ARLINGTON, Texas – Stephen F. Austin defeated UT-Arlington 66-62 and won their fourth game in a row, second in conference play. The Lumberjacks improve to 10-5 (2-0) and the Mavericks fall to 5-10 (0-2).
It was a slow start for both teams right out of the gate, especially for the Lumberjacks as they struggled to make their first basket within the first three minutes of the game. They found themselves behind by seven points a couple times throughout the middle of the first half, but towards the end of the half the ‘Jacks were finally able to take the lead thanks to an eight point run with buckets from Derrick Tezeno and AJ Cajuste. Both teams ended the first half with a sub 40% field goal percentage.
The first 13 minutes of the second half was full of back and forth blows from both teams as the Lumberjacks failed to grow their lead more than a six point margin, yet were still able to maintain the lead. However, within one minute, the Mavericks went on a seven point run thanks to a couple of free throws and a three pointer by Kyron Gibson and took the lead back for the first time this half. It was then a fight to the end to see who could make the last important shot. With 1:30 remaining on the clock, Latrell Jossell throws up a clutch three pointer to put the ‘Jacks up by two. From there on it was a hectic frenzy for both teams as they were both missing shots and turning over the ball trying to make the winning the shots. Finally, a foul on Jossell with 16 seconds left led to two good free throws which was good enough to secure the win for SFA.
Jossell led the scoring category for the ‘Jacks with 12 points. He also recorded six rebounds, five assists, and a steal on the day. Tezeno had a near double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds. Nigel Hawkins recorded his 11th double-digit scoring outing of the year with ten points, along with four rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
The Lumberjacks were able to outscore the Mavericks in: field goal percentage (42.9-40.4), three point percentage (45.5-11.8), free throw percentage (81.3-73.7), bench points (24-14), and points in the paint (30-28).
The ‘Jacks return home on Wednesday, January 4th to start the new year off on a good note as they take on the defending WAC champions, New Mexico State. Tipoff is scheduled at 6:30 p.m.