No. 3 Stephen F. Austin Tops No. 7 Central Arkansas, 86-64

first_imgKevon Harris scored 12 points, but it was 11 rebounds that helped establish a tone on the boards for the Lumberjacks.“We just wanted to come out and play with a chip on our shoulder,” said Harris, who was challenged by Keller at the start of the week to do more than provide offense.SFA, which trailed by four early, seized control of the game midway in the first half behind a defensive effort that held conference Player of the Year Jordan Howard to only 10 points. Howard, who scored 43 against the Lumberjacks on January 24, managed just three baskets on 10 attempts. With Howard unable to ignite the Central Arkansas offense, SFA pulled away and took a 46-34 lead at intermission.“He just didn’t get any clean good looks tonight,” said Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell. “Their defense is geared to guard guys awful well because they’re almost positionless on the perimeter and they can put multiple guys on him.”The Bears found themselves down 60-38 with 14:47 remaining before putting together a spurt that saw them trim the deficit to 69-57 at the 8:44 mark following a three-pointer from Jared Chatman. The momentum proved to be short-lived as SFA replied with a 9-0 run capped off by a dunk from Harris that put the game away.For the Lumberjacks, Friday gives them an opportunity to face a Nicholls team they defeated 81-64 on Jan. 3. Much has changed for both teams since that evening, making the rematch more intriguing.“We’ve defined some more roles since then,” said Keller. “They’ve got a very mature team. We played really well … one of our most complete games when we played them the first time. It didn’t matter who we played that night after us losing to Southeastern Louisiana.”MBB 2nd Round: “That was textbook perfect!”Holyfield for three, extending @SFA_MBB lead. Now 26-13 over @UCAMBB. 10:40 left in 1st half.Watch ESPN3. #AxeEm #BearClawsUp #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/FgMLl5y0E9— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) March 9, 2018 Box Score | Photo Gallery | ESPN3 Replay | HighlightsKATY, Texas – Stephen F. Austin delivered a masterful session of interior grit and hustle, a formula that moved the Lumberjacks one step closer to a possible fifth Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament championship.Dominating the glass from the outset, No. 3 SFA overwhelmed seventh seed Central Arkansas 86-64 at the Merrell Center on Thursday night and will face No. 2 Nicholls Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT for a spot in Saturday night’s championship game. The Lumberjacks improved their record to 26-6 on the season, the fifth time in the past six years the program has exceeded 25 victories.“We dominated the glass,” said SFA coach Kyle Keller, who saw his team finish the night with a whopping 45-24 edge in rebounding, including a 20-7 advantage on the offensive side. “It was a hard-fought win. I thought our kids played really well. I never felt threatened that we weren’t in control of the game, which is good because we got to play a lot of players.”“For the most part, they gang rebounded,” said Bears (17-16) forward Ethan Lee. “I don’t think it was a lack of effort from us wanting to rebound.”The Lumberjacks had nine players who saw at least 14 minutes on the court while all but two players managed to score at least two points. Guard Ivan Canete led SFA with 17 points, while T.J. Holyfield had 16 and Ty Charles added 10.MBB: ESPN crew tabbed @SFA_MBB’s Ivan Canete as #SouthlandStrong Player of the Game. He finished with 17 points in the Lumberjacks’ win over UCA Thursday night. #AxeEm #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/iIsrgOWwRy— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) March 9, 2018last_img read more