The No. 6 seeded Bearkats upset Oral Roberts, 58-55, to advance to the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament to play No. 2 Northwestern State. Guard Paul Baxter scored 13 points to lead the way for the Bearkats. The freshman hit back-to-back shots with just over three minutes left to play to put the Kats up six, 53-47.
ORU made a run in the final two minutes to get within two points of the Kats. Terrance Motley made back-to-back shots to extend the Bearkat lead back to six points, 57-51. Motley finished the game with 12 points on six-of-eight shooting. “That was a hard-fought contest,” said Bearkat coach Jason Hooten. “I felt that if our team hung in there and stayed close that we were due to win a game like that. As a coach you think about all the close games we’ve lost and you just have to have faith that you’ll get your turn and it was our turn tonight.”
The Bearkats trailed 36-29 at halftime but had cut it to a one-point game with 2:23 left before ORU ended the first period on a 6-0 run. Oral Roberts shot 60 percent from the field in the first half while the Bearkats hit 52 percent. In the second half the Kats held the Eagles to just 21% from the field. The Eagles hit just five field goals in the second period.
Will Bond scored nine points on a trio of three-pointers. James Thomas and Darius Gatson each scored eight points. Warren Niles scored 19 for Oral Roberts on 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. Korey Billbury scored 12 points and Damen Bell-Holter scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds.
With the win, Sam Houston stays alive in the Southland Conference Tournament and will play Northwestern State in the semifinals Friday at 7:30 p.m., with all the action on 101.7 KSAM.
Southland Conference Men’s Tournament Schedule/Results
Wednesday, March 13
Game 1: No. 8 McNeese St. 62, No. 5 Nicholls St. 59
Game 2: No. 6 Sam Houston St. 69, No. 7 Central Arkansas 63
Thursday, March 14
Game 3: No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana 85, No. 8 McNeese St. 65
Game 4: No. 6 Sam Houston State 58, No. 3 Oral Roberts 55
Friday, March 15
Game 5: No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana vs. No. 1 Stephen F. Austin, 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
Game 6: No. 6 Sam Houston State vs. No. 2 Northwestern St., 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3)
Saturday, March 16
Game 7: Championship Game, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
All times Central