Sam Houston holds off Incarnate Word 84-78

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) Paul Baxter scored four of his 17 points in the final 1:34 as Sam Houston State held on for an 84-78 victory over Incarnate Word to open Southland Conference play on Saturday.

DeMarcus Gatlin had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Sam Houston State (9-4, 1-0). Jabari Peters added 13 points, Michael Holyfield had 12 with 11 rebounds and Kaheem Ransom chipped in 11 points.

The Bearkats, leading 57-55 with 12:48 remaining, sprinted to a 75-57 advantage with 7:52 left when Holyfield drove for a layup and then slammed home a dunk and Gatlin added two layups.

The Cardinals (8-3, 0-1) chipped away at the lead until Denzel Livingston – who finished with 21 points – had a tip-in and then a layup to close to 79-78 with 1:21 left. Baxter answered with a jumper, Gatlin followed with a layup, and Ransom and Baxter had free throws for the win.