Lumberjacks Win Big on Senior Night
March 1, 2006
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - A pair of seniors said a fond farewell to the home crowd, while a rookie gave Lumberjack fans ample reason to look forward to the future in Stephen F. Austin's 73-57 win over Louisiana-Monroe, Wednesday night in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. Freshman guard Josh Alexander scored a career-high 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Lumberjacks and record his third double-double of the season. Meanwhile, Marcus Clark and Anthony Paez, the only two seniors on this year's team, said goodbye in the last home game of their careers by doing what they do best.
Paez, a forward who has averaged 10 points per game for his career, chased Alexander with a season-high 25 points. Clark, SFA's all-time leader in career assists, added 10 more dimes to his total. The trio combined to lead the Lumberjacks to an easy win that clinched a spot in the Southland Conference postseason tournament.
SFA moved to 15-11 overall and 8-7 in SLC play with the win. After Texas-Arlington's 80-76 loss to Sam Houston State Wednesday, the Lumberjacks can finish no worse than sixth in the SLC standings. Depending on the outcome of this weekend's games, SFA could land as high as fourth, which would mean a home game for the first round of the conference tournament.
In Wednesday's game, SFA trailed early before Alexander hit the second of his career-high seven 3-pointers to give the Lumberjacks a 14-12 edge with 13:46 remaining in the first half. Alexander went on to score 14 first-half points to help stake SFA to a 33-21 halftime lead. Paez scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening stanza.
The Lumberjacks stretched their advantage to 16 points on a 3-pointer by Alexander early in the second half. But Louisiana-Monroe went on a 22-7 run to cut SFA's lead to one (45-44) at the 12:16 mark. Paez made it a three-point game with a jumper in the lane off an assist by Clark, and he hit another jumper two possessions later to give SFA a 49-45 lead. That shot sparked a 14-6 run that put the Lumberjacks back in front by double figures, and the Indians didn't threaten again. Paez capped off the scoring with one final jump shot with 27 seconds remaining, before he and Clark left the floor to a standing ovation.
For the game, SFA shot 52.1 percent, while holding ULM to 37.3 percent. The Indians came into the game as the Southland Conference's No. 1 team, in terms of 3-point field goals made, but ULM could only connect on 7-of-27 from downtown for 25.9 percent. SFA out-rebounded the Indians, 35-30. Junior forward Antuane Miller joined Alexander and Paez in double figures with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
Tony Hooper scored 16 points to pace the Indians. James Perkins added 13 for ULM (10-18, 6-10).
The Lumberjacks will wrap up the regular season Saturday with a game at Sam Houston State. The contest against the Bearkats is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. from the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville.
- SFA -