Kats stay hot, drop Grand Canyon
HUNTSVILLE — The Bearkats are the hottest team in the Western Athletic Conference.
Sam Houston (12-9 overall, 7-1 in WAC) completed a three-game home sweep against three of the league’s top teams with a thrilling 58-56 victory over Grand Canyon (14-4, 4-2) on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum. It was the Kats fifth straight win.
The Bearkats beat New Mexico State 71-46 on Thursday and Stephen F. Austin 49-40 on Jan. 15. The Aggies, Antelopes and Lumberjacks were ranked No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the WAC preseason polls.
The Bearkats got rolling in the second half after a sluggish start. The Bearkats erased a six-point halftime deficit with a 14-2 run midway through the period.
Flagg got it started with a three-point play to cut the lead to 41-40. The Antelopes answered but May came right back and scored four straight on a layup and a pair of free throws. Flagg scored a couple of layups around a 3 by Powers to put Sam Houston up 51-43 with just under eight minutes left in the game.
Grand Canyon fought back to tie it at 54-54, but Ray knocked down a clutch 3-pointer with 1:26 to go for a 57-54 lead. Ikpe hit a crucial free throw down the stretch and solid defense kept the Antelopes from rallying.
The Bearkats struggled offensively in the first half after a quick start saw them grab a 14-9 lead when Powers knocked down a 3 with just under 12 minutes to go in the period.
Grand Canyon took over from there. The Antelopes used an 18-4 run thanks to four 3-pointers to go up 27-18 at the 4:29 mark.
Sam Houston responded with back-to-back 3s by May and Demarkus Lampley to pull within 28-26. Grand Canyon closed the half with a 4-0 run, however, to take a 32-26 lead into the break.
The Bearkats shot just 26 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range in the first half.
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