This past weekend in Las Cruces, N.M., senior guard Chris Jordan placed the Bearkats on his shoulders and pulled them just passed the New Mexico State Aggies.
Jordan’s 22 points, which included two game-winning free throws in overtime, proved to be the deciding factor as the Kats won the game 78-77.
At the end of the first half, the Bearkats found themselves down 37-27 and shooting only 33 percent from the field. At the start of the second quarter, it seemed as if it would be more of the same from the Kats.
The Aggies managed their largest lead of the game less than a minute into the second half.
After that, SHSU responded with a 12-0 run, with only five points standing between them and the Aggies.
NMSU managed to answer back and eventually found themselves up by 10, which seemed like it might be enough to put Bearkats away for good. But just as they have done so far this season, the Kats persevered and began clawing away at the lead.
With just over six minutes left in the game, SHSU grabbed the lead for the first time of the night. From there, the teams battled until the final second of regulation had ticked away. The game stood unsettled with the teams deadlocked at 64.
In overtime, both teams remained stubborn. Both refused to go away without the win, but Jordan’s two free throws with only a second left ended up the difference.
The lead changed hands more than five times in OT, while both teams played some of their best ball of the night despite fatigue and foul problems. The Aggies and the Bearkats both shot over 50 percent from the field in over time.
Jordan also added nine rebounds and four assists in the contest. Sophomore sensation Ryan Bright had 15 points and nine rebounds, six of which were on the offensive side.
The Kats out rebounded the Aggies 51-37. John Gardiner led Sam Houston State with 11 rebounds.
Guard Jejuan Player and Gardiner also had big nights, both scored in double-digits.
Tonight, the Kats will defend their 3-1 record against Texas College in Huntsville. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m at Johnson Coliseum.