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Ray’s buzzer beater leads Kats past ACU

Sam Houston State Basketball
Sam Houston State Basketball(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 9:01 PM CST
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ABILENE — Jaden Ray had his show-stealing moment at just the right time. 

The junior transfer laid a basket off the glass in the final seconds to lift the Bearkats to a 65-63 victory over Abilene Christian at the Teague Center on Saturday. The win earned Sam Houston (8-9, 3-1 WAC) a much-needed road split after a setback at Tarleton on Thursday. 

The Kats led for most of the game, but the Wildcats (11-4, 2-2) took a four-point lead with five minutes to go in the game. Sam Houston responded with a pair of free throws by Ray and a jumper by Savion Flagg to tie it 60.

Demarkus Lampley put the Kats in prime position to win the game when he buried a 3 with 26 seconds left, but ACU came right back down the court and matched it. 

Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten called a timeout with 16 seconds to go, and Donte Powers got the ball to Ray, who dribbled down the left baseline and put up the game-winning shot. 

Flagg led the Bearkats with 25 points and nine rebounds, and Ray finished with 12 points, six boards and six assists. Powers chipped in 11 points, and Lampley added nine. 

Sam Houston shot a blistering 50 percent from the field, 48 percent from 3 and outrebounded the Wildcats 34-25. 

The Bearkats came out firing from 3-point range to lead for the majority of the first half. Sam Houston shot 53 percent from behind the arc going 8 for 15. 

Flagg made five of those to go into the break with 19 points, including a thunderous one-handed dunk on an alley hoop from Ray to give the Kats a 31-24 lead with just over three and a half minutes to play. 

Sam Houston led by as many as 11 twice on a pair of 3s by Flagg, but the Wildcats were able to as close as four in the final minutes. Jarren Cook pushed the lead back to 36-29 with a 3 right before the end of the period.