NACOGDOCHES - Stephen F. Austin extended a pair of winning streaks Thursday night at the expense of the ACU Wildcats, but it wasn't as easy as the final score indicates.
The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 12-0 lead and went on to a 64-48 win over the Wildcats in Southland Conference men's basketball action at William R. Johnson Coliuseum. The win for the Lumberjacks pushes their home-court winning streak to 27 games, the second-longest winning streak in the country (Duke has a 28-game home-court winning streak), and pushes their overall winning streak to 15 straight.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 7-14 overall and 1-6 in the Southland as they dropped their third straight game in league play. SFA, meanwhile, improves to 19-2 and 8-0 as the Lumberjacks remain the only unbeaten team in league play. ACU will be back in action Saturday at 3 p.m. against Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La.
The Wildcats were again without their two leading scorers in guards LaDarrien Williams and Harrison Hawkins, leaving them short offensively against the best defensive team in the Southland and one of the top defensive teams in NCAA Division I basketball.
The Lumberjacks made every possession a grind with their in-your-face man-to-man defense, eventually forcing 21 Wildcat turnovers. The Jacks finished with 11 blocked shots and 11 steals, forced one 10-second violation in the backcourt and two five-second violation turnovers in the contest.
Yet through all of that, the Wildcats kept battling, just as they have all season against one of the nation's toughest schedules. The Wildcats managed to cut the lead to 39-25 at the half behind seven points from Julian Edmonson and six from Parker Wentz.
ACU got the deficit down to 11 points (46-35) with 13:53 to play on a Jacob Lancaster bucket after a feed from Wentz, bringing the Wildcats as close as they had been since early in the first half. The Wildcats had a couple of chances to get the deficit to single digits, but each time SFA's defense rose up and made a stop when the Lumberjacks had to have one.
SFA took its first 20-point lead of the night with six minutes to play on a dunk by Deshaunt Walker to make it 56-35. That was as large as the lead would get for the Lumberjacks.
Julian Edmonson finished with a team-high 16 points off the Wildcats' bench, while Wentz had 11 points, three assists and two rebounds in 39 minutes.
Information provided by ACU Athletics.