User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

S.F. Austin falls short for Southland title

KATY, Texas (AP) - Even with 27 victories, Stephen F. Austin coach Danny Kaspar knew that losing in the Southland Conference championship would probably mean no NCAA tournament berth for the Lumberjacks.

Shamir Davis scored 19 points, DeQuan Hicks added 13 points and made the last-second steal that clinched Northwestern State's 68-66 win over Stephen F. Austin in the league's title game on Saturday night.

The Demons (23-8) earned their first automatic NCAA tournament berth since 2006 and its third overall. Davis was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Desmond Haymon scored 23 points and Taylor Smith had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Stephen F. Austin (27-4), which now awaits a disappointing matchup in the NIT.

``That's the frustration of being one of those 12 or 13 conferences that only give out one bid,'' Kaspar said. ``You can have a heck of a year. If someone on your team or a couple of players on your team aren't playing at their highest level, it goes away. We wanted that attention for this program for this university.''

The Lumberjacks led the nation in scoring defense (50.2 points per game) in the regular season and made it 63 games in a row holding an opponent under 70 against Northwestern State, the nation's highest scoring team (82.4 points per game).

Stephen F. Austin lost at Texas A&M and won at Oklahoma in the regular season, but Kaspar says his school needs more games against big-name opponents to gain traction with the NCAA tournament committee. Kaspar says he's tried to schedule Baylor, SMU, Rice, TCU and North Texas, but none of them will take him up on the offer.

``We can't even get someone to play for a money game,'' Kaspar said. ``They will not play us. So how do you fix that?''

Kaspar said that if Stephen F. Austin, the league's regular-season champion, and Northwestern State played 10 games, each team might win five times. They split two regular-season meetings by a total of five points, and their third matchup fittingly came down to the final seconds.

Demons point guard Jalan West left the game with 1:59 remaining after twisting his left ankle, but returned for the final minute. He missed a deep 3, but Hicks corralled the offensive rebound and West got it again.

``That was the game, that offensive rebound,'' Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said.

West let the clock wind down and then missed a mid-range jumper with about 10 seconds left. The ball bounced out of bounds and Stephen F. Austin called a timeout with 5.3 seconds remaining to set up the potentially game-tying play. But Hicks stole a long pass and heaved the ball at the backboard as the final seconds ticked off.

``When you're battling, you're just trying to win the game,'' McConathy said. ``It was a great game. It matched two teams that were very close in their abilities and I felt like both of them came to play.''

The Lumberjacks were trying to earn their second NCAA tournament berth and first since 2009. Kaspar says he's already been fielding calls from NIT officials.

``We know we're going to get the NIT bid, because we're conference champs,'' Kaspar said.

Smith, the league's player of the year, faced aggressive double-teams from Northwestern State the entire game and still managed to go 7 for 11 from the field. Smith led the nation in field-goal percentage (68.8) and was the league's fifth-leading scorer in the regular season. But he went 2-for-8 from the free-throw line in the championship and was beating himself up about the mistakes he made.

``I made some costly turnovers at the end, and that's my fault,'' Smith said. ``I really just didn't play to my potential in the second half. I just want to apologize to my team for that.''

The Lumberjacks last played in the NIT in 2008, losing in the first round to Massachusetts.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Missouri has youth movement in place
NCAA to distribute millions for academics
Auburn has plenty of newcomers, mystery
Talented Kentucky begins another year
Kingsley, transfers, lead Arkansas' hopes
Davis returns to lead young Aggies
Fox likes high expectations for UGA
Turgeon receives extension with Terps
Tennessee aren't rebuilding with youth
Why Buy Picks From
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
Live Odds
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 3618
Chip Chirimbes + 2069
Joe Nelson + 1709
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last 7 Days  
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Stephen Nover 58 %
John Fisher 57 %
Joe Nelson 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 1808
Antony Dinero + 1369
Jim Feist + 1323
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
James Manos + 1061
Stephen Nover + 565
Joe Williams + 560
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2572
Doc's Sports + 1365
Chip Chirimbes + 1114
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership