BEAUMONT — Senior Kai Mitchell hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to force overtime, and the Bearkats took over from there to steal an 80-75 victory from Lamar at the Montagne Center Wednesday night.
Sam Houston State (12-6 overall, 5-2 in Southland Conference) trailed by many as 11 in the second half, but the Bearkats went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 63-61 with three minutes left in the game. The Cardinals (9-9, 3-4) stayed in front until Mitchell drilled a trey from the top of key with four seconds left on the clock to knot it at 67.
Senior Dainan Swoope hit a 3-pointer to begin overtime, and Sam Houston State never looked back to bounce back from a tough road loss Jan. 11 at Central Arkansas.
Senior Chad Bowie led the Kats with 16 points, and Mitchell and Swoope each scored 14. Sophomore Zach Nutall added 12, and junior RJ Smith scored 10 points to give SHSU five players with double figures in scoring.
The Bearkats outshot the Cardinals, hitting 50 percent of their shots from the floor and 10 of 25 from long range. SHSU held Lamar to 38.5 percent shooting from the floor.
The game was close for most of the first half until some mishaps by SHSU helped the Cardinals open up a lead. A foul and two straight turnovers by the Bearkats led to 6-0 run to put Lamar up 20-14 with just under nine minutes to go in the half.
The Cardinals led by as many as seven at 25-18, but SHSU answered with a run of its own.
Bowie scored an old fashion three-point play with a layup and free throw, and Nutall hit a pull-up jumper to make it a two-point game. Nutall then tied it at 25 with an acrobatic layup at the 3:34 mark.
Lamar was able to go back up four, but a layup by sophomore Xavier Bryant and a 3 in the corner from junior Demarkus Lampley sent Sam Houston State into the break up 32-31.
The Kats conclude their three-game road trip Saturday at Houston Baptist. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.