ACU’s home win-streak at the Teague Special Events Center since Mar 3, 2020, was snapped in a 64-58 loss to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. The former Southland conference rivalry match now puts SFA at four to three in the head to head series dating back to 2013.
The Wildcats fall to a 2-1 Western Athletic Conference record, despite making a 17-point comeback against a Lumberjack team that is top 20 in the country in Field Goal Percentage. ACU had a chance to tie the game down 61-58 with 17.3 seconds left on a final play out of a timeout, but they could not find their way down the stretch.
“We knew it was going to be a street fight,” head coach Brette Tanner said. “They are one of the best defensive teams in the country, and so are we. This is the first anyone has ever beaten us in this building man, so they deserve a ton of credit for that. If you had told me we were going to force 26 turnovers, shoot the ball 13 more times, make four more free throws, and tell us we lost, that would be crazy.”
SFA shot 45 percent from three-point range, making 10 of 22 attempts from distance. The efficiency battle was established early and later won in the end by a Lumberjack team that shot 51% from the floor, and had three players in double scoring figures, including senior guard Nigel Hawkins with 10 points.
“Really we just believe in everything we do,” senior guard Coryon Mason said. “Unfortunately, we just could not come out with a win. We are proud of how we fought and fought back into this game, and we just know next time we have to come up with a win.”
ACU shot 12 percent from three-point range, making only 2 of 17 attempts from behind the arc. While the full court press defense pivoted the game to a down the wire situation, the Wildcats could not catch a break late in the second half, against a Lumberjack team that outrebounded them 37-22.
“Just believe,” Tanner said. “The whole half, halftime, and during timeouts, we just said the word believe a lot. I got a locker room full of winners. We just lost one at home, it is what it is, but we are just trying to have a good season with guys I would go to battle with everyday.”
The Wildcats now aim to defeat the Sam Houston State Bearkats at home on Saturday, Jan. 8 at the Teague Special Events Center, with the game tipping off at 6:00 p.m. and streaming live on ESPN+