HOUSTON, Texas - In a game that went down to the final seconds, No. 7 Lamar got a layup from Darren Hopkins with 0.7 seconds left to eliminate No. 2 seed Sam Houston State in day one of men's basketball action at the O'Reilly Southland Conference Basketball Tournament.
With the win, Lamar improves to 15-16, while Sam Houston State ends its season at 21-10. The Cardinals win their opening SLC tournament game for the third-consecutive season, while Sam Houston State is eliminated in game one for the first time since 2004
The Bearkcats built a seven point lead, 14-7 at the 15:21 mark in the first half, before Lamar used a 15-2 run to take a six point advantage, 22-16 at th with e 11:44 mark.
The Cardinals would push that lead out to 15, 40-25 with 7:02 remaining in the first half and took an nine-point lead at halftime, 52-43.
In the second half, Sam Houston Sate opened on a 17-6 run to take a two point lead, 60-58 with 15:31 to play.
But Lamar retook the lead, pusing it ba ck to seven, 75-68 with 9:48 remaining.
The Bearkats then tied the game at 75 and retook the lead, 78-75 with 7:03 to play, thanks to a 10-0 run.
The two schools exchanged leads in the closing minutes, before Lamar established a three-point lead, 95-92 with 56 seconds to play, thanks to two free throws from James Davis.
But on the ensuing trip down the court, Jejuan Plair nailed a three-point bucked with 54 seconds to play, again knotting the game at 95-95.
With 11 seconds to play, Lamar Sanders' put back layup gave the Cardinals a two-pint lead, but on the Bearkats' ensuing possession, C.J. Hadley hit a three-pointer with seven seconds to play, giving Sam Houston State a 98-97 lead.
But on the inbounds play, Darren Hopkins drove the length of the court and converted the layup with 0.7 seconds to play, for the game- and winning basket.
Currye Todd finished with a season-high 28 points for the Cardinals, as Lamar Sanders added 27 points and 13 rebounds for Lamar.
Ryan Bright added a career-high 31-points in the Bearkat loss.
Lamar will face the winner of No. 3 Northwestern State and No. 6 Stephen F. Austin at 6 p.m., on Friday.