SFA hoops upset OU in Norman

NORMAN, Okla. – Hal Bateman hit a pair of free throws with 1:04 left and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks pulled off a56-55 upset of Oklahoma on Tuesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The win snapped a 36-game winning streak for the Sooners (7-3) against non-conference opponents at home with the last loss coming at the hands of the 'Jacks (8-1) in the 2007-08 season.

Bateman finished with a career-high 13 points and had nine assists, with none being bigger than his two shots to put the 'Jacks in front 56-54 after the Sooners had erased an 11-point SFA lead in the second half. After the teams traded possessions, the Sooners had a chance to square things up when Buddy Hield got to the foul line with just 3.9 seconds to go. But after hitting the first shot, he sent the second off the back iron and Taylor Smith cleared the rebound to run out the clock and give SFA the victory.

Smith, who played 36 minutes on the night, led SFA with 14 points and had seven rebounds and four blocks. Antonio Bostic had nine points and four rebounds, and Thomas Walkup added a big eight points and four offensive rebounds off the bench.

Steven Pledger and Je'lon Hornbeak each led the Sooners with a dozen points apiece, while the Sooners finished just 3 of 14 from beyond the arc.

SFA shot just 39 percent from the game, but continued its trend of sharing the ball with 17 assists on its 24 made buckets. Oklahoma had just six assists on 22 made shots, but made up for it with 17 offensive boards and became the first team to out rebound the 'Jacks in 19 games, doing so 38-37.

The 'Jacks trailed 30-26 at the half, but quickly erased the deficit with a 14-2 run to start the second half, a run that included five points apiece from Desmond Haymon and Jacob Parker, each after not getting a point in the opening half.

SFA got its lead up to as much as 11 points with 11:04 to play on a layup from Smith before the Sooners began to chip away themselves, getting consecutive buckets from Romero Osby and trimming the lead to as little as 51-47 with less than seven minutes to play.

In the meantime, the 'Jacks went 4:50 without scoring a point, allowing OU to come all the way back, which they did when they took a 52-51 lead on a triple from Hornbeak with 4:40 to go. But following a timeout the 'Jacks got a bucket and a foul from Walkup to go back ahead by two before Pledger tied it up one possession later with a jumper.

The score then stayed the same until Bateman final untied it with his foul shots.

SFA started off slowly on the glass, allowing five offensive rebounds to the Sooners in the opening four minutes as OU built an early advantage. But SFA responded and out rebounded the Sooners 13-10 the rest of the way, in addition to getting going offensively.

SFA chipped away at the OU lead before going in front 15-13 when Bateman found a cutting Smith for a one-handed slam. The 'Jacks eventually built the lead to as much as four on a Bateman scoop shot, but OU closed out the half strong, outscoring SFA 13-5 in the final 6:22 that included a jumper from Cameron Clark just before the halftime buzzer that sent OU into the locker room with a narrow 30-26 lead.

The 'Jacks get little time to rest as they now head home to prepare for Grambling on Thursday at Johnson Coliseum in the final tune up for Southland Conference play.



Ben Rikard