Nov. 18, 2008
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley combined for 38 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 29.8-percent effort from the field Tuesday night as Stephen F. Austin dropped a 55-48 decision at Texas A&M.
Alexander led all scorers with a season-high 21 points, and Kingsley had a strong night at the foul line to finish with 17, as the Lumberjacks evened their record at 1-1 with the defeat, while Texas A&M moved to 2-0 on the season.
SFA never trailed by more than seven until the final seconds, and the score was tied at 42 with five minutes left. But only five Lumberjacks hit shots from the floor, and no one but Kingsley and Alexander had more than one bucket from the field. In 32 games last season, SFA never shot worse than 30 percent.
"A&M played great defense, but a big part of our problem was our shot selection, and that's something we've got to correct," said SFA head coach Danny Kaspar.
SFA went to the locker room at halftime locked in a 29-29 tie, thanks largely to the scoring of its top two returning players. Seniors Kingsley and Alexander led all players at the break with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
But Alexander was 3-of-6 in the second period - all from 3-point range - and Kingsley failed to connect from the field after halftime.
"They did a good job of shutting Matt down (after halftime), and nobody stepped up besides Josh," Kaspar said. "I'm probably going to look at this tape later and say, 'How'd we stay so close?'"
Kingsley and Alexander were the only two players to record field goals until Girod Adams hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 15 seconds left in the first half. Aaron Smith's free throw at the 16:41 mark provided the only other scoring of the half for SFA.
The Lumberjacks took their largest lead of the half at the 11:52 mark on the first of four first-half threes by Alexander. SFA held the advantage until A&M took the lead, 16-15, on a 3-pointer by Donald Sloan with 7:08 to play. Alexander answered with a triple to put SFA back in front, and the lead changed hands just once more down the stretch before Adams' 3-pointer tied it at 29.
The Lumberjacks shot just 36 percent from the floor in the opening period. SFA shot worse than that in the first half only four times all of the 2007-08 season.
SFA's shooting woes continued into the second half, as the Lumberjacks missed their first three shots after the break. Alexander broke the drought and the halftime tie with a 3-pointer nearly two minutes in, but the Lumberjacks shot just 14 percent from the field in the half's first 12 minutes.
During the same stretch, the Aggies were only slightly better at 23.5 percent, but gradually extended their lead to 42-35, the largest of the night, to that point, with 8:30 remaining.
SFA pulled to within five at 42-37 on a pair of Kingsley free throws at the seven-minute mark. Three possessions and two A&M turnovers later, sophomore Eddie Williams got his first points of the game on a three with 5:20 left. A&M's Dash Harris was whistled for a technical foul immediately following Williams' 3-pointer, and Kingsley sank both free throws to tie the game at 42.
Josh Carter put the Aggies back in front with a pair of free throws at the other end. Kingsley had his shot from down low blocked on the ensuing possession, and A&M got two free throws by Carter to take a 46-42 lead with 3:40 remaining.
A&M got a huge bucket with 1:09 left when Nathan Walkup hit a long jumper with the shot clock winding down to give the Aggies a 48-42 lead. SFA turned the ball over on its next possession and was forced to foul to stop the clock. Walkup was the player fouled and hit both free throws to make it a 50-45 game.
SFA's Aaron Smith checked in for Nick Shaw, who fouled out putting Walkup on the stripe, and immediately hit a 3-pointer to bring SFA back to within five points. Sloan hit both foul shots at the other end, but Alexander canned a 3-pointer to keep the `Jacks within four at 52-48 with 12 seconds left.
Sloan was pure again on a pair of free throws to make it a six-point game, and SFA could not score again. A&M leading scorer Bryan Davis sank one foul shot to set the final score.
In all, SFA was 14-for-47 from the floor and 10-of-21 from 3-point range, led there by Alexander's 7-for-10 performance. The Aggies beat SFA on the boards, 37-28, paced by 11 rebounds from Walkup. Kingsley, who went 9-for-12 at the foul line, led SFA with nine rebounds and posted three blocked shots. Junior point guard Eric Bell went 0-for-3 from the field but pulled down three rebounds and had a game-high eight assists against just one turnover.
The Lumberjacks will be back in action next Tuesday when they travel to take on Louisiana-Monroe.
-- SFA --