Demons rally past SFA

Released by SFA Athletics Media

NATCHITOCHES, La. – James Hulbin hit a three-point bucket with 13.7 seconds left and Northwestern State finishes the game on an 11-0 run to snap Stephen F. Austin's 11-game win streak with a 61-57 win on Saturday at Prather Coliseum.

In a game that pitted the nation's top offense against the nation's top defense, SFA (16-2, 7-1 SLC) held a 57-50 lead with more than four minutes to play, but was held scoreless on its way to the finish line, despite holding the lead for the majority of the second half.

"I'm not disappointed with our effort, but I am disappointed with the way we finished the game," head coach Danny Kaspar said following the game. "We had a seven-point lead with four minutes to go and could not get a bucket or a foul shot when we needed one. We will have to learn from this and move forward."

The 'Jacks still managed to hold the Demons (12-6, 6-2 SLC), who came in averaging 85.0 points per game, to its lowest scoring output of the season at just 61 points; however, the loss negated a pair of double-doubles for both Taylor Smith and Desmond Haymon. Smith finished with 10 points, 12rebounds and six blocks, despite picking up two early fouls and having to spend a large portion of the first half on the bench. Haymon picked up his secondconsecutive double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, five of which were of the offensive variety.

SFA also got nine points and seven boards from Thomas Walkup and a season-high 26 minutes from freshman point guard Trey Pinkney, who had seven points and just two turnovers against the Demons' full-court pressure.

Hulbin led the Demons with 19 points, including three of six from behind the arc. Overall, the Demons hit just four of its 21 three-point tries and forced 22 turnovers of which they turned into 21 points.

SFA had built its lead to seven points with 4:04 to go on the second of consecutive layups from Haymon as part of a 7-2 run that was aided by the 'Jacks holding the Demons without a field goal for nearly eight minutes of game time.

But Northwestern State then went to work with 2:14 to play when Shamir Davis converted a transition layup after a block from Brison White. One possession later Hulbin cut the lead to three with a tip-in before SFA could not convert a foul shot on the other end.

The Demons then got a teardrop jumper from Jalan West to trim the lead to a point with exactly a minute to play. SFA got the ball back, but turned it over and the Demons converted when DeQuan Hicks drove into the lane and found a wide open Hulbin in the corner for the go-ahead bucket.

SFA again had a chance to tie it up, but Haymon's jumper was off the mark and the Demons converted a pair of foul shots for the final margin.

The 'Jacks had gone into the locker room down by a point after hitting just eight of its 24 shots from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and working around foul trouble from three of its starters and Walkup.

SFA will next travel to McNeese State on Wednesday looking for a season sweep of the Cowboys before taking on Lamar in Beaumont on Saturday.