Sam Houston now 8-0 in Southland, tops SE Louisiana, 62-52

HAMMOND, La. (AP) — R.J. Smith scored 15 points and Sam Houston State earned its eighth straight win to open Southland Conference play, stopping red-hot Southeast Louisiana, 62-52 on Wednesday night.

The Bearkats remain the only unbeaten team in the conference. The Lions had their four-game win streak snapped.

Sam Houston was just 7 of 26 from distance, but now have knocked down 34 3-pointers in its last three games. The Bearkats (13-8, 8-0) trailed at the break, 30-26, but their defense allowed just 22 points after intermission.

Brandon Gonzalez hit a 3 a minute into the second half to push the Lions’ advantage to 35-28, but they did not score another field goal until Marlain Veal scored at the basket with 5:28 left in the game.

Jeremiah Saunders had 12 points for SE Louisiana (8-13, 4-4), but was the lone player with double-figure scoring.