SFA Downs Islanders on Homecoming

CORPUS CHRISTI – Antonio Bostic led an efficient Stephen F. Austin offense with 18 points, and the Lumberjacks came away with a 64-49 victory over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Homecoming Saturday night at the American Bank Center. Terence Jones carried the load offensively for the Islanders, scoring 20 points, his second game in a row with 20 plus.

Jereal Scott (13) and Hal Bateman (12) each finished in double figures for SFA, which improved to 11-9 (5-2 Southland). The Islanders fell to 4-16 overall and 3-5 in conference action in front of a crowd of 2,327.

Stephen F. Austin made a huge impact on the boards, outrebounding the Islanders 39-27, with a 13-6 advantage on the offensive glass. The 'Jacks also committed just 10 turnovers and outshot the home squad 43.6 percent to 40.4 percent. SFA converted A&M – Corpus Christi's 14 turnovers to 17 points.

Early on, the Islanders got out to a 5-4 lead on a Dempsey jumper and a Jones three, but the Lumberjacks responded with four straight points to regain an 8-5 advantage. The Islanders responded with three straight points to tie the game, but SFA scored another rally, this one 8-0, to push the lead to 16-8.

Johnathan Jordan broke the string with a mid-range jumper, but SFA pushed its lead to 20-10 with a pair of field goals and several defensive stops. But the Islanders struck back, with a Jason Smith triple from the left wing and a dunk by Dempsey on a back-door cut to trim the deficit to just five. A Jereal Scott layup pushed it back to a seven-point game, then Antonio Bostic buried a jumper from the lane after a steal to make it a 24-15 game with 2:04 left. 

The Islanders looked to trim the deficit on a Jones floater on the next possession, but the junior was called for a travel just prior to the bucket, and Bostic drained a three at the other end to balloon the lead to 12 points. Desmond Haymon finished off the scoring with a triple on the 'Jacks' final possession to make it a 30-15 game at the half.

Out of the half, A&M-Corpus Christi came out red-hot from the field, jumping on SFA with a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to just seven at 34-27. Chris Hawkins-Mast, who was without a field goal attempt in the opening 20 minutes, drilled his first three shots after the break, including a three, to help the rally. But SFA came right back, delivering an 11-2 run to push the lead to a game-high 16 with the score 45-29.

The Islanders had another run in them, a quick-hit 4-0, but again SFA was able to counter. This time, the 'Jacks used a 6-1 rally and suddenly the deficit reached 17 with eight minutes remaining. Jones broke that with a mid-range jumper, but from there on it was a back-and-forth affair the rest of the way, as for every Islanders offensive conversion, the Lumberjacks were able to do their duty at the free-throw line to finish off the game. 

The Islanders now will embark on a three-game, six-day road trip, with games at Nicholls, Northwestern State and Savannah State. A&M – Corpus Christi opens the trip with a Wednesday, Feb. 1, matchup with the Colonels in Thibodaux, La., at 7 p.m. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and on GoIslanders.com.