Cardinals ‘Jacked’ up by SFA

Published 11:05 pm Monday, January 25, 2016

Lamar sports information

NACOGDOCHES — The defending Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks jumped out to a 23-point first half lead and rode that advantage to an 86-52 victory over Lamar (10-10, 2-6 Southland) Monday night in the William R. Johnson Coliseum.

The loss is LU’s third straight, and sixth in its last seven games, while the Lumberjacks improve to 14-6 on the season and remain atop the Southland standings with a 7-0 record.

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“We got outrebounded tonight, and turned the ball over too many times” Lamar coach Tic Price said. “Their defensive pressure is the most that we’ve seen all year. We just didn’t handle it well tonight. The most telling stat though, is points off turnovers. You can’t go on the road against a team like that and make those kind of mistakes.”

The Cardinals finished the night shooting 20 of 54 (.370) from the field, and were only 2 of 16 (.125) from three-point range. LU also struggled from the charity stripe converting just 10 of 20 (.500) attempts.

SFA was 36 of 58 (.621) from the field, but were held to just 5 of 16 (.313) from three-point range. The Lumberjacks also took advantage of LU’s 22 turnovers converting them into 29 points, while LU could only convert the Jacks’ 14 miscues into six points. The Lumberjacks also had a 21-2 advantage in fast break points.

The Cardinals were led by freshman Nick Garth’s 12 points, while classmate Dorian Chatman of Port Arthur added 10 points on 4-of-8 (.500) shooting. SFA was paced by four players in double digits led by 22 points from Thomas Walkup and 20 from Demetrious Floyd.

The Lumberjacks took advantage of some early LU turnovers to build a double-digit advantage. The Cardinals turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, including a stretch of seven possessions that saw six turnovers. SFA took advantage of the Cards’ mistakes, scoring 20 first half points off turnovers.

SFA started the contest knocking down 12 of their first 20 (.600) from the field to build an eight-point lead less than nine minutes into the contest, but that lead quickly ballooned to 17 points as the Cardinals hit a scoring drought that lasted more than nine minutes. During that stretch, the Red and White could manage only four points.

LU started the game converting six of the first 11 (.545) attempts, but then struggled to hold on to the ball. The Cardinals finished the half with 13 turnovers, while SFA was charged with only six. The Lumberjacks took a 20-2 advantage in points off turnovers into the locker room.

The Lumberjacks took a 25-point lead into the locker room, 45-20, after a half that saw them shoot nearly 65 percent floor, and outrebound LU by four, 16-12. Big Red was 9 of 23 (.391), which included a 0-of-6 performance from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes. LU also struggled from the free throw line in the first half converting only 2 of 7 (.286) attempts.

It was more of the same in the second half as the Cardinals were unable to cut into the deficit. The Lumberjacks shot better than 60 percent in the final 20 minutes, while out rebounding LU, 36-29.  The Cardinals entered the night as the league’s second-best scoring offense, but could never find their rhythm shooting just 36 percent in the second half.

The Cardinals return to action Saturday when they travel to Abilene Christian. The game against the Wildcats is slated to get under way at 4 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.