`Jacks Punch Ticket To Big Dance
March 15, 2009
KATY, Texas - Eddie Williams scored 10 of his 16 points in the second period and Matt Kingsley poured in 20 points to lead Stephen F. Austin to a 68-57 win over UTSA Sunday in the championship game of the 2009 State Farm Southland Conference Tournament. The victory puts SFA in the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history.
SFA had reached the championship game of the SLC Tournament twice before under head coach Danny Kaspar, falling in close games each time. Sunday's win continues a season that saw the Lumberjacks go 24-7 and earn the program's second consecutive regular-season SLC title.
The Lumberjacks led by as many as 13 in the second period before UTSA cut the margin to five with 2:10 to play on a layup by Devin Gibson. But SFA fired right back, running the break off the made basket with Williams driving hard down the court to feed Josh Alexander for a layup to push the lead back to seven.
That bucket started a 7-0 run, as UTSA was unable to connect on its next three possessions and had to foul the Lumberjacks. SFA went 5-of-6 from the stripe down the stretch, with Kingsley sinking 1-of-2 with 28 seconds remaining to give his team a 12-point lead and seal the victory. Travis Gabbidon converted a foul shot with eight seconds left to set the final count.
Bell dished out a season-high nine assists and ripped off three steals.
Gibson led all players with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He was named to the all-tournament team, joining Alexander and Williams. Kingsley was named the tournament MVP, marking the first repeat selection to the honorary squad in program history and becoming the first Lumberjack to earn the Most Valuable Player award.
SFA trailed by five, 22-17, with 10:17 to play in the first half, but the Lumberjacks closed the period on a 20-6 run to take a 37-28 lead to the locker room.
The Roadrunners were just 2-for-7 from the field to finish the half after shooting better than 60 percent for the first 10 minutes. UTSA drained four of its first five 3-pointers in the first period but missed its last six attempts from distance.
Kingsley had 13 points at the break after leading SFA to an 18-6 advantage in the paint. The Lumberjacks held a 15-10 edge in rebounding at halftime. He scored six points during SFA's big run to end the first half. Williams also chipped in with six, knifing to the hoop for layups on three occasions.
SFA shot 54 percent for the game and held UTSA to 41.2 percent, including a 25.9-percent effort from 3-point range. The Lumberjacks finished with a 29-27 advantage on the boards, led by seven rebounds from Alexander.
SFA will learn its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday night when the CBS Selection Special airs nationally. The program is set to begin at 5 p.m. central.
-- SFA --