NACOGDOCHES, Texas (AP) -- Kaheem Ransom scored 17 points to lift Sam Houston State over McNeese State 86-81 on Thursday.
Ransom made just 2 of 8 from the floor, but hit 12 of 14 free throws to pace the Bearkats (10-5, 2-1 Southland).
McNeese State (4-11, 2-1) was led by Ledrick Eackles with 25 points. Shaun Johnson had 12 and Jamaya Burr added 10 points.
Sam Houston out-rebounded McNeese State 42-33. Michael Holyfield had 14 points, while Jabari Peters added 12, Dakarai Henderson had 11 and Paul Baxter chipped in with 10.
Sam Houston sprinted to a 17-point halftime lead at 48-31 and stretched it to as much as 22 in the second half. But McNeese chipped away until finally getting within one point at 82-81 with 3 seconds left on a Johnson 3-pointer. But Baxter hit a pair of free throws and a layup for Sam Houston to ice the win.