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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
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
Final
NYY 5
BAL 0
Final
CLE 0
KAN 2
Final
TOR 14
SEA 4
Final
DET 0
CWS 2
Final
ATL 0
PIT 1
Final
TEX 4
HOU 3
Final
CHC 0
STL 8
Final
MIN 2
ARI 6
Final
OAK 8
ANA 4
Final
SDP 1
COL 0
Final
LOS 2
SFG 5
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TAM
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
Final
NYI 3
OTT 2
 
Final
NYI 2
OTT 2
 
Final
PIT 1
DET 2
Final
NYR 4
NJD 5
Final
PHI 2
TOR 3
 
Final
PHI 5
WAS 4
Final
WIN 2
MIN 1
Final
DAL 4
STL 3
Final
COL 2
ANA 5
Final
ANA 4
COL 0
Final
ARI 5
LOS 4
Final
LOS 4
ARI 3
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
DET
 
9:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
VAN
 
Final
NYJ 19
CHI 27