Sam Houston State hit nine of their first 11 3-point attempts, including a six-of-seven mark in the first half to down Oral Roberts 70-61 in the second round of the Southland Conference Tournament. The loss eliminated ORU (17-16) from the tournament.
Korey Billbury scored 20 points for ORU, Shawn Glover added 14 and ORU out-rebounded SHSU (22-9) 29-25 in the game, including seven each for Billbury and Brandon Conley.
Despite the rebounding edge, ORU shot 45 percent (24-53) from the field and hit just 28 percent (4-14) of its 3-point attempts. SHSU hit 53 percent (21-39) from the field and finished the game 69 percent (9-13) from 3-point range. The Bearkats also got 19 points from the free throw line on 24 attempts.
Kaheem Ransom led the way with 19 points, 10 of which came from the charity stripe, while Jabari Peters had 17 points and Terrance Motley added 10. Peters, Ransom and Paul Baxter each knocked down three 3-pointers.
"Anytime you lose in the tournament it is a tough loss, but give credit to Sam Houston State, when they make shots like that they are hard to beat," said coach Scott Sutton. "I didn't envision a team being able to come in and shoot like that in their first game."
Down 8-5 early on, ORU put together a 7-0 run to take a 12-8 run, using put-backs from Conley and Drew Wilson, along with a Glover 3-pointer to gain the advantage.
Down by five again later in the half, D.J. Jackson, Billbury and Glover combined again for a 6-0 run to put the Golden Eagles back in front 23-22.
A Bobby Word 3-point play tied the game at 26-26 with 2:12 to play in the first half, but the final seven points of the half, including a 3-pointer with time expiring, put the Bearkats up 33-26 at the break.
The first half had two ties and six lead changes.
After scoring their first six points of the second half from the free throw line, the Bearkats caught fire from behind the arc again to extend a lead after ORU had closed it to a 37-34 game on a thunderous dunk from Conley.
Down 16 with six minutes to go, ORU went back to work and cut it to an 11-point game after back-to-back baskets by Word with just over four minutes to play.
Conley free throws with 2:59 on the clock made it a single-digit game again at 61-52.
The Golden Eagles had a pair of opportunities to cut into the lead even further, but back-to-back turnovers allowed SHSU to get back in front by 11.
A 3-pointer by Glover made it an 8-point game again, and the Golden Eagles had it in single digits with less than a minute to go but SHSU hit five of their six free throw attempts in the final minute though, and held off the Golden Eagles.