From SFA Athletics
NATCHITOCHES, LA (Press Release)- No man - or combination of them - on the Northwestern State roster could halt the unrelenting pursuit of victory of the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team as the `Jacks battered the Demons, 95-55, in Prather Coliseum on Thursday night.
The 40-point win served as the `Jacks largest triumph margin over their longtime Louisiana rivals in 125 all-time meetings between the two programs. It seemed almost impossible for the `Jacks to miss in the final 20 minutes, as they connected on 63.9-percent (23-of-39) of their shots in that span.
Leading the way in the points department for the `Jacks was senior Demetrious Floyd who finished with a game-high 19 on 7-of-14 shooting that included 5-of-9 mark from long range. Sophomore Ty Charles added 17 on 7-of-12 shooting and a 3-of-3 mark from downtown.
Jared Johnson chipped in 12 on four threes - all in the second half - and Clide Geffarrd pumped in 10 off the bench, too. Then there was Thomas Walkup, who followed up his triple-double performance with 10 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Other lopsided number from the rout included a 20-5 advantage on the glass for SFA in the final 20 minutes of action as well as 35 points off of 21 NSU turnovers. The Demons finished with two more throwaways than field goals made (19). SFA connected on 13 three-pointers, too - tying a season-high - and owned a +15 edge (40-25) on the glass.
Suffering from an inability to put the ball in the basket early on, the `Jacks misfired on their first six shot attempts and witnessed the Demons obtain one of their two early two-point leads in the first two minutes of the skirmish.
Providing the cure for the `Jacks ailment of inaccurate shooting was Ty Charles who embarked on a personal 5-0 scoring spree with a put-back layup and a step-back long ball to put the visitors on top 7-4 - a lead they would maintain hold of for the remainder of the tilt.
Throughout the rest of the first stanza, the `Jacks shooting woes became more of a faded memory as SFA locked down on the defensive end of the floor to force 10 first-half Demon turnovers. NSU's carelessness with the basketball translated to 14 of the `Jacks 38 first-half points.
Bounding onto the floor of Prather Coliseum in possession of the nation's second-best assists per game average (19.8), the `Jacks pass-happy offense sputtered out of the games. Walkup - fresh off the program's last triple-double in over four decades - finally passed out SFA's first helper of the tilt on a Dallas Cameron layup that made matters 26-18 with 5:02 remaining in the first.
As a matter of fact, Walkup notched all four of the `Jacks first-half assists over a 3:39 span that coincided with a 10-0 SFA surge that hiked SFA's edge to 16, 34-18, with 2:23 to go in the opening frame.
The aforementioned 10-0 scoring streak was just a segment of a larger 18-6 run by the `Jacks that spanned the first half's last seven minutes.
Flipping the script after a poor start to the first half, the `Jacks were unrelenting in their pursuit of victory once the final 20-minute frame commenced. Ishmael Lane converted an old-fashioned three-point play in the first 13 second of the half, but SFA made sure that wouldn't spark a comeback bid by unleashing a game-clinching 21-3 run over the ensuing 6:19 to put the game away.
Lane and Devonte Hall each finished with a team-high 11 points for the Demons. The `Jacks defense trumped the high-scoring ways of junior Zeek Woodley, who scored just six. Coming into the game, Woodley led the SLC in scoring and ranked ninth nationally with 22.7 points per game.
Just one opponent stands between the `Jacks and their pursuit of becoming the 19th team in NCAA history to go 18-0 in a conference schedule of 18 or more games. That foe is none other than hated Piney Woods rival Sam Houston State, and the `Jacks will roll into Huntsville for a 7 p.m. matchup with their longtime adversaries on Saturday night.