Alexander Leads SFA Past Northern Illinois Sophomore scores career-high 31 to pace strong shooting effort by Lumberjacks
NACOGDOCHES, Texas ? Sophomore forward Josh Alexander scored a career-high 31 points and tied a career-high with seven 3-pointers to lead the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks to an 86-78 win over Northern Illinois Friday in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. The win improves SFA?s record to 6-5 heading into the Christmas break.
Alexander, who came into Friday?s game shooting 49 percent from 3-point range, got hot early against the Huskies. He connected on 3-of-4 3-pointers in the first period, helping to give SFA a 43-29 halftime lead. The sophomore from Shreveport, La., was even better in the second half, knocking down 4-of-5 from downtown to finish the game 7-for-9 from long range. His performance led a season-best 61-percent effort from 3-point range by the Lumberjacks.
SFA also connected on a season-high 31 free throws ? including 19 in the second half ? to help secure the win. Alexander was 6-of-7 from the stripe, and sophomore center Matt Kingsley, who hasn?t missed a foul shot in two games, was a perfect 6-for-6 on free throw attempts. Senior guard Will Johnson was 6-for-7 at the line on his way to a career-high
11 points. For the game, SFA shot 81.6 percent from the free throw line.
SFA needed the strong showing from 3-point range and the foul stripe to hold off a hot-shooting Northern Illinois team trying to avoid losing its seventh straight game. Led by 19 points from Mike McKinney, who was
8-of-12 from the floor, the Huskies (3-7) hit 53.7 percent from the field. Center James Hughes was averaging 15.4 points per game for NIU, entering Friday?s contest. But the Lumberjacks held the 6-11 Hughes to
11 points, all in the last 11 minutes of the game. Forward Logan Shaun scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting to join Hughes and McKinney in double digits.
Senior guard Keith Hardaway came off the bench for the Lumberjacks to score 14 points ? one point off his season high and two behind his career mark. Hardaway connected on five of his six shots, including a
3-for-4 showing from 3-point range. Senior center Antuane Miller added
11 points for SFA. Four Lumberjacks ? Alexander, junior forward Scott Weaver, junior forward Kyle Jacobs, and Miller ? grabbed four rebounds apiece.
The Lumberjacks will return to action on Dec. 30, when they host Howard Payne in a 4 p.m. game at the William R. Johnson Coliseum. It will be the last contest for SFA before opening Southland Conference action on Jan. 4 against Nicholls State.