March 21, 2014
Final Stats | Press Conference | Photo Gallery
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team closed out regulation on a four-point play from senior Desmond Haymon to tie it 67-67 and then outscored VCU 10-8 in overtime to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 77-75 victory Friday evening at Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl, the program's first-ever win in the big dance.
Haymon and the Lumberjacks (32-2) trailed the Rams (26-9) by five points (66-61) with 32 seconds remaining and made a charge in the final minute.
After a made jumper from Haymon, who finished with 17 points, cut the lead to three, VCU's Briante Weber hit a free throw to push it to 67-63 with 21 seconds remaining. In the next possession, sophomore Thomas Walkup made a move in the paint to open up Haymon, who then knocked down a three-pointer with five seconds remaining, drawing the foul for the and-one.
Out of a timeout, Haymon went to the line with the season on the line and sunk his free throw to tie it 67-67 in the waning seconds.
Haymon finished 5-of-12 from the field, with three made shots beyond the arc, and 4-of-5 from the line, while collecting seven rebounds to help the team pick up their 29th straight overall win. The win is the 32nd for the team this season, setting a new record for most wins in a single season.
Junior Jacob Parker led SFA offensively with a game-high 22 points. The native of Bixby, Okla., was 9-of-14 from the in the win, finishing 2-for-2 from both the three-point and free throw line.
Walkup recorded his third double-double of the season, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The `Jacks outshot VCU 52.9 percent (27-51) to 46.2 percent (30-65), all while taking 14 less attempts than the Rams.
Up 36-30 at the start of the second half, the VCU opened the second 20-minute span on a 11-5 run to tie it 41-41 (13:24) and then continued with a 13-2 run to take a 54-43, holding SFA scoreless for 5:01.
In the first half, there were a combined nine lead changes, with the two teams drawing even on five separate occasions, before the `Jacks prevailed with a 36-30 lead heading into the break. SFA, after yielding the first points of the game on a made jumper, went on a 6-0 run over the next 1:30 to take a 6-2 lead over the Rams, The advantage remained in favor of the `Jacks, despite one tie, until a made three-pointer from Doug Brooks gave VCU their first lead since the 19:39 mark.
For each tie or swing in possession, SFA always had an answer, until Walkup drained his lone shot beyond the arc of the game to give the `Jacks a 29-28 (2:18) edge. Walkup and SFA limited the Rams to just one made basket across the final two minutes of the half to take a 36-30 lead into the lockerroom.
Parker led the way for the `Jacks in the first half with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including one three-pointer, and Walkup and Gajic each followed with three made baskets of their own. Walkup was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field with a one from three-point land to finish with seven points, while Gajic was 3-of-5 for six points.
SFA will play the winner of No. 4 seeded UCLA and No. 13 seeded Tulsa on Sunday, Mar. 23.
Stephen F. Austin – Post-Game Locker Room Quotes
Thomas Walkup, So., G, Pasadena, TX
On emotion after the win:
“It’s exhilarating. It’s an emotional high…. Getting a big time win, especially in that way, it’s just great to play in a game like that.”
On Desmond Haymon and the last play of regulation:
“I was going after a quick 2 (pointer) and then trying to get a quick turnover. Obviously, Dez called for it and when Dez calls for it, he doesn’t miss.”
On 29 game winning streak:
“I forgot what it feels like to lose. That’s the only thing that’s acceptable around here anymore. That’s the culture we built and that’s the culture we are going to keep.”
Connor Brooks, Jr., G/F, Manhattan, KS.
On the meaning of win for the program:
“I think (the win) is huge. We are looking to continue to build a foundation for the program.”
On sustaining composure in 2nd half:
“We knew VCU was going to make a run, that’s what they do. They are a great basketball team. We just tried to keep our composure and stay poised. We knew we could climb back into it and give ourselves a chance to win.”