'Jacks shine in bracketbusters win

SFA Knocks Off Long Beach On ESPNU

LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks got 21 points from Antonio Bostic and shot 56.5 percent from the field, leading the majority of the way and knocking off Long Beach State on Friday at The Walter Pyramid as part of the Ramada Bracketbusters, a game that was broadcast on ESPNU.

SFA (23-3) snapped the 49ers'  (17-10) 10-game win streak at The Pyramid, putting four players in double figures, led by Bostic. Long Beach State, who entered thegame averaging better than 70 points per game turned the ball over 19 points and got a career-high 24 points from point guard Mike Caffey and a double-double from James Ennis.

The Lumberjacks held a narrow 31-30 lead at the half after a three-point bucket from Bostic in the closing seconds of the first half and never gave back the lead after the 17:25 mark of the second half. The game might not have been as close had the 'Jacks converted better from the foul line, where it hit just 11 of 26; however, SFA canned five triples, including three in the second half from Desmond Haymon, who scored all 12 of his points in the second period.

Bostic, who just missed tying a season high, was joined in double figures by Taylor Smith with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Hal Bateman with 15 points, six assists and four steals. Haymon also had three of SFA's 12 steals on the night.

SFA won the rebounding battle 31-30, but shared the ball far more than the 49ers, getting assists on 19 of its 26 buckets to just five dimes on 22 makes for Long Beach State.

The 'Jacks allowed the 49ers to hit 48 percent of their shots from the floor in the first half, but forced nine turnovers and got double digits from both Smith and Bostic to carry the load.

SFA went on an 9-0 run to take 13-6 lead on a layup from Smith, who had eight of SFA's first eight points. The 'Jacks then kept the 49ers at bay with a points from Bateman, Smith and Bostic before Long BeachState put together six straight points that gave it a 30-28 lead before Bostic hit his lone three-pointer of the game from the right corner as the half ended.

The 'Jacks  then  got Haymon going in the second half with the junior scoring five points in the first four minutes of the period. Long Beach got as close as one at 42-41 on Peter Pappageorge's only made field goal of the night, a three-point bucket in transition; however, SFA responded with an 11-3 run that build the lead to its peak at 59-47 on a pull-up jumper from Bostic with exactly five minutes to play.

The Beach tried to claw its way back into it in the final minutes, putting SFA on the foul line, where it did not convert and allowed the 49ers to creep back to as close as seven points with just over a minutes to play on five straight points from Caffey. But SFa was able to just enough from the stripe in the final 67 seconds, hitting half of its eight shots to close out the game and snap Long Beach's 10-game home win streak.

SFA will now get a full week off before its biggest game of the season , a meeting on March 2 at home vs Northwestern State. The winner will take sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference with just two games left to be played.



Ben Rikard