Kats put away Islanders 80-61

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The Bearkats were in control from start to finish to deal Texas A&M-Corpus Christi an 80-61 loss at Johnson Coliseum Wednesday evening.

Sam Houston State shot 43 percent from the field and held the Islanders to less than 40 percent to improve 8-2 in Southland Conference action and 15-6 overall. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi fell to 5-6 in league play and 9-13 on the season.

Seniors Chad Bowie, RJ Smith and Kai Mitchell led the Bearkats with 14 points. Sophomore Zach Nutall added 11 points, and sophomore Mark Tikhonenko chipped in seven.

The Bearkats put the game away in the second half, picking up where they left off at the break by extending their double-digit lead. Sam Houston State's biggest advantage came at the 13:49 mark when Mitchell scored on a layup to make it 61-39.

The Bearkats came out hot, building a 14-point lead at 25-11 on a layup by sophomore Dajuan Jones midway through the opening period. Nutall had nine points, Bowie six and Smith four during that time.

The game quickly changed directions from that point.

Sam Houston State went four and a half minutes without scoring which led to the Islanders going on a 15-4 run to pull within 29-26 with under three minutes to play in the half.

The Bearkats snapped out of the scoring drought just as quickly as it happened.

Tikhonenko hit a jumper and a 3-pointer sandwiched around a 3 by Smith from the top left of the key to help the Sam Houston State push the lead back to double figures. Junior Demarkus Lampley drilled a 3 at the buzzer to send the Kats into the half up 40-27.

Sam Houston State hosts rival Stephen F. Austin Saturday at 5:30 p.m.