NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Lumberjacks held Southeastern Louisiana to just 13 points in the second half and turned a three-point halftime lead into a 27-point runaway, moving to 2-0 in Southland Conference play with a 63-36 win over the Lions on Saturday at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Antonio Bostic led all players 15 points, 13 of which came in the first half, and SFA (8-7, 2-0 SLC) shot a season-best 53.5 percent from the field while holding its third opponent of the season under the 40-point mark. It was the first time since 2008 that SFA has held a Southland opponent under the 40-point plateau, and is the lowest point total by a Southland opponent for the ‘Jacks in the Danny Kaspar era.
It was only the third time this season SFA has hit better than 50 percent of its shots, and the second straight game with five connections from beyond the arc. That was necessary against a Lion (5-8, 0-2 SLC) team that packed the lane defensively and forced the ‘Jacks to attack early on from the perimeter.
Desmond Haymon hit a pair of those threes and finished with 11 points as part of a 30-point effort from the Lumberjack bench, who outscored the Lions' reserves by 16 points. Jereal Scott added nine points and three boards, Taylor Smith had four points and a game-high six rebounds and Micah Delph continued his recent solid play with seven points and two of SFA's 11 steals on the evening.
Once again, it took the ‘Jacks a while to jump start its offense as they scored just three points on a Bostic triple in the first 8:26 of the ball game while falling behind 10-3 early on. But a pair of short jumpers from Scott helped fuel a 9-2 run that knotted things up and helped propel the ‘Jacks, eventually, to their first lead of the game when Jonathan King found Haymon from the left side of the court for his first three-pointer that pushed SFA on top 16-14.
SFA then turned to Bostic to close the half as the junior guard scored eight of the final 10 Lumberjack points of the half, primarily on short-corner jumpers against the Lion zone. That effort helped the ‘Jacks take a 26-23 lead into the break, despite being outscored 18-2 in the paint.
It did not take the ‘Jacks long to distance themselves from the Lions after the half, pushing the lead to double digits less than five minutes into the second period on a pair of freebies from Haymon as part of an 8-0 run that took the lead from 34-28 to 42-28 with less than 14 minutes to go in the ballgame.
That turned out to be more than enough as the SFA defense held Southeastern to just 3-for-16 (18.8 percent) from the floor in the second half with the Lions getting more than half of their points from the foul line.
Haymon led the charge in the second half with all 11 of his points coming out of the break, but he had plenty of help as SFA put together its most efficient 20 minutes of hoops this season by hitting 59.1 percent of its shots from the floor to close out the game.
SFA will go for its fourth win overall and to go to 3-0 in Southland play for the first time since 2008-09 on Wednesday when it travels to Central Arkansas for a matchup with the Bears. The game will be aired live on the Southland Conference Television Network.