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    SFA Blasts Howard Payne In Season Opener
    Desmond Haymon had 16 points and seven rebounds in Friday's win over HPU.
    Desmond Haymon had 16 points and seven rebounds in Friday's win over HPU.

    Nov. 9, 2012

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    NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin's defense didn't allow Howard Payne to score 20 points in either half as it cruised to an 84-30 season-opening victory Friday night in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. With the victory head coach Danny Kaspar improves to 9-4 in season openers.

    The Lumberjacks (1-0) finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor, including a 19-of-33 (.576) performance in the second half, while holding Howard Payne (0-1) to a 15-of-46 (33 percent) effort. SFA showed signs of being an improved team from long range knocking down 10 three-point shots, its most since Chicago State in 2010. SFA also held a 44-27 advantage on the glass, including 16 offensive rebounds.

    The Lumberjacks jumped out to an 8-0 lead, and didn't surrender their first basket of the game until 15:31 remaining in the opening half. The six-point deficit would be as close as to victory as the Yellow Jackets would get as the `Jacks closed out the half on a 15-2 run, SFA took a 36-14 lead into the locker room sparked by three SFA triples in the final 1:28 of the half.

    The `Jacks were 13-of-36 (36 percent) from the floor in the opening half, but converted 5-of-11 (46 percent) from beyond the three-point line. Junior Desmond Haymon scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the opening half, including a 3-of-3 performance from beyond the arc.

    SFA's defense never allowed Howard Payne to get back into the contest. The Lumberjacks surrendered only seven first-half field goals, and forced the Yellow Jackets into 13 turnovers. In addition to their offensive woes, Howard Payne was outrebounded, 26-14, in the opening 20 minutes.

    The `Jacks received a huge lift from their bench outscoring the Yellow Jacket reserves, 50-12. Five different players scored in double-figures led by Haymon's 16. Junior Deshaunt Walker added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, while senior Taylor Smith scored 12, and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Senior Hal Bateman was unable to get into the scoring column, but finished the game with a career-high 11 assists. Bateman's career-high was the most assist for a Lumberjack since Eric Bell had 11 at Northern Illinois in 2007.

    Redshirt freshman Thomas Walkup also had an impressive collegiate debut, hitting all five of his shots from the floor for 11 points and four rebounds in just 15 minutes of work.

    The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, Nov. 17, when they travel to Miami, Fla., to take on Florida International. The game against the Golden Panthers is slated to begin at 1 p.m. (noon Nacogdoches time).

    -SFA-

      COMING SOON