SFA Routs North Texas In Denton
Dec. 15, 2013
DENTON, Texas – Paced by a dominating 21-2 run midway through the first half, then capped with a 14-0 run to close out the game, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team dominated North Texas from the opening tip en route to an 87-53 victory Sunday afternoon at the Super Pit.
“We really stressed that defense would be the key and taking away their transition baskets,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “They are one of the top teams in the country in scoring in transition and we were able to take that away. That defense then turned into offense, as we were able to put together some runs. I’m proud of the effort from our team on both ends of the floor.”
SFA (9-2), which won its sixth consecutive game, shot 48.2 percent from the floor, hitting 27 of its 56 attempts, while holding the Mean Green (5-5) to just 34.9 percent shooting on the afternoon, a season low for the opposition.
Senior Deshaunt Walker paced the Lumberjack offensive surge, finishing with 22 points against UNT. The native of Silver Spring, Md., finished two shy of his career-high in 22 minutes off the bench. Walker went 7-of-9 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from three-point range, and made all three of his free throws while adding three assists and a steal.
Junior Jacob Parker finished with 14 points for SFA with sophomore Thomas Walkup adding 13 points and five rebounds. Nikola Gajic and Trey Pinkney each added eight points for the ‘Jacks, as Gajic led SFA in both rebounds (seven) and steals (four) on the afternoon.
Junior Tanner Clayton finished with four points and three blocks, all three of which came in the first half and led to transition baskets for the ‘Jacks. Desmond Haymon and Dallas Cameron both recorded seven points each in the victory as 10 different SFA players recorded points against the Mean Green.
The ‘Jacks seemed comfortable early, notching 10 of the game's first 12 points of the afternoon, establishing a 10-2 lead across the first 5:20. UNT kept the game within three on two separate occasions, but the SFA defense forced a handful of Mean Green turnovers to maintain the lead.
Up 18-14 with 9:15 remaining in the opening half, the ‘Jacks took control. SFA went on a 21-2 over the next five minutes to break the game open with a commanding 39-16 lead. The ’Jacks would match that 23-point advantage two more times down the stretch of the first half, holding a 47-24 lead at intermission.
SFA’s stingy defense was a major reason for the large lead, as the ‘Jacks forced 13 UNT turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. SFA shot 56.7 percent from the floor (17-of-30) in the opening half while going eight-of-nine from the free throw line, led by 12 points from Walker and nine from Parker.
The ‘Jacks maintained that intensity in the second half, as Walker took control of the game early in the stanza. The senior scored 10-straight points to help SFA build a 29-point advantage at 62-33 with 12:16 remaining in the game.
The ‘Jacks extended its lead to as many as 39 at 85-46 with 1:27 remaining, thanks to a late 14-0 run to put the game away. SFA’s lead never dipped below 20 in the second half, giving the ‘Jacks their first victory over North Texas since the 1994-95 season. The win also evens the all-time series at 35 victories apiece as SFA notched its first victory at the Super Pit, also coming in 1995.
The ‘Jacks now return to Nacogdoches to get set for a four-game homestand, beginning with Elmhurst on Saturday, December 21. Opening tip against the Bluejays is set for 6:00 p.m. at William R. Johnson Coliseum.