Knowing what was at stake, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team took care of business in the Southland Conference tournament title game by knocking off rival Sam Houston State 83 to 70.
With the win, the Jacks have clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. In the victory over the Bearkats, SFA led by 10 points at the half and by as many as 16 in the second half.
"It's everything I thought it would be, in terms of a basketball game," said Head Coach Brad Underwood.
The first half of the game included harsh defense and an injury to forward Bobby King.
"All in all, I think we survived an injury to Bobby King," Underwood said.
As of Saturday evening, the extent of King's injury was unknown.
"In the second half offensively, we found a nice flow," said Underwood.
It was in the second half that recently named Player of the Year Thomas Walkup showed his leadership on the court, ending the game with 24 points for the team. The player earned MVP of the tournament and credited his fellow team members for the award.
He also explains that he plans to stay as level headed as possible regarding Saturday's win."No need to enjoy this one when we can have bigger things we can enjoy," said Walkup.
Walkup continued speaking about what this opportunity means to him as a Lumberjack, "I'm excited just for the fact that we get to go back and get to grow the name of Stephen F. Austin."
The 'Jacks gathered for a final group picture with their new Southland Conference hardware after they earned their ticket to the Big Dance.
In between smiles for pictures Coach Underwood graciously said, "this never gets old."
Underwood reminisced on how far the Jacks have grown within the year, starting with their home game against Northern Iowa.
"I think the one thing I try to do as a head coach is be consistent every day," Underwood said. "I am very demanding, and I think the guys will tell you that."When asked about what the future holds for the 'Jacks at the NCAA tournament, Underwood said, "I expect to win every game."
The Jacks will find out on Sunday who they will face in the NCAA Tournament.The NCAA selection show begins at 5pm Sunday March 15.The official SFA watch party begins at 4pm in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Movie Theatre.
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