Texas A&M University-Commerce held its own for the first 30 minutes against Division I opponent Sam Houston State, but the Bearkats wore down the Lions over the final 10 minutes to notch an 85-64 victory at Johnson Coliseum.
Breanna Harris once again paced the A&M-Commerce attack, finishing just shy of her 30th career double-double with 27 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Alize Pegue had a strong performance as well for A&M-Commerce, finishing with 10 points, including hitting both of her three-point attempts, and dishing out a pair of assists in 31 minutes of work.
Junior La'Tisha Hearne saw her first action of the season, finishing with nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds with three assists, but struggled from the free throw line hitting just one of her nine attempts. Sophomores Symone Brown and Zenobia Winbush each added five points for A&M-Commerce with senior Shanekqua Bibbs and sophomore Aubree Butts dishing out four assists.
A&M-Commerce was hoping for a fast start against Sam Houston State but experienced the opposite as the Bearkats notched the first eight points of the game. But the Lions would find their composure, using a 10-2 run to tie the game at 10-10 with 15:40 left in the first half.
It set the tone for what proved to be a game of runs, as Sam Houston State quickly responded with an 11-2 spurt of its own over the next two minutes, pulling ahead by nine at 21-12. Led by Harris and Hearn, A&M-Commerce would chip away at that deficit as well, pulling to within four at 24-20 with 9:34 left in the opening half.
However, A&M-Commerce hit another extended scoring drought, going seven minutes and 16 seconds without a point as Sam Houston State would use that time to race out to its biggest lead of the game at 34-20 with 2:42 to go in the first. The Lions scratched within eight at 35-27 in the final minute of the half, but a three from the Bearkats in the waning seconds gave Sam Houston State the 38-27 halftime advantage.
A&M-Commerce took the early momentum in the second half, trimming the deficit to eight at 40-32 off three points from Hearne. The Lions would remain within striking distance for the next few minutes, pulling to within 10 at 57-47 midway through the half. But the Bearkats wore down the Lions over the final 10 minutes, using a 28-7 run spanning just over five minutes and pulling away for the 85-64 victory.
For the game, A&M-Commerce shot just 37.7 percent from the floor, compared to 44.8 percent shooting for the Bearkats. The Lions were also out-rebounded 51-43, including 19-14 on the offensive glass, and shot just 53.6 percent from the free throw line.
The game against the Bearkats marked the second-straight season the Lions have faced Sam Houston State in its "Pack the House" contest where more than 3,500 local elementary school students got to spend the day at Johnson Coliseum to watch some basketball.
A&M-Commerce will now have a little bit of a break for the Thanksgiving holiday before returning to the court for its second-straight game against a Division I opponent. The Lions head west to Abilene for a showdown with former LSC rival Abilene Christian University on Monday, Dec. 2, tipping at 5:30 p.m.