NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks learned of
their fate entering next week's Southland Conference Tournament even
before tipping off on Saturday, then proceeded to knock off
Northwestern State, 62-52, behind 18 points from Antonio Bostic in the
regular-season finale at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
SFA (19-11, 12-4 SLC) will enter next week's tournament riding a
five-game win streak after its win over the Demons (16-15, 8-8 SLC),
and will do so as the No. 2 overall seed in the event and will meet up
with No. 7 Sam Houston State for the third time this season in the
first round. No team will enter the tournament with a longer current
string of wins to its credit after league-leading UT-Arlington fell
for the first time in league play to UTSA as well.
The 'Jacks were locked into the No. 2 seed before the game started by
virtue of Lamar's win over McNeese State earlier in the afternoon, but
still managed to hold Northwestern State to just 39.1 percent shooting
on the night behind a quartet of players in double figures. Bostic's
18 led the way, 13 of which came in the second half, but SFA also got
14 from Desmond Haymon and a dozen apiece from big men Jereal Scott
and Taylor Smith.
Scott, who was playing his final game before his home crowd on Senior
Night, added five rebounds to his total and crossed the 1,200-point
threshold for his career, while Smith picked up his second
double-double in his last three games by also pulling down a game-high
SFA outrebounded the Demons 44-31 on the night, but more impressively
held the league's leading rebounder – William Mosley – to just five
boards on the night. Mosley still did his damage, however, finishing
with 17 points to finish as the only Demon in double figures.
The 'Jacks managed to pull out the win despite hitting just 1-for-10
from beyond the three-point arc, and shooting just 17-for-38 from the
foul line. Still, SFA shot 21 more foul shots on the evening than did
Northwestern State and outscored the Demons 28-16 in the paint.
Smith led SFA to a 25-22 lead at the break, pumping in 10 of his 12
points and pulling down nine of his 12 rebounds in the opening period.
The 'Jacks closed the half on a 7-2 run in the final four minutes and
led despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor in the first
In the second half the Lumberjacks never trailed, going to the line 14
more times than the Demons and leading by as much as 14 points with
less than 90 seconds to play.
SFA will open up the go for its 20th win of the year and its third win
of the season verus Sam Houston State on Wednesday in the opener of
the Southland Conference Tournament. It will be the third straight
time SFA has faced off against the 'Kats in the tournament, falling to
Sam Houston in the first round last season after falling in the
tournament championship game the previous year.
The game is slated to tip at noon with the winner taking on the winner
of No. 3 Lamar and No. 6 Northwestern State.