The Bears (4-14, 1-6) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game but the Lumberjacks (18-2, 7-0) closed that gap over the next five minutes and took the lead for good on Jacob Parker’s dunk with 9:16 to play. SFA settled for a 30-24 halftime lead, despite shooting just 2 of 8 from the free-throw line and 4 of 14 from three-point range.
SFA senior guard Deshaunt Walker, who had three of the three-pointers, had 13 points and junior forward Jacob Parker had 11 at halftime. UCA senior guard LaQuentin Miles, who finished with his average of 23 points, had 11 in the first half.
“We were changing defenses on them at the start, going from a 3-2 to a 2-3 and even to a man,’ said UCA head coach Clarence Finley. “That was our game plan, to try to confuse them, and we had them a little shook there for a while.
“But once No. 3 (Walker) got loose and knocked down some threes, he just made them at crucial times. Any time we got the score back down to single digits, he’d knock down a three. Or we would be in that zone and wouldn’t get a body on someone, and they’d get an easy basket.’
The Bears stayed within five points for the first part of the second half before the ‘Jacks began to pull away again, with much of the damage coming at the free throw line. SFA hit 12 of 17 free throws in the second half to finish at 56 percent.
“When you’re playing Stephen F. Austin, the way they defend you, get up in your body, you’re never really comfortable,’ said Finley. “You always know they are going to bring that pressure and make a run because they constantly play defense. They are going to play it for 40 minutes.
“That’s a very good team, a well-coached team, and a disciplined team. And they have a lot of sportsmanship. You have to give it to them, that’s a class organization. That’s what I want to try to get this program to be.’
Parker led the Lumberjacks with 21 points, hitting 7 of 8 at the line, while Walker made 5 of 11 from three-point range and added 19 points. SFA has held UCA to less than 50 points in the past two meetings between the teams.
The Bears hit the road next week to face McNeese State on Thursday in Lake Charles, La., and Nicholls on Saturday in Thibodaux, La.
(Courtesy: UCA Sports Information)
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