HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The Bearkats and Abilene Christian played two close games last season with Sam Houston State coming out on top in each one. Wednesday night was the same song and dance.
The Bearkats got two big plays from seniors Kai Mitchell and Dainan Swoope in overtime to lift Sam Houston State to an 82-76 victory at Johnson Coliseum. The Kats improved to 14-6 overall and 7-2 in Southland Conference action, while the Wildcats fell to 10-8 and 5-2.
Mitchell led the Sam Houston State with a game-high 27 points which also matched his career high against Rice in December. Sophomore Zach Nutall chipped in 15 points, and junior RJ Smith and sophomore Xavier Bryant each scored 11 to give the Bearkats four players in double digits in scoring.
Mitchell put SHSU up 74-71 with just under two and a half minutes to go in overtime with an old-fashion three-point play. Swoope followed with a 3-pointer 30 seconds later and the Kats kept ACU at bay the rest of the way.
Sam Houston State led the entire second half until ACU tied it at 67 on three free throws with 1:48 to go in the game. Both teams managed a free throw the rest of the way to send the game into overtime.
ACU led for the first 17 minutes of the game and by as many as 10 at 27-17 at the 7:23 mark thanks to its 3-point shooting. The Wildcats came into the contest shooting 29.3 percent from behind the arc but were 6 for 11 (55 percent) from long range in the opening period.
The Bearkats clamped down and closed the half on 22-8 run, taking their first lead at 29-28 on a Nutall free throw. Mitchell hit a 3 off an assist by sophomore Cyrus Johnson with 41 seconds left to send SHSU into the break up 39-35.
The Bearkats will be back in action Jan. 29 when they host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6:30 p.m.