COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks got 14 points apiece from Taylor Smith and Antonio Bostic, but was not able to overcome Texas A&M on Wednesday as the Aggies claimed a 62-54 win at Reed Arena.
The 'Jacks (5-1) saw its season-opening five-game win streak come to an end, despite outrebounding a bigger Aggie front line, 32-30; however, the Texas A&M (7-1) bench outscored SFA 31-6 and the Aggies finished with a decided advantage at the foul line while putting three players in double figures.
Smith finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and Bostic had 14 as well, including a pair of threes and 10 points in a key stretch in the first half that erased a double-digit Aggie lead. Hal Bateman had eight assists to go with five points and four rebounds, committing just two turnovers.
In all SFA hit 39.7 percent from the floor and hit five three-point shots, but hit just 32 percent in the second half after hitting half of its shots in the opening period and never managed to gain the lead. Texas A&M shot 50 percent from the floor, but hit 21 of 29 shots from the foul line, compared to just three of six for the 'Jacks.
Ray Turner and J'Mychal Reese each scored 15 points apiece to lead the Aggies to managed to avoid their first loss to SFA since the 1970-71 season.
It took nearly three minutes of game time for either squad to crack the scoring column before SFA got six straight points from Smith to start things; however, the Aggies then held the 'Jacks scoreless for nearly six minutes while going on a 13-0 run of its own and eventually building as much as a 12 point lead at 20-8 before SFA finally got something going.
With under nine minutes to go in the half SFA re-inserted Bostic, who ignited a 16-4 SFA run with 10 points in that stretch, canning a pair of threes and eventually getting the 'Jacks ahead 24-23 when Jacob Parker nailed a triple from the left wing.
The 'Jacks shot 50 percent in the half and canned three triples, helping negate an Aggie advantage at the foul line as Texas A&M hit 10 of 15 foul shots, compared to just four foul shot attempts for the 'Jacks.
The Aggies scored the first five points of the second half on buckets from Reese and Elston Turner before the 'Jacks got the first of six points from Thomas Walkup to open its second-half scoring. SFA stayed within striking distance throughout the half, cutting the lead to just two on a triple from Desmond Haymon nearly eight minutes into the period.
Texas A&M then pushed the lead back out to seven, but SFA still was within four points at 52-48 on a jumper from Walkup with 3:44 to go before the Aggies scored seven of the game's next nine points to take an eight-point lead with under a minute remaining, and hit foul shots in the final minute to close it out.
SFA will try and get back into the win column on Saturday when it hosts LSU Shreveport.