The SFA Lumberjacks men’s basketball team clinched the outright Southland Conference regular season championship by defeating the Lamar Cardinals 95-76 in the second game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at William R. Johnson Coliseum.
The Lumberjacks propel their record to 26-3 overall with a 17-1 SLC record and extended their winning streak to 13 games. The Cardinals are now 16-14 with a 10-8 SLC record.
Senior guard/forward Kevon Harris was named player of the game as he recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Harris also recorded two steals and was 4-4 in free throws.
The entire starting lineup for the Lumberjacks notched at least 10 points in the contest. After not making the postseason a season ago, Head Coach Kyle Keller talked about how far his team has come this season.
“This team came in at the end of the summer with great expectations,” said Keller. “Intrinsically, on their own. They all were winners, they all wanted to win, they’re all great kids and won previously where they were. But they didn’t know how we wanted them to win, but they were open enough to allow us to teach them to win the way we wanted them to win. That is the greatest testament that I can give these guys. That they trusted us enough to allow us to coach them.”
“We’ve come a long way in that they don’t care who scores or who plays per se. They just care about Stephen F. Austin winning.”
SFA wasted no time getting points on the board as Harris opened things up with a jumper in the first 13 seconds for an early 2-0 lead. Senior guard John Comeaux followed suit as nearly 20 seconds later put two points up on a layup. Lamar answered as senior guard V.J. Holmes scored on a layup for its first points of the game.
Following a layup by SFA junior forward Gavin Kensmil to make it 6-2 SFA, the Cardinals kept it close as they went on a 9-6 run to trim their deficit to one as SFA led 12-11. Although the Cardinals never took the lead, they kept it close during the first half of action as they trailed 42-38 going into halftime.
The Lumberjacks began the second half by going on a 12-6 run with points coming from senior forward Nathan Bain, Kensmil and Comeaux for a 54-44 lead. The Cardinals then went on a 7-3 run to trim their deficit by six after a three-pointer by freshman guard Anderson Kopp and free throws by junior guard Ellis Jefferson and junior forward Avery Sullivan as the score was 57-51 with 13:18 remaining in the game.
SFA then extended the lead for good as the team went on a 16-5 run and jumped to a 14-point lead with points coming from Harris, Kensmil and junior guard David Kachelries making it 73-56 with 8:20 remaining. The Lumberjacks didn’t allow the Cardinals to come anywhere close to their lead and pulled away for the remainder of the contest.
The Lumberjacks will play on the road at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for a contest with Abilene Christian University. ESPN+ will provide the television broadcast and Q107.7 will handle radio coverage.