An offensive onslaught, which saw four Lumberjacks score in double-digits, was enough to clip the Incarnate Word Cardinals, 81-54, Saturday night in William R. Johnson Coliseum.
Kevon Harris scored a game-leading 20 points, followed by Shannon Bogues with 18 points and a team-leading six assists. Mitchell Seraille contributed with 12 points.
However, it was Rance Cole who stole the show and etched his name in opposing team’s scouting report behind 14 points and three steals on nearly 27 minutes of play. Cole—a second-year walk-on—came into the game with 33 minutes in the season and nine points. Cole and Seraille contributed to 26 of the 30 bench points for SFA.
“When I see one [shot] go in, I get my confidence boosted a little bit,” Cole said. “[My teammates] are always telling me stuff to boost my confidence. My coaches always told me to stay ready, my dad has always told me to stay ready. I’m glad I got the opportunity tonight.”
The Jacks outscored the Cardinals 24-9 from points off turnovers, 36-22 from points in the paint and 30-26 from points off the bench.
Both teams traded blows throughout the first half until the four-minute mark where SFA finished the half on a 12-3 run to headed into halftime with a 41-24 lead.
SFA picked up where they left off in the second half, starting with Nathan Bain knocking down a 3-point jumper a minute into the quarter. At the 16:15 mark, the Cardinals trimmed the deficit to 13 behind a 3-point shot made by UIW’s Antoine Smith. That was the closest UIW got, as the Jacks would amass as much as a 34-point lead in the second half.
At the final buzzer, the Jacks improved to 7-7 in conference play, and currently sit sixth in the Southland Conference standings. The Cardinals remain at the bottom of the SLC standings with a conference record of 1-13.
The Lumberjacks excelled on the defensive side of the ball too, allowing UIW to 54 points. The game became only the fifth time that SFA hasn’t allowed more than 60 points to opponents. The Lumberjacks forced the Cardinals into 21 turnovers in the matchup.
“The thing we talked about was trying to not make mistakes, not trying to take us out of plays,” said Kyle Keller, SFA men’s basketball head coach. “Our athleticism against theirs—they’re battling a lot of injuries. They’re like us, they don’t have all their guys.”
The Jacks were riding a two-game streak of being outrebounded. Against UIW, the Jacks escaped with 32 rebounds compared to the Cardinals 30. Seraille led the way on the glass with six rebounds.
“When my name is called, I just go in there ready to play, and do whatever to get the team the win,” Seraille said. “You know, get the ball, rebound, blocks, just for us to win. It doesn’t matter about me scoring.”
The Lumberjacks will be back in action against Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Conway, Arkansas. The game will be broadcast on the Southland Digital Network.