CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Jabari Peters scored 16 points to lead Sam Houston as the Bearkats defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 75-49 in the opening round of the Corpus Christi Islander Classic Friday afternoon.
James Thomas and Kaheem Ransom also scored in double figures for the Kats with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ransom also pulled down seven rebounds and assisted on five baskets.
The victory upped Sam Houston to 5-2 for the year. Arkansas-Pine Bluff dropped to 2-5.
The two teams were tied four times during a close first half, the last time at 23-23 with 1:56 remaining in the period. A three-pointer by Paul Baxter started a 10-2 run for the Bearkats that put Sam Houston up 42-33 at intermission.
UAPB cut the margin to four points, 35-31, a minute-and-a-half into the second half, but could come no closer. Sam Houston outscored their opponents 42-24 in the final 20 minutes.
Success at the free throw line played a big part in the Bearkats’ 26-point margin of victory. With 52 fouls whistled in the contest, Sam Houston hit 24-of-37 at the charity striple (64.9 percent) while Arkansas-Pine Bluff sank only 17-of-25 free throws.
Sam Houston out-rebounded UAPB 33-28 and shot 51.2 percent from the field (21-of-41).
Ghiavonni Robinson lead Pine Bluff with 16 points.
Sam Houston advances to the finals of the Corpus Christi tournament at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.