SFA Closes SLC Road Slate Unscathed
March 1, 2014
HAMMOND, La. - Senior Desmond Haymon became the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team's all-time winningest player in the Division I era, in a 75-62 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday evening in University Center.
With the win, SFA (27-2, 16-0 SLC) closed its Southland Conference road slate undefeated at 9-0, the first time the `Jacks have done so in the Division I era. SFA also became the first SLC team to reach 27 wins in the regular season, tying the program's most in the Division I era, with two games remaining before the conference tournament. The 'Jacks had 26 regular season wins in 2012-13.
Before SFA's win over the Lions (11-16, 6-10 SLC), the last conference team that was truly recognized for going undefeated on the road was Arkansas State in 1966-67 when it was 8-0 SLC and 4-0 on road. In 1972-73 Louisiana-Lafayette finished 6-0 (12-0 SLC), but all wins were later forfeited due to NCAA sanctions. Louisiana Tech is listed as 8-0 in league play in 1971-72, but it technically was 6-2 in conference and 3-1 on the road. It was later awarded two league wins (one road win) when ULL forfeited all eight league games that season.
The `Jacks picked up their 12th straight win away from their home court to tie No. 2 Wichita State for the nation's longest active road streak, while also extending their nation-leading overall road wins to 14. SFA also extend its overall win streak to 24 straight, which ranks second nationally, behind only WSU.
Haymon, who passed Eddie Williams (91) with his 92nd victory of his career, paced the `Jacks against the SELU with a team-high 17 points. The native of Pickens, Miss., finished 6-of-15 from the floor with three buckets beyond the arc and two made free throws.
Seniors Deshaunt Walker and Nikola Gajic also delivered key performances in the win. Walker finished with 16 points off the bench, draining all five of his made field goals from three-point land, while Gajic pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.
The `Jacks held a 30-13 advantage in points off of turnovers and a 17-2 mark in second-chance opportunities.
The Lions kept it close in the early going, but with SFA up 14-12 (12:27), a made three-pointer from Haymon sparked an 11-0 run for the `Jacks push themselves out front 25-12.
The double-figure lead for SFA built to as high as 18 points (34-16), never faltering, as the `Jacks took a 41-31 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, SELU cut the lead to seven points at 56-49, before Walker sparked a 14-0 run. Walker made three straight three-pointers, followed by a made layup from Gajic, before draining one more to make it 70-49 SFA to put it out of reach.
The `Jacks will close their regular season schedule with two games at home in Week 18, hosting Oral Roberts and Central Arkansas. The Saturday, Mar. 8, game with UCA will be aired on ESPN3 and will also serve as senior night for Gajic, Haymon and Walker.