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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cardinals still hanging on to eighth in Southland

LAMAR (11-12, 4-6) AT SFA (12-9, 5-4)

SOUTHLAND MEN

4:30 P.M. TODAY, WILLIAM R. JOHNSON COLISEUM, NACOGDOCHES; ESPN3/KLVI-AM 560

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — Following a tough loss, teams want to remain in the comforts of home to face their next opponent.

Unfortunately, the Southland schedule makers were not so kind to the Lamar men. Following Wednesday’s disappointing setback against Abilene Christian, the Cardinals must travel to Stephen F. Austin where few teams have won over the course of the past few seasons.

Although it is true that few teams have had success in Nacogdoches, or against SFA recently, the Cardinals turned that around last year. Big Red rattled off a 22-point victory over the Jacks in Beaumont and followed that up with a season-sweep of the series following a five-point victory in Nacogdoches. So maybe, for LU, hitting the road is exactly what the doctor ordered.

The Cardinals (11-12, 4-6 Southland) enter the weekend showdown clinging to the eighth and final playoff position for next month’s Southland Conference tournament. The Red and White are currently a half-game back of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and just a half game up on Nicholls State and McNeese State with just eight games remaining in the regular season.

SFA is 12-9 (.571) on the season and fifth in the Southland standings with a 5-4 (.556) record. It has been a rollercoaster season for the defending Southland tournament champions but that ride is currently on an upswing. The Jacks have won four of their last five games and are coming off a two-point victory at Houston Baptist.

LU travels north ranked second in the league in scoring offense (78.2 points per contest) but are coming off a 64-point outing against a very good defensive team in Abilene Christian. The Lumberjacks have long been known for their success on the defensive end of the floor but enter the month of February ranked seventh in the conference surrendering nearly 72 points per game. Ironically, the defensive-minded Lumberjacks are surrendering more points to their opponents on the season than what they’re scoring. Both schools are tied for fifth in the league shooting .448 from the field.

The Cardinals trail the all-time series to Stephen F. Austin 27-35 (.435), but flipped the series momentum back in their favor last season with a series sweep. The Cardinals are 9-20 (.310) all-time against SFA in Nacogdoches. Big Red enters the week looking for their first back-to-back wins in Nacogdoches since the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.

Saturday’s game is slated to tip off at 4:30 p.m. from the Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches. The game can be heard live on Newstalk 560 KLVI and will be streamed on ESPN3.