The Sam Houston Math and Science (Texas) Tigers defeated the Columbus (Mississippi) Falcons 50-40 Friday in a consolation bracket game that was full of runs by both teams.
Both teams were played out of the main tournament on Thursday.
The Tigers jumped out early with a 9-0 run to begin the game, led by Marlon Jackson with nine first-quarter points. Columbus shot themselves in the foot going zero-for-six from behind the three-point line in addition to turning the ball over five times in the opening period, allowing Sam Houston to enjoy a 15-4 lead at the end of one. Sam Houston shot 50 percent in the first period while Columbus shot 15.4 percent.
The Falcons saw their shooting percentage increase to 44.4 percent in the second period. Fred Sparks helped the Falcons get a small boost with a long three mid-way through the period. Greg King, Tijah McCrary, and Rod Grays added two points each to help pull Columbus within 10 at the break.
Columbus took advantage of two runs to tie it up at 31 at the end of three, beginning with a 7-0 run until Sam Houston’s Chris Green hit a free throw with 5:45 remaining in the period. Sam Houston’s Torron Mingo added a three pointer with 4:47 remaining in the game followed by three more free throws from Green before the Falcons went on another 7-0 run in the final 2:09 of the period.
“We just had to settle down and get stops on defense and good possessions on offense,” said Sam Houston head coach Ralph Barreras. “Basketball is a game of runs, and when they went on a run we had to go on a run. We ended up getting it done down the stretch, and we made free throws. That is something we haven’t done all year.”
Sam Houston was able to take control of the game with another 9-0 run that lasted until the 5:31 mark of the fourth period when McCrary hit another three, the Tigers took advantage of free throws, hitting 12-of-15 in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers were led by Chris Green with 16 points and two rebounds. He went 12-of-17 from the free throw line. Tijah McCrary led Columbus with 15 points and four rebounds. Sam Houston shot 36.8 percent for the game, to include shooting 30 percent from behind the three-point line. The telling stat is that the Tigers shot 70.4 percent from the free throw line.
“That is what we expect from Chris,” Barraras added. “That is what I want him to understand is that we need that level of consistency from him in order for us to be a top-notch team. If he plays well, we are going to play well. If he has a hard time, we are going to have a hard time.”
Columbus shot 38.6 percent, but only shot 16.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 25 percent from the free throw line.
Sam Houston will face Pine Bluff Saturday at 4:30 P.M.