CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In a game that could have gone either way, Sam Houston made just a few more plays in the end to grab a 75-70 decision over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball program Wednesday at the American Bank Center.
The game was tied 64-64 with 4:08 left when Sam Houston (13-5, 7-0 SLC) hit a pair of free throws and a three-pointer to go up five with 2:10 remaining. A&M-Corpus Christi (3-10, 0-4 SLC), which overcame a 12-point deficit, battled until the end but just couldn't get back in front in the closing minutes.
Junior Simeon Fryer returned from injury to net a career-high 22 points off the bench. He was 7-of-13 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Also in double-figures was senior Myles Smith with a season-high 16 points. Junior De'Lazarus Keys neared a double-double with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Islanders shot .471 (8-17) from three-point range.
The Bearkats, who stayed unbeaten in SLC play, were led by Demarkus Lampley and Zach Nutall who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively. As a team, SHSU shot .923 (12-13) from the free throw line.
A&M-Corpus Christi came out of the gates slow and fell behind 10-2 early. They responded with a 9-2 run, capped by a three-pointer by senior Nolan Bertain to trail 12-11 at the 11:57 mark. The Islanders tied it 24-24 on a fast-break lay-up by Fryer with 5:37 to go.
Though, SHSU ended the first half strong. It went on a big 12-0 run to catapult ahead 36-24 with 2:34 left and carried a 38-30 advantage heading into the break.
A&M-Corpus Christi responded early in the second half and used an 8-2 spurt to trail 40-38 with 17:38 left after an old-fashion three-point play by sophomore Jalen White. A lay-up by Keys tied it 43-43 at the 16:13 mark.
After the Bearkats went back up 56-48, the Islanders punched back with a 10-0 run, which included a three by Fryer to take a 58-56 edge with 9:32 remaining. The game was even 64-64 when SHSU scored five straight points to go up 69-64 with 2:10 to go.
A&M-Corpus Christi pressed defensively to try and force turnovers in the end, but were forced to foul and the Bearkats capitalized at the free throw line.
The Islanders will play their second of a five-game home stand Saturday when they host Houston Baptist at 3:30 p.m. at the American Bank Center. A&M-Corpus Christi is 10-4 all-time against HBU.