KATY, Texas — Marlain Veal scored 21 of his career-high tying 29 points in the second half and finished with seven assists to help Southeastern Louisiana beat Sam Houston State 89-79 on Friday in the Southland Conference Tournament semifinals.
Veal became Southeastern’s career leader with 439 assists, moving past Leo McClure (433 from 1973-77).
Eddy Polanco added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists for the top-seeded Lions, who have won nine in a row overall and snapped a seven-game skid against the Bearkats.
The Lions (22-10) will play third-seeded Stephen F. Austin in the championship game on Saturday. Southeastern beat the Lumberjacks 73-62 on Dec. 28 to open conference play in the only other meeting between the teams this season.
Sam Houston State’s Marcus Harris was called for a technical foul for arguing a foul call will seven minutes left and then Bearkats coach Jason Wooten was assessed another technical for disputing the first technical. Veal hit all four technical free throws, then hit both ends of the 1-and-1 for the original foul on Harris to give the Lions the lead for good at 68-63. Cameron Delaney’s 3-pointer pulled the Bearkats within one with five minutes to go, but Southeastern scored 13 of the next 15 points to make it 83-71 with 47 seconds remaining.
John Dewey III led fourth-seeded SHSU (19-14) with 15 points, including four 3-pointers. It was the most points allowed this season by the Bearkats, who ranked first in the conference in scoring defense (67.4), field-goal percentage defense (42.8) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (30.7).
Southeastern shot 53 percent from the field, hitting 11 of 23 (47.8 percent) from 3-point range.