NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Gilberto Clavell scored 17 points, and Stephen F. Austin shot just 39 percent Wednesday to drop a 55-40 decision to Sam Houston State. The loss gives SFA three home defeats this season — all in Southland Conference play — for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Due to other results from around the conference, the Lumberjacks didn't lose any ground in the Southland race, but SFA missed a golden opportunity to move into a tie for first place. Top teams Texas State and McNeese State both lost, as did Northwestern State, which came into Wednesday's action tied for third in the league with SFA.
The Lumberjacks (18-9, 9-6 SLC) now share third place with the Demons and Bearkats (16-12, 9-6). All three teams are just a game back of league leaders McNeese State and Texas State with the regular-season finales slated for Saturday. SFA plays at Northwestern State, while Sam Houston hosts Texas State and McNeese State hosts Lamar.
Wednesday night, SFA opened the game by missing eight of its first nine shots. The Bearkats took advantage and had a 13-2 lead by the 11:16 mark. Clavell scored seven of Sam Houston's first 13 points.
SFA drew to within seven (15-8) on a layup by Eddie Williams with 8:53 to play, but Sam Houston got a 3-pointer from Lance Pevehouse four possessions later to push the lead back to double digits.
After a Jordan Glynn layup with 43 seconds to play made it a 10-point game, Pevehouse hit a circus shot falling out of bounds at the buzzer to send Sam Houston to the locker room with a 26-14 advantage. The 'Jacks shot just 33 percent in the first period, while Sam Houston connected on 52 percent from the field.
The Bearkats would stretch the lead to 16 early in the second half, and SFA did not close to within single digits down the stretch.
Glynn and Jereal Scott scored 10 points apiece to lead the Lumberjacks. Amos Olatayo and Dion Prewster each added six points off the bench.
Antuan Bootle joined Clavell in double digits with 10 points. Clavell added 11 rebounds, leading Sam Houston to a 34-19 advantage on the boards. SFA's 19 rebounds ties its lowest output of the year.
The 40 points SFA scored mark its lowest output since a 53-36 loss at Lamar in the 2000-01 Southland Conference Tournament.
The Lumberjacks will wrap up the regular season Saturday at Northwestern State. The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip.