Lumberjacks Claim Conference Crown - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

3/08/2008 - San Antonio

Lumberjacks Claim Conference Crown

Texas-San Antonio used a deluge of free throws to stay in the game in Saturday's regular-season finale, but Stephen F. Austin was money at the stripe in the final minutes to secure a  58-52 win.

SFA's win, coupled with at loss by Lamar earlier in the day, give the 'Jacks their first ever SLC regular season championship.

UTSA (13-16, 7-9) hit more free throws than field goals, hitting 20-of-26 from the foul stripe, and the Roadrunners closed to within three at 49-46 with 2:54 remaining. But the Lumberjacks hit 7-of-8 from the line in the final minute to salt the victory away.

Junior center Matt Kingsley was a team-best 9-of-12 at the line and finished with 17 points. He was 3-for-4 at the stripe in the final minute with senior Gerald Fonzie and freshman Eddie Williams each knocking down a pair of free throws.

Fonzie finished with 12 points. Kingsley added eight rebounds, and sophomore point guard Eric Bell finished the game with seven points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Roadrunners hit just one of their first six shots as SFA cruised out to a 12-4 lead in the first 5:30. But UTSA warmed and took a two-point lead, 16-14, by the midway point of the half. The Roadrunners led by as many as four in the opening period, but SFA retook the lead on a 3-pointer by Scott Weaver and extended its advantage down the stretch by holding UTSA to just two field goals in the half's final eight minutes.

The Lumberjacks shot 54.5 percent in the first half, led by 11 points from Josh Alexander, who was 3-for-3 from 3-point range, in the opening frame, though he did not hit a field goal in the second half and finished with 11 points. SFA took a 36-29 lead to the locker room.

For the game, SFA shot 45 percent while holding the Roadrunners to 30 percent. The Lumberjacks led by as many as 15 in the second half before UTSA cut into the lead down the stretch. The Roadrunners were led by freshman point guard Devin Gibson, who went 11-of-16 from the stripe and finished with 17 points.

The Lumberjacks will open play in the Southland Conference Tournament Thursday, with the seeding yet to be determined. SFA will be the No. 1 seed heading into the tournament. All games will be played at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.

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