second half.

The Bearkats caused most of their damage in the paint, outscoring LU by eight points, but got hot from long distance in the second half. SHSU knocked down only one triple in the opening 20 minutes, but closed the game hitting seven of its final 10 three-pointers.

The Bearkats finished the night with four players in double digits led by Chris Galbreath’s 20 points all in the first half. Sophomore Josh Nzeakor was the lone Cardinal in double figures. He ended the night with a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds, but unfortunately he did all of his damage in the opening half.

“It was a tough start in the second half and we didn’t recover,” said associate head coach Bobby Kummer. “That is a senior-laden team that we played tonight. We’ve been working with our guys all week about playing with poise. We knew they were going to come out and try and hit us. We handled it in the first half, but didn’t handle the punch in the second half.”

Junior Zjori Bosha got the scoring started with a steal and layup on the other end of the floor. Big Red knocked down six of its first 12 shots to take an early seven-point lead, 18-11. The Cardinals took advantage of a slow Sam Houston start (1-for-6) to push their lead to nine points.

Nzeakor sparked the Cardinals first-half attack scoring seven points in the first 6:25 of action. He finished the half with a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds). Unfortunately, the Cardinals were unable to push their lead to double digits as the Bearkats responded by catching fire.

SHSU turned its attention to the low post where it scored 24 of its 41 first half points, led by Chris Galbreath’s 20 points. After starting slow, the Bearkats knocked down seven of its next 12, a stretch that coincided with the Red and White hitting just one of its next eight attempts. Sam rallied from the nine-point deficit to take their first lead, 33-32, with less than three minutes remaining.

The Bearkats kept the pressure on LU and took a five-point lead before LU closed with a spurt to go into the locker room down just one. Senior Lincoln Davis closed the half with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 41-40.

The Cardinals finished the opening half 13-of-31 (.419) from the field, including a 4-of-8 (.500) effort from beyond the arc. After a slow start, SHSU finished the half just a notch above 50 percent (16-of-30), but only 1-of-10 from beyond the arc.

The Bearkats opened the second with all of the momentum scoring the first 13 points of the half to build a 54-40 lead. Junior Torey Noel ended the drought with a layup at the 14:47 mark, but SHSU pushed its start to a 19-4 run before the Cardinals were able to cut into the lead.

The Red and White trimmed the lead to 12 with less than 12 to play but couldn’t get any closer as the ‘Kats responded with a 12-4 run to push their advantage to 20. SHSU added to the lead down the stretch walking away with 22-point victory.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Thibodaux, La., to take on Nicholls. The game against the Colonels is slated to tip off at 3:30 p.m. from Stopher Gym.