SAINT LOUIS -- Shamir McDaniel hit a big 3-pointer and the Sam Houston State Bearkats held off a late Saint Louis charge to improve to 8-0 on the season with a 61-53 road victory.
After building a second-half lead of 17-points at 49-32, the Kats watched as the Billikens came storming back.
Tommie Liddell III, who led the Billikens with 17 points, made a driving
layup to ignite a 21-7 run that eventually saw the Sam Houston State lead whittled to three points.
Liddell III followed with a free throw and a driving, off-balance layup to
cut the SHSU advantage to 49-37 at the 5:12 mark. Following a 3-pointer by Shamir McDaniel, Luke Meyer and Liddell hit two free throws apiece on successive possessions to make it a 52-41 game with 3:23 left.
After Liddell III made a driving layup, Kevin Lisch converted a backcourt
turnover into a traditional 3-point play to pull the Bills to within 53-46
at the 2:59 mark. Liddell III made a pair from the line to make it 53-48,
and after DeLuis Ramirez, who led the Kats with 18 points, scored for Sam Houston State, Lisch nailed a triple from the right corner on a baseline out-of-bounds play to narrow the Bearkats' lead to 55-51 with 1:25 remaining.
The Billikens made it a one-possession affair, 56-53, when Liddell III
grabbed an offensive rebound and scored. But McDaniel, who was 4-of-5 frombeyond the arc, buried his most important trey of the night with just a couple of ticks left on the shot clock, and 20 seconds left on the game clock, to put Sam Houston State back in command.
McDaniel finished the night with 13 points and John Gardiner added 12
including a pair of big blocks in the first half to help the Kats build a
nine-point lead at the break.
The Bearkats will now take a week off for finals before hitting the road
again in Houston against Texas Southern.