SFA Squashes Each NT Rally, Pulls Away Late For 59-48 Win
Williams Moves Into Sole Possession Of 10th Place On Program's Career 3-Point List
Jordan Williams paced North Texas with 15 points at SFA, and moved into 10th place in school history in career 3-pointers with 114.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Jordan Williams and North Texas spent the afternoon reeling in Stephen F. Austin, but the Lumberjacks had the answer for every Mean Green rally in a 59-48 win at William R. Johnson Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The senior led North Texas (4-4) with 15 points, and on three occasions helped claw his squad back from double-digit deficits. Each rally brought the Mean Green back to within two scores or less, but SFA was able to separate late and close the game with five free throws in the final 1:14.
"I'm proud of the fact that we made some plays to get back into this game, but we just turned it over too many times and you can't do that against such a quality team like SFA," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "We had our opportunities to take control of this game, but we simply made too many mistakes down the stretch."
A Jeremy Combs free throw with 12:56 remaining capped an 8-0 Mean Green run and made it a three-point ballgame, 34-31. That's when SFA answered with an 8-2 run that put the Jacks right back in the driver's seat.
Down just six points with 3:51 remaining, North Texas couldn't convert two looks at the bucket and SFA's Thomas Walkup marched down the court and hit a dagger of a 3-pointer to that put things out of reach for NT.
North Texas did a nice job defending the SFA leading scorer, Jacob Parker, holding the 15.0 point per game scorer to just seven - four of which came on free throws in the final 32 seconds.
Overall, NT held the Jacks to 33.3 percent shooting, but turned the ball over 18 times. SFA turned those 18 giveaways into 21 points.
Williams opened the game with a tough drive to the bucket to give NT an early lead, but the Mean Green wouldn't hit another field goal for 6:23. That dry spell allowed SFA to open up a 9-2 edge with a trio of mid-range jumpers, and they would not relinquish that early lead for the remainder of the afternoon.
Jordan Williams moved into sole possesion of 10th place in NT career history with his 114 career make from 3-point. The senior passed Tom Etchison, who hit 112 3-pointers from 1993-95.
Williams led NT with 15 points, and now has 1,154 for his career. That mark ranks 15th in program history. Williams is chasing NT Hall of Famer Willie Davis, who is in 14th place with 1,166 points.
Freshman Jeremy Combs tallied a game-high 11 rebounds, which is a personal best and a team season high.
The series with SFA, which began in 1925-26, is now tied at 35 wins apiece. SFA has now taken the last two meetings. These two programs shared three different conference rivalries over the last 89 years - Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1926-31), Lone Star (1932-49) and Southland (1988-96).
SFA is the two-time defending Southland Conference champions, and is is coming off a dream season in 2013-14 that included 32 wins and a victory in the NCAA Tournament.
SFA won its sixth straight game, while NT dropped its third consecutive contest.
Chris Campball saw his first action in a Mean Green uniform.
The Mean Green heads back to Denton for a lunch-time tipoff against Langston on Wednesday. Thousands of students from Denton ISD and surrounding districts will pack the Super Pit for the 11:30 a.m. game.