From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Within four points of 2018-19 Southland Conference regular season champion Sam Houston State at the half, the SFA men’s basketball team was drilled with a 16-3 run by the Bearkats to start the final frame and the 'Jacks never recovered in a 68-57 loss to their Southland Conference arch-rivals Saturday night inside William R. Johnson Coliseum.
The loss ended SFA's season as the 'Jacks finished in a tie for ninth place in the final version of the Southland Conference standings. With that, the 'Jacks missed out on a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
FIRST HALF• Armed with the knowledge that a victory over the Bearkats would send them into the Southland Conference Tournament, the 'Jacks came out like gangbusters in their attempt to dethrone the league's regular season titleholders. • Nathan Bain, Shannon Bogues and Oddyst Walker each drilled a three-pointer during the 'Jacks' 9-4 run to start the game. Those long-range shots were the theme of the opening frame for the home team as SFA shot 53.9-percent (7-for-13) from downtown during the first 20 minutes.• Back-to-back trifectas off the mitts of John Comeaux pushed SFA's lead to 17-11 with 9:38 left. That six-point edge represented the 'Jacks' largest of the game.• Two free throws from Bogues put SFA ahead 24-19 with 5:45 left, but from there the Bearkats took over. Cameron and Josh Delaney keyed the visitors' 15-6 run to end the half with the former putting in five points and the latter adding four. • After that surge, Sam Houston State took a 34-30 lead into the locker room.
SECOND HALF• A relentless barrage of long-range hits is what the Bearkats hit the 'Jacks with through the early stages of the final frame. Josh Delaney canned a trio of three-pointers and Albert Almanza added another for Sam Houston State who scored the first 12 points of the final frame to go up 46-30 with 16:18 left. • Single-handedly breathing life into the 'Jacks, Bogues swished a pair of three-pointers to cap an 8-0 SFA run that pulled the home team within six, 55-49, with 5:55 to go.• From there, however, SFA was held scoreless for 2:40 and Sam Houston State used three-pointers from Zach Nutall and Marcus Harris to push their lead back to double-digits. • Again Bogues came to the rescue, draining another pair of three-pointers which cut the Bearkats' lead to 61-55 with 1:48 left. Just like what happened after the senior's earlier long-range outburst, though, Sam Houston State had an answer.• Marcus Harris connected on another three-pointer with 1:17 left to extend the Bearkats' lead to nine and Sam Houston State went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final minute to sew up the win.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE• In his final collegiate game, Bogues finished with a team-high 17 points and went 5-of-8 from three-point range. Through his two-year career at SFA, Bogues poured in 1,075 points - the 27th-most by a single player in the history of the program. • Comeaux contributed 13 off the bench and went 3-of-4 from long range. • Jovan Grujic grabbed a team-high five rebounds in his final game in an SFA uniform while Davonte Fitzgerald added five points and three rebounds. • Josh Delaney came up with a game-high 19 points and also went 5-of-8 from three-point land. Kai Mitchell added 12 and Marcus Harris 10 for the Bearkats who won inside William R. Johnson Coliseum for the first time since 2011. • Mitchell finished one rebound shy of a double-double, grabbing a game-high nine for the Bearkats who finished with a 42-28 edge on the glass.
COMING UP NEXT• SFA turns its attention to the 2019-20 season while the Bearkats get a double-bye into the 2019 Southland Conference Tournament semifinals. • Bogues, Fitzgerald and Grujic were all honored for their contributions to Lumberjack basketball with a brief pregame ceremony.
From SFA Athletics
The Stephen F. Austin women’s basketball tem won an emotional affair inside William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday, sending its seniors out with a victory in overtime over Sam Houston State, 81-75.
The victory improves SFA’s record to 25-5 on the season and 16-2 in Southland Conference play. In a redemption story that was perfectly set for Senior Day, forward Imani Johnson was able to help seal an overtime victory for SFA over rival Sam Houston State on Saturday after uncharacteristic free throw misses in the regulation period. The senior assisted on a go-ahead layup, sank a free throw to make the game a two-possession affair, and blocked a Bearkat shot late in the overtime period to help stave off the 'Kats.
HOW IT HAPPENEDThe Ladyjacks would jump out to a quick 8-3 lead in the contest thanks to a pair of steals and resulting layups. After Sam cut the lead to 8-5, the Ladyjacks went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:30 minutes to lead 16-5 and force a Bearkat timeout. SHSU would pick up their play out of the timeout, cutting the lead down to 20-15 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the teams would trade baskets for the opening few minutes of the quarter, but the Bearkats would trim the lead to just a pair, 25-23, at the media timeout. A 7-1 SFA run extended the lead out to 36-26 with just over a minute left to play, and the 'Jacks would take a 40-30 lead into the halftime break after a pair of free throws by Heaven Hamling.
At the halftime break, the Ladyjacks had already racked up 24 points in the paint and 13 off of turnovers. Any comfort the Ladyjacks had in their lead at the break was quickly evaporated by a 10-0 Bearkat run that stretched the opening three and a half minutes of play in the third quarter and evened the game at 40-40. The 'Jacks would gradually work out to a 52-46 advantage with three minutes remaining in the quarter, but were unable to keep the Bearkats at bay, as they wittled it down to two points at the end of the quarter. The fourth quarter was every bit as close as the three before it, as SHSU and SFA exchanged leads back and forth with neither able to create a sizeable advantage. The Bearkats would take a 70-69 lead with 2:30 remaining on a steal and layup, but the Ladyjacks would earn a stop on the ensuing possession and tied the game at 70-apiece on a free throw by
Alyssa Mayfield. Sam Houston State’s basket with 1:07 remaining gave the visitors a 72-70 lead, and they would take a 73-71 edge on the front end of Jaylonn Walker’s free throws with 13 seconds remaining. Walker missed the second attempt, however, and Bri Mitchell’s layup out of an SFA timeout would tie the game up at 73-73 and send the contest into an overtime period. Once in the overtime period, the Ladyjacks ramped up the intensity and ran the visitors off the floor, outscoring them 10-2 in the period thanks to a 6-8 effort from the charity stripe. SHSU would fail to score for the final 2:05 of game action, allowing SFA to pull out the overtime victory.
OF NOTE• SFA finishes the regular season with a 17-0 home record, the first undefeated home season for the team since 2005-06. • The win was the 25th of the season for SFA, marking the third straight season with 25 wins for the Ladyjacks. • Chanell Hayes, Imani Johnson and Kia Fisker were recognized, along with senior managers Kassie Ruzicka and Aaron Beadle, in a postgame Senior Day celebration. • The Ladyjacks have now won their regular season finale in each of the four seasons under coach Mark Kellogg. • The Ladyjacks completed the regular season series sweep of the Bearkats and their fifth season sweep overall.
UP NEXT SFA will enter the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament as the second seed, following Lamar’s victory over McNeese on Saturday afternoon to clinch the top seed. As such, SFA will receive a double bye into the semifinal round and play its first game of the tournament on Saturday, March 16.