SFA Downs Demons On Senior Night
March 3, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks learned of their fate entering next week's Southland Conference Tournament even before tipping off on Saturday, then proceeded to knock off Northwestern State, 62-52, behind 18 points from Antonio Bostic in the regular-season finale at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
SFA (19-11, 12-4 SLC) will enter next week's tournament riding a five-game win streak after its win over the Demons (16-15, 8-8 SLC), and will do so as the No. 2 overall seed in the event and will meet up with No. 7 Sam Houston State for the third time this season in the first round. No team will enter the tournament with a longer current string of wins to its credit after league-leading UT-Arlington fell for the first time in league play to UTSA as well.
The `Jacks were locked into the No. 2 seed before the game started by virtue of Lamar's win over McNeese State earlier in the afternoon, but still managed to hold Northwestern State to just 39.1 percent shooting on the night behind a quartet of players in double figures. Bostic's 18 led the way, 13 of which came in the second half, but SFA also got 14 from Desmond Haymon and a dozen apiece from big men Jereal Scott and Taylor Smith.
Scott, who was playing his final game before his home crowd on Senior Night, added five rebounds to his total and crossed the 1,200-point threshold for his career, while Smith picked up his second double-double in his last three games by also pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds.
SFA outrebounded the Demons 44-31 on the night, but more impressively held the league's leading rebounder - William Mosley - to just five boards on the night. Mosley still did his damage, however, finishing with 17 points to finish as the only Demon in double figures.
The `Jacks managed to pull out the win despite hitting just 1-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and shooting just 17-for-38 from the foul line. Still, SFA shot 21 more foul shots on the evening than did Northwestern State and outscored the Demons 28-16 in the paint.
Smith led SFA to a 25-22 lead at the break, pumping in 10 of his 12 points and pulling down nine of his 12 rebounds in the opening period. The `Jacks closed the half on a 7-2 run in the final four minutes and led despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half.
In the second half the Lumberjacks never trailed, going to the line 14 more times than the Demons and leading by as much as 14 points with less than 90 seconds to play.
SFA will open up the go for its 20th win of the year and its third win of the season verus Sam Houston State on Wednesday in the opener of the Southland Conference Tournament. It will be the third straight time SFA has faced off against the `Kats in the tournament, falling to Sam Houston in the first round last season after falling in the tournament championship game the previous year.
The game is slated to tip at noon with the winner taking on the winner of No. 3 Lamar and No. 6 Northwestern State.