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Northwestern State (22-8) vs. Stephen F. Austin (27-3)



Saturday, March 16, 8:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Leonard E. Merrell Center (5,600) -- Katy, Texas. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: NWST 13-1, SFA 15-0. Away Record: NWST 8-7, SFA 11-3. Neutral Record: NWST 1-0, SFA 1-0. Conference Record: NWST 15-3, SFA 16-2. Series Record: Northwestern State leads, 61-52.

GAME NOTES: With a trip to the NCAA Tournament at stake, the Northwestern State Demons and Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks square off in the Southland Conference Tournament Championship game at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.

This bout marks the third meeting of the 2012-13 season between these two schools, and both successfully defended their home courts earlier this year. Northwestern State claimed a 61-57 decision on Jan. 26 in Natchiotches, Louisiana before the Lumberjacks got their revenge with a 64-63 win in Nacogdoches, Texas on March 2.

Northwestern State will be trying to collect its third tourney title after failing to do so each year since its 2006 championship. The Demons survived their Friday night matchup with Sam Houston State as DeQuan Hicks and Marvin Frazier each scored 11 points to help them hold on for a 55-52 win. Shamir Davis and James Hulbin each tallied seven points as well for Northwestern State, which has won its last three games.

The Demons have made 15 previous appearances in the conference tournament and have played for the title six times, winning in 2001 and 2006. Northwestern State went on to win games in the NCAA Tournament each of those years, beating Winthrop in '01 and following that with a last-second upset victory of Iowa in the '06 event. This year, Mike McConathy's Demons finished just one game behind the Lumberjacks to become the second seed. Northwestern State has an explosive offense with four double-digit scorers, led by Hicks and his 14.2 ppg. The Demons net 82.4 ppg, which is more than any other Division I school.

Stephen F. Austin advanced past Southeastern Louisiana on Friday, as Taylor Smith went 7-of-8 from the floor en route to 14 points and 11 rebounds in what wound up as a 68-57 victory. Antonio Bostic and Desmond Haymon netted 16 points apiece for the Lumberjacks, who also received 11 points and five assists from Hal Bateman in the winning effort. SFA is seeking its second Southland Conference Tournament championship, as its only other crown was won in 2009.

The Lumberjacks lost just one non-conference game and notched impressive victories at Tulsa, versus San Diego and at Oklahoma. Coach Danny Kaspar's squad has won its last six games overall. SFA was below average offensively this season with an average of 65.1 ppg, but defensively it was the best in the nation with an allowed average of only 50.2 ppg. Smith was named the Conference Player of the Year after he posted 15.6 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He also earned the Defensive Player of the Year award.

The nation's top offensive team takes on it best defensive squad, with a berth in the NCAA Tournament on the line. With both teams having successfully defended their home courts during the regular season, this one is could go either way. The Lumberjacks were more impressive on Friday and as the saying goes, "defense wins championships".

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stephen F. Austin 64, Northwestern State 60

03/16 10:36:18 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
4th
UTAH 17
USC 21
 
4th
WASH 7
ARST 10
 
2nd
HAW 10
NEV 6
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14