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Too close for comfort, but Sam Houston stays perfect in SLC play with win at A&M Corpus Christi

Junior Zach Nutall chipped in 18 points, junior Tristan Ikpe had 12 and Monroe finished with nine.
Credit: KAGS-TV

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The American Bank Center has been a tough place to play at for the Sam Houston men's basketball team over the years, but the Bearkats found a way to escape there with a win Wednesday night.

Freshman Bryce Monroe hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds to seal a 75-70 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to push SHSU's winning streak to 10 straight games. The Kats also stayed unbeaten in Southland Conference action at 7-0 and improved to 13-5 on the season after starting 0-4.

Senior Demarkus Lampley continued his hot streak in conference play, leading Sam Houston with 21 points on four for nine shooting from 3-point range. Junior Zach Nutall chipped in 18 points, junior Tristan Ikpe had 12 and Monroe finished with nine.

The Bearkats led most of the evening, but the Islanders used a 10-0 run to take their only lead of the game at 58-56 with just under 10 minutes to play.

As it did every time A&M-Corpus Christi (3-10, 0-4) made a run, Sam Houston took back the momentum.

Nutall led an 8-0 run with three layups, and freshman Jarren Cook also scored as the Bearkats roared back to go up 64-58 four minutes later. Sam Houston never relinquished the lead after that.

SHSU never trailed in the first half, but the Islanders kept it close. A&M-Corpus Christi fought back to tie the game at 24 after Sam Houston jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead in the opening minutes.

SHSU responded with a 12-0 run. Monroe got it started with a step-back 3-pointer at the 5:14 mark of the opening period. Nutall followed with a jumper in the lane, and Lampley scored on a layup to make it 31-24.

Junior Manny Crump and Nutall hit back-to-back layups, with Nutall's basket turning into a three-point play thanks to a foul on the shot to make it 36-24. The Islanders got it back down to a six-point deficit, but junior Dylan Robertson scored on a put-back layup to send the Kats into the break up 38-30.

Sam Houston heads to Nacogdoches Sunday for a rivalry showdown with Stephen F. Austin at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.