Lumberjacks Roll Past Nicholls
Feb. 11, 2006
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Led by a career-high 26 points from freshman Josh Alexander, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team took a big step toward qualifying for the Southland Conference Tournament with Saturday's 83-69 win over Nicholls State in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. Alexander was one of three Lumberjacks hovering around the 20-point mark as SFA posted its best field goal percentage (.545) since shooting 62.9 percent against Paul Quinn College on Dec. 17.
The win improved SFA's conference record to 5-6 and helped break up a four-team tie for seventh place in the conference. The Lumberjacks (12-9) entered Saturday's game as one of the four teams tied for seventh, along with Nicholls State, Texas-Arlington and Texas-San Antonio. By the end of their win over the Colonels, the Lumberjacks had moved into a tie for sixth place with Southeastern Louisiana, which was idle Saturday. Texas-Arlington was also idle, but Nicholls and Texas-San Antonio fell to the rear of the pack with Saturday losses.
SFA opened the game hot, connecting on 58.6 percent from the floor to take a 42-25 lead to the locker room. Alexander led the way at the half with 12 points, after hitting 2-of-4 3-pointers. Senior point guard Marcus Clark joined him in double figures with 11 points.
The Lumberjacks struggled to hold their lead early in the second period, though. Nicholls State put together a quick 15-2 run behind a pair of 3-pointers by Gil Verner and six points from Kevin Goffney to trim the lead to six at the 14:08 mark. Clark stopped the bleeding with a free throw. After junior forward Todd Henry rebounded his miss on the second foul shot, Clark buried a 3-pointer to stretch the lead back out to 10 points.
The Colonels got back to within eight points on a layup by Stefan Blaszczynski, but Alexander made it a 10-point game with two free throws, and Nicholls State never broke into the single-digit radius again.
Alexander finished the game 10-of-15 from the field and 3-for-7 on 3-pointers. He also pulled down seven rebounds for the second straight game. Miller went 8-of-12 from the field and finished with 20 points, marking just the second game this season for two Lumberjacks to break the 20-point barrier. Miller also collected six rebounds. Clark scored 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Junior guard Keith Hardaway scored eight points and recorded five assists.
Chris Paige paced Nicholls State with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Four other Colonels broke double digits, including Blaszczynski, who scored 13 points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out six assists. The Colonels fell to 8-14 on the year and 4-7 in Southland Conference play with the loss.
SFA will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 15, when the Lumberjacks travel to Lake Charles, La. to take on McNeese State. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m. from Burton Coliseum.
- SFA -