Lamar edges Kats in overtime thriller

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BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals erased an 18-point deficit in the first half and snuck away with an 84-77 comeback win over Sam Houston State on Saturday afternoon at the Montagne Center.

The loss puts an end to the Bearkats’ (11-9, 5-2 SLC) five-game win streak and is the second consecutive season it has taken overtime for Lamar to get by the Kats in Beaumont.

Sam Houston led by as much as 18 in the opening half and still held a 12-point lead with under eight minutes to go before a 12-1 Lamar run put them right back in it. The Cardinals would not take their first lead of the game until a tip in by Colton Weisbrod with just 20 seconds remaining in the game.

The ensuing sequence included Josh Delaney nailing his third 3-point basket of the night with just 11 seconds to go, but Lamar’s Torey Noel would get a scoop layup to go in to tie it up just seven seconds later to send the game to overtime.

In the overtime period Sam Houston would hold an early lead, but it took another Delaney 3-pointer with 1:09 to go to tie it up at 1:09. However, Zjori Bosha would put Lamar back up three with a triple on the next possession, hitting his only shot of the night on six tries from the field. The Kats would answer with a layup from Galbreath, but Lamar would hit all six of its foul shots in the final 19 seconds to hold on.

John Dewey III led Sam Houston with 18 points and seven assists, hitting 10 of his 11 tries from the foul line. Abrian Edwards would add 14 points – 12 in the second half – as would Christopher Galbreath Jr. who also had 14 rebounds. Delaney finished with a dozen points, all coming on 3-point baskets.

In all the Kats would hit 54 percent from the field for the game, but were just 1-for-5 from 3-point range in overtime after hitting 7-for-10 in regulation.

Lamar would get most of its work from Nick Garth who poured in 25 of his game-high 29 points in the second half and overtime. Colton Weisbrod added 17 points and seven boards while Josh Nzeakor had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Nzeakor and Weisbrod combined for 10 of Lamar’s 16 offensive rebounds, helping Lamar to a 19-2 edge in second-chance points.

UP NEXT
The Kats will return home for a tough test against one of the top teams in the league, Southeastern Louisiana, on Wednesday night. The game is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. from Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum and will be aired on ESPN3.

HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF
Sam Houston raced out to an 8-0 in the first five minutes behind four points from Boutte, holding the Cardinals scoreless until a bucket from Weisbrod at the 15:00 mark. The Kats would hold Lamar to just 1-for-12 from the field to start the game and a 3-pointer from Dewey upped the lead to 17-2 before the Cardinals finally got on the scoreboard again at the 9:57 mark on a 3-pointer from Da’Shawn Robinson.

Josh Delaney and Jamal Williams would get in on the action as well with Williams’ layup at the 3:20 mark giving the Kats their largest lead of the half at 32-14. Sam Houston would hit 11 of its 24 shots in the half, and all eight of its free throws, but was held without a score after the Williams bucket and went into the break holding a 32-17 lead after keeping Lamar under 20 points in an opening period for just the second time this season.

HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE SECOND HALF
Lamar reversed its first-half start with a strong surge in the opening minutes of the second period. The Cardinals would hit four of their first seven shots from the field, getting the lead down to as little as seven when a score from Weisbrod capped a 10-2 run to start the half.

Threes from Abrian Edwards and Dewey helped calm the Bearkat offense and get the lead back to 40-29 just over five minutes into the half. In fact, Sam Houston would can each of its first four treys of the half, each coming immediately after the Cardinals trimmed the lead to single digits.

The last came from Harris with 14:31 to go to put the Kats up 43-31 and from there Edwards would get involved, scoring or assisting on each of the Bearkats’ next 16 points, keeping Sam Houston in front 59-47 with less than eight minutes to play.

But the lead would be widdled down to just a point and Weisbrod would put the Cardinals up with 20 seconds to go. Delaney’s triple would tie it up before Noel’s late surge sent it to overtime where the Cardinals would hold on.