Bearkats sink A&M-Corpus Christi, move into tie for first place

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Josh Criswell, The Huntsville Item, Texas
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Mar. 4—As they close in on their second Southland Conference title in three years, the Sam Houston Bearkats aren't letting up.

Sam Houston (19-7, 13-2) steamrolled Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 84-61 on Wednesday night to move into a first-place tie with Nicholls with one game remaining.

The Colonels play their final game of the regular season Thursday at McNeese, with the Bearkats set to close things out Saturday at home against Stephen F. Austin. Having won both meetings between the two teams, however, Sam Houston can secure a Southland championship and No. 1 seed at the conference tournament with one more win.

"We have a lot of work to do, and we know that," Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten said. "We know we have to win a basketball game Saturday against a really good team, but our guys are just locked in. ... We have three games left, and we need to win three in a row."

Junior guard Zach Nutall led the Bearkats in scoring with 20 points in 26 minutes, followed by Demarkus Lampley with 17 points off five threes and a pair of free throws. With their team leading by more than 20 points for the entire second half, the Southland's highest-scoring duo was able to rest for the final 10-plus minutes of the contest.

Sam Houston also received a boost off the bench from the freshman trio of Bryce Monroe, Jarren Cook and Kian Scroggins. Monroe poured in 10 points, while Cook recorded seven points and three steals and Scroggins finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

"It's been fun to watch guys like them," Hooten added. "Those guys are freshmen, and just watching them mature and improve over the year has been fun."

Tipoff for Saturday's home game against Stephen F. Austin is scheduled for 5 p.m., with ESPN+ carrying the broadcast.