Nov. 24, 2007
DEKALB, Ill. - Stephen F. Austin posted its best shooting performance of the season Saturday behind a sterling effort by point guard Eric Bell as the Lumberjacks knocked off Northern Illinois, 74-50. SFA hit 54 percent from the field, and Bell finished with 18 points and 11 assists to put up the first double-double of his career.
The win improves SFA's record to 4-1, while Northern Illinois fell to 0-6 with the loss.
Bell continued the hot streak he began Wednesday against Louisiana-Monroe, knocking down 8-of-12 from the field Saturday as part of a trio of Lumberjacks in double figures. The 18 points are a career-high for the sophomore transfer and mark his second straight double-digit scoring performance. Junior forward Josh Alexander paced the team with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Classmate Matt Kingsley registered his fifth straight double-digit performance with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Alexander scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, when the Lumberjacks took a 37-29 advantage to the locker room behind a 50-percent shooting effort. SFA really pulled away in the second half, when the 'Jacks shot 60 percent from the floor and held Northern Illinois to just seven field goals in 22 attempts.
Alexander just missed a double-double, pulling down a game-high nine rebounds. Kingsley added seven boards as SFA outrebounded the Huskies, 35-22. This marks the fourth time in five games for the Lumberjacks to beat their opponents on the boards.
Bell's career-high 11 assists are the most recorded by a Lumberjack since all-time assists leader Marcus Clark dished out 10 in a 2006 game against McNeese State.
SFA's 24-point margin of victory Saturday night is the largest the Lumberjacks have recorded this season and the biggest win margin against a Division I opponent since last year's 80-42 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The win against Northern Illinois is the first non-conference road victory for SFA since defeating Southern last December.
SFA will have a week off before returning to action Dec. 1 with a road game at Jackson State. That contest is set for a 4 p.m. start. The Lumberjacks defeated the Tigers, 70-55, in their first meeting this season.
-- SFA --