Lumberjacks collapse on the road against Northwestern State
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 11:01
The Lumberjacks’ 11-game winning streak ended in Natchitoches, La., Saturday night. The Northwestern State Demons went on an 11-0 run to finish the second half, including a 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left to take the lead.
This loss was SFA’s first in conference play and only their second loss overall this season. SFA (16-2, 7-1 SLC) still holds the best record in the Southland Conference.
SFA hit only 8 of its 24 field goal attempts in the first half, and foul trouble kept Taylor Smith off the court for much of the first half.
The Lumberjacks led 57-50 with more than four minutes to play but were unable to score again for the rest of the game. The final tally was 61-57, Northwestern State.
“I’m not disappointed with our effort, but I am disappointed with the way we finished the game,” head coach Danny Kaspar said. “We could not get a bucket or a foul shot when we needed one. We will have to learn from this and move forward.”
Northwestern State (12-6, 6-2 SLC) was the nation’s top-ranked offense coming into the game, averaging 85.0 points a game. SFA was the nation’s top-ranked defense, and defended that honor by holding the Demons to a season-low 61 points. However, the Lumberjacks committed 22 turnovers to Northwestern State’s 11. The Demons scored 21 of their 61 points off Lumberjack turnovers.
Taylor Smith had another productive night, recording 10 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. He was not the only double-double man though. Desmond Haymon racked up 11 points and 13 rebounds in his second straight double-double performance.
Thomas Walkup was on the boards as well, snatching seven rebounds to accompany his nine points. Freshman point guard Trey Pinkney got some experience on the road, playing a season-high 26 minutes. He only gave up two turnovers against the aggressive full-court press defense from NSU.
The first half was back and forth the whole way. The score was tied six times and the lead changed seven times. The Demons went into the locker room with the lead, 29-28. Of those 29 points that came in the first half, 24 came from bench players, compared to just nine from the bench of SFA.
SFA had a roller coaster of a second half. Walkup made a layup with eight minutes into the second half that gave the Lumberjacks a 45-44 lead. That lead reached its precipice at seven points with 4:04 to go in the game and would prove the last points SFA would score in the game.
SFA did not surrender their lead until NSU’s three-point dagger from James Hulbin with 13.7 seconds to go. Hulbin scored a game-high 19 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Haymon had a chance to tie the game up near the final buzzer, but his jumper was off the mark. The Lumberjacks were forced to foul after Haymon’s shot and the Demons converted their free throws.
SFA tips off against McNeese State on Wednesday in Lake Charles, La.