'Jacks Fall In SLC Championship To Sam Houston State, 69-66, In OT
March 14, 2003
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) - Donald Cole hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in overtime to give Sam Houston State a 69-66 win over Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference tournament final Friday.
Cole had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Bearkats (23-6), who were making their first appearance in the conference tournament championship game and advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time.
The game was very similar to the regular season meeting between the two teams in Huntsville, with SFA jumping out to an early lead only to see Sam Houston come back and erase that lead and build one of its own. The 'Jacks led 16-9 with 9:32 left in the first half but saw Sam Houston go on a 15-2 run to build a 24-18 lead of its own. SFA then fell behind by as many as nine points in the first half, but went in at halftime trailing 29-22.
The second half started much like the first half ended with the bearkats continuing to add to their lead. With 11:53 remaining in the contest, the 'Jacks found themselves trailing by fourteen, 51-37, then began a comeback that would end with a tie score at the end of regulation. SFA outscored Sam Houston 22-8 over the final 11:53 of the game to force the overtime period, but Cole's 3-pointer from the corner was too much for the 'Jacks as Sam Houston earned the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Taylor Moore led SFA with 19 points off the bench and earned All-Tournament honors for his efforts. Marcus Clark scored 11 points and B.J. Banks scored 10 points as well as added eight assists and eight rebounds.
SFA now awaits a possible berth in the NIT tournament. Selections will be announced late Sunday.