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Northwestern State (17-13) vs. Stephen F. Austin (29-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 6 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Leonard E. Merrell Center (5,600) -- Katy, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: NSU 10-3, SFA 15-0. Away Record: NSU 6-10, SFA 14-2. Neutral Record: NSU 1-0, SFA 0-0. Conference Record: NSU 12-6, SFA 18-0. Series Record: Northwestern State leads, 62-54.

GAME NOTES: In the first of the Southland Conference Tournament semifinal matchups, the top-seeded Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks do battle with the fourth-seeded Northwestern State Demons.

SFA may not be getting the same type of attention that Wichita State and Florida have, but the Lumberjacks pulled off a similar trick this season, going a perfect 18-0 in conference play. They have also been stellar outside of the league, with wins in 26 straight games overall and logging a record of 29-2. If they can win this contest and the next, it would give them their first Southland title since 2009, when they were also the top seed.

While the Lumberjacks had a bye through the first two rounds, the Demons only skipped the first. They were in action on Thursday in the quarterfinals when they easily got past Nicholls, 88-72. The win was their fourth straight overall and pushed them to 17-13 on the year.

Stephen F. Austin swept the season series with Northwestern State. However, the Demons nearly upset the Lumberjacks on Feb. 22, falling 70-68, and they lead the all-time series, 62-54. The winner of this one advances to the Southland title tilt against either Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Sam Houston State

DeQuan Hicks posted a double-double consisting of 21 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern State, leading five players in double figures in the win over Nicholls. The Demons secured 19 offensive rebounds and scored as many second- chance points in the win.

There is no denying that Northwestern State can put points on the board. The Demons are second in the country in scoring (86 ppg), while leading the Southland in assists (16.6 apg). They are also sinking a solid 46.5 percent from the floor. However, when it comes to defense, they fall flat, allowing a whopping 84.8 ppg on 46 percent shooting. Jalan West (18.7 ppg) headlines the impressive offensive attack, leading the way in both scoring and assists (6.6 apg). Hicks (14.9 ppg) is also a strong scorer, and Zikiteran Woodley (13.9 ppg) and Brison White (13.8 ppg) provide depth.

The Lumberjacks put a stamp on their perfect league ledger with an 85-61 rout of Central Arkansas in the regular-season finale. Thomas Walkup tallied 24 points and Desmond Haymon added 20 for the victories, who shot 47.5 percent from the floor and 21-of-27 at the charity stripe.

The defensive end of the court is where the Lumberjacks have been most effective this season. They are allowing only 62.6 ppg, despite foes shooting 45.3 percent from the floor. The key is their ability to get into passing lanes, as they are 14th in the country in assists allowed (9.8 apg). Jacob Parker (14.5 ppg) leads a group of four double-digit scorers, and he comes up with 7.1 rpg and 1.4 spg as well. Haymon (14.2 ppg) and Walkup (12.9 ppg) are also strong scorers, while Deshaunt Walker (11.9 ppg) adds spark off the bench.

Stephen F. Austin will be plenty rested for this contest and will advance rather easily.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stephen F. Austin 77, Northwestern State 65

03/14 10:34:25 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
 
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
 
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
 
4th
MIA 97
WAS 99
 
4th
MEM 74
CHI 82
 
4th
SAN 78
POR 69
 
2nd
DEN 53
LAC 37
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
 
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
 
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
 
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
2nd
MTST 68
CHAT 58
 
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
2nd
MINN 85
SEAT 48
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
2nd
SILL 52
NO 54
 
Half
MARQ 40
ALAAM 20
 
Half
TTU 35
ARKPB 26
 
Half
DEN 37
COLST 34
 
Half
CREI 39
TXPA 27
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
 
3rd
OTT 5
ANA 2
 
3rd
DET 1
NYI 2
 
3rd
WIN 2
BOS 1
 
1st Intermission
CAL 0
DAL 0