A&M-Corpus Holds on to Top Spot
Jan. 31, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Chris Daniels scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders to a 70-62 win over Stephen F. Austin Wednesday night in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. Daniels and the Southland Conference West-leading Islanders improved to 16-4 overall and 7-0 in SLC play with the win. The Lumberjacks, who entered the game in second place, fell to 13-7 on the year and 6-2 in league action.
After leading for nearly the entire first half and most of the middle portion of the second period, SFA let a six-point second-half advantage get away and couldn't recover. The Lumberjacks went ahead, 45-39, on a shot-clock beating jumper by sophomore point guard Shelby Lewis with 13:39 left to play. But SFA failed to score a point for the next 7:52, and, by that time, A&M-Corpus Christi had taken a 55-48 advantage.
The Islanders led by as many as 11 points in the final six minutes. SFA cut the margin to five (64-59) on a 3-pointer by senior point guard Gerald Fonzie with 54 seconds left. But the Lumberjacks were forced into fouling A&M-Corpus Christi - a bleak proposition on a night when the Islanders shot nearly eight percentage points better than their season average at the stripe. A&M-Corpus hit 16 out of 21 free throw attempts, including a 9-of-10 showing in the game's final three minutes.
The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, shot well below their season average at the stripe, connecting on just 9-of-16 attempts. SFA shot 41.1 percent from the field, while the Islanders hit 59.5 percent overall and 57.1 percent from 3-point range. Led by the seven-footer Daniels, A&M-Corpus outscored SFA in the paint, 30-20.
Sophomore forward Josh Alexander led SFA with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Classmate Matt Kingsley finished with 14 points, and senior guard Keith Hardaway added seven. Junior forward Scott Weaver pulled down six rebounds to lead the Lumberjacks, who tied the Islanders in rebounding at 29.
After three tied scores early on, SFA took the lead at 8-6 with 14 minutes left in the first half. The Lumberjacks held their edge through the five-minute mark and pushed the advantage to as many as seven points. Led by seven points from Alexander and five from Hardaway, the Lumberjacks shot 44.4 percent in the opening frame. But the Islanders hit 58.3 percent from the field and went to the locker room with a 32-29 lead.
SFA cut into the Islander lead early in the second half, when Kingsley scored buckets on back-to-back possessions to make it a three-point game, then Fonzie ripped off a steal and fed the ball ahead to senior guard Chaz Dykes, who laid it in to cut the margin to one (36-35).
The Lumberjacks tied it on a free throw by Alexander, then went ahead when Alexander tipped home a missed 3-pointer by Fonzie. Minutes later, Lewis knocked down his jumper to put SFA up by six, but that's when the Lumberjack dry spell began, spelling doom for the home team.
SFA will return to action Saturday, when the Lumberjacks head to San Antonio, Texas, for a date with the Roadrunners. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start in UTSA's Convocation Center.
- SFA -