Lumberjacks Fall to Panthers, 70-60, on ESPN Tipoff Marathon

Lumberjacks Fall to Panthers, 70-60, on ESPN Tipoff Marathon

From SFA Athletics

CEDAR FALLS, IOWA (Press release)- Stephen F. Austin's Thomas Walkup pumped in 30 points - four off of his career high - but no other SFA player hit double digits and a 19-point second half deficit was too much to overcome in a 70-60 loss at Northern Iowa on Tuesday morning in the McLeod Center.

For the second straight season, the `Jacks and Panthers met up at 7 a.m. as part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, and SFA came out seeking revenge on the team which snapped its 34-game home winning streak in an overtime thriller a season ago.

Unfortunately, the Panthers bested the Lumberjacks again and limited SFA to a 35-percent (22-for-62) showing in the process. Conversely, the Panthers could seemingly do no wrong from the field, drilling 52-percent (23-for-44) of their field goals.

UNI's Wes Washpun and Ty Charles swapped layups in the opening 1:15 of the early-morning showdown, but that served as the only deadlock of the game. Intent on charging up their sizable gang of well-wishers, Jeremy Morgan and Matt Bohannon helmed a 12-2 run over the next 4:52. Each one of the UNI guards pumped in a long ball and Morgan added a pair of hard-driving layups.

It took a contested mid-range jumper from Clide Geffrard to stop the Panthers' surge and kick off 6-0 SFA spree culminating with a close-range Walkup field goal which made matters 14-10 in favor of the hosts with 11:09 to go.

Outside of Walkup's 6-for-10 performance in the initial 20 minutes of Iowa action, the `Jacks were victimized by a stifling defensive effort by the hosts. The remainder of SFA's roster posted a 3-for-15 (20-percent) showing from the field as the Panthers constructed a lead of as many as 14 points.

Head coach Ben Jacobson's brigade of Midwesterners drilled 62.5-percent (15-for-24) of their field goal tries in the first half. Making matters more complicated for the `Jacks was the hot outside shooting touch of the Panthers who made good on 55.6-percent (5-for-9) of their triples tries.

In danger of letting the game turn into a runaway, the `Jacks witnessed the hosts up their lead to 19, 47-28, after Bohannon laced another deep ball, but then SFA's defense showed up to the party.

Walkup, Charles and Jovan Grujic each pumped in a layup as past of a 6-0 run which trimmed the UNI lead to 47-34. With Grujic and TJ Holyfield manning the `Jacks defense down low, the Panthers didn't score a point for 5:10.

Holyfield showed off his offensive game, too, burying a pair of downtown tries and registering a put back to put things within reach for the `Jacks. After the freshman's tip-in with 4:19 to go, the UNI lead dwindled down to 58-50, but the field goal woes remained omnipresent for SFA, as the `Jacks misfired on their next five tries.

UNI went to the line and finished things off with 12 free throws in the last 3:29.

Bohannon was the high-point man for the Panthers, finishing with 15. Three other scorers joined him in double-digit territory including Washpun (14), Jesperson (15) and Morgan (14).

Upon returning to Texas, the `Jacks will make their home debut on Sunday afternoon. LSU-Shreveport serves as SFA's opponent in the tilt, which begins at 2:00 p.m. at William R. Johnson Coliseum.