`Jacks Blast UT Arlington
March 10, 2010
KATY, Texas - Stephen F. Austin got a big first-half performance from Orren Tims, and Eddie Williams provided the encore after intermission, as the Lumberjacks rolled to a 77-54 win over UT Arlington Wednesday in the opening round of the State Farm Southland Conference Tournament at the Merrell Center. The 23-point margin of victory is the largest ever for a Lumberjack team in a Southland Tournament game at a neutral site.
SFA led from the opening possession and stretched its margin as wide as 31 points during the second half. The win improves the No. 2 seed Lumberjacks to 22-8 on the season, while No. 7 UTA is eliminated from tournament play with a 16-14 record.
SFA is into the tournament semifinals for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Lumberjacks will play No. 3 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6:00 p.m. Thursday. The Islanders knocked off No. 6 UTSA, 78-66, in Wednesday's first-round game. Thursday's semifinal match-up will be broadcast live on SLC-TV.
Wednesday, Williams stuck a 3-pointer on the Lumberjacks' first possession, and UTA answered with two free throws from Trey Parker. But the Mavericks went on a six-minute scoring drought allowing SFA to build a 15-2 lead by the 12:56 mark. Tims sank a jumper and got to the rim for two layups to score the last six points of the run, but he wasn't finished by far.
The junior forward scored five of the Lumberjacks' next seven points and connected on his first six shots of the game before finally missing a 3-point attempt with 6:59 to play. By that point, SFA had a 29-12 lead, and Tims had 13 points. He would add two more on a jumper to finish the half just two points shy of his career-high, 17 points.
The Mavs sank four of their last five free throws and got a shot clock-beating layup by leading scorer Marquez Haynes with 31 seconds to play to avoid becoming the sixth Lumberjack opponent this season to be held below 20 points in the first half. SFA led, 33-20, at the break.
UTA opened the second period with a flurry, as Haynes hit a layup and a 3-pointer on the Mavericks' first two possessions to get within 10 points at 35-25.
But Williams answered the 3-pointer with an old-fashioned three-point play as he was fouled on a layup and converted the free throw at the other end. After a Jordan Glynn jumper, Williams got another layup to make it a 15-point SFA lead.
The Mavs then went the next 8:19 without a field goal. During the drought, Williams went to work on the offensive end. He scored 13 of SFA's next 15 points, including a run of three straight 3-pointers to put the Lumberjacks up by 28 (55-27) with 12:06 to play.
By the time the UTA shooting drought ended with a Tommy Moffitt 3-pointer at the 9:57 mark, SFA held a 58-29 lead and would not look back, coasting to the easy win.
Williams led all scorers with 22 points, three off his career high, and set a new career mark with five 3-pointers. He hit four of the threes in the second half, when he scored 19 points. The Second-Team All-Southland Conference honoree finished with eight rebounds, second on the team.
Tims added two points in the second period to tie the career-high 17 he scored against UTA in the regular season. Denzel Barnes scored 11 points with a game-high six assists, and Jereal Scott put up 10 points and eight rebounds despite playing just 14 minutes due to foul trouble. Glynn finished with seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Haynes, the Southland Player of the Year, scored 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Dwight Gentry and Brandon Long joined him in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
SFA outrebounded UTA, 42-17, and the Mavericks' 17 boards are a season-low for Lumberjack opponents.
The Lumberjacks' .583 shooting percentage is their third-best of the season and the best performance they've put on in the Merrell Center since the Southland Tournament moved there in 2008.
With the win, SFA improves to 8-6, all-time, in Southland Tournament openers. The Lumberjacks are now 2-0 against UT Arlington in tournament play, having knocked off the Mavericks, 69-68, in Arlington in the 2004 semifinals.
-- SFA --