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A Wild Saturday in the Southland

Five of the six games on tonight's Southland slate were decided by a total of just 15 points, with four games decided at the final buzzer. The end result? Behind unbeaten SFA, the top of the SLC standings remain crowded.

John Jordan and the "Road Warrior" Islanders are in the thick of the Southland race
John Jordan and the "Road Warrior" Islanders are in the thick of the Southland race
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 70, at Nicholls 67: The most anticipated game of the day lived up to the billing and then some, as TAMUCC escaped Stopher Gym in Thibodaux with a hard fought win. The win improves the Islanders (5-1, 8-11) to an impressive 4-0 in conference road games this season, with three of those wins against other teams near the top of the standings.

The game went back and forth for the first 32 minutes, but the Islanders seized control with just under eight minutes to play. TAMUCC scored 10 consecutive points to turn a six point deficit into a four point lead that they would never relinquish. Nicholls (4-2, 7-8) had the ball for the final possession but Jeremy Smith's potential game tying three pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.

John Jordan and Jake Kocher led a balanced TAMUCC attack scoring 13 points each while Joy Williamson added seven points and 11 rebounds. Smith poured in 17 for Nicholls leading all scorers while Dantrell Thomas added 11 points, seven boards and three assists.

Oral Roberts 79, at Incarnate Word 77: Shawn Glover's jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining lifted Oral Roberts past a really game Incarnate Word, capping off a wild week for the Golden Eagles. As recently as Thursday morning, ORU (4-1, 10-8) was going to be forced to forfeit both their games this week. A last minute NCAA waiver allowed the games to be played and ORU turned two losses in the Southland standings into two hard fought wins.

ORU jumped out to a double digit lead early but the Cardinals, led by Denzel Livingston's 18 first half points, never wavered tying the game in the closing seconds of the half. UIW (2-2, 14-3) grabbed their first lead with around 17 minutes to play and the game stayed within two possessions the rest of the way. Glover took over down the stretch, scoring 10 of ORU's final 12 points including two tie breaking jumpers in the final minute.

For the 12th time this season, Glover topped 20 points as he led ORU with 24. Bobby Word scored 17, stroking in all five of his three point attempts. DJ Jackson added 14 points, seven assists, and five boards. UIW was led by Livingston's 26 points, and Anthony Horton's 18.

at McNeese 70, Houston Baptist 68: Kevin Hardy's driving dunk with 7.2 seconds left won it as McNeese overcame their pesky visitors, Houston Baptist. McNeese (4-2, 6-12) led throughout but could never put the Huskies away. HBU (1-5, 4-14) used a 14-4 run to take their first lead with three minutes to play, but the Cowboys responded scoring three times in the final two minutes. After the Hardy dunk, HBU's Rob Lewis had a look at a game winning three but missed at the buzzer. HBU's last three games have come down to the final second, with the Huskies losing two of the three.

Ledrick Eackles led McNeese with 20 points after making six of seven three point attempts in the first half. Hardy scored 15, with seven rebounds and six assists. HBU got 18 points from Caleb Crayton and 15 from Cody Joyce.

at Abilene Christian 73, Central Arkansas 72: The most exciting finish of the day came at Moody Coliseum in Abilene, Texas as the ACU Wildcats picked up their first DI win of the season rallying from 10 down in the final 10:34 to win as time expired. Parker Wentz scored six points in the final minute including, following a UCA made basket with 4.2 seconds left, racing the length of the court and getting a layup off in time that was goaltended as the buzzer sounded for the winning points.

ACU, still playing without their two leading scorers Harrison Hawkins and LaDarrien Williams, were led by Wentz's game high 21 points. Michael Grant, averaging 3.7 points this season, scored 17 for the Wildcats (1-3, 7-11.) LaQuentin Miles led the Bears (1-4, 5-11) with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

Sam Houston State 77, at New Orleans 70: In what was a very tight game, Sam Houston used a 10-0 second half run to take a nine point lead and pull away from the Privateers. The Bearkats (5-1, 13-5) made 9-of-20 three point attempts in the game, seven coming in the second half. Kaheem Ransom scored 21 for SHSU, while New Orleans (2-4, 5-9) was led by Traddarius McPhearson's 16.

at Southeastern Louisiana 91, Lamar 65: The only blowout of the day came in Hammond, Louisiana as the Lions made 16 three point baskets in the rout of Lamar. JaMichael Hawkins led SLU (3-3, 8-9) with 25 points, including six three pointers. Pat Knight's Cardinals (0-6, 1-17) were led by Donovan Ross who had 15 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Southland Standings as of Jan 18

1. Stephen F. Austin 5-0, 16-2

2. Sam Houston St 5-1, 13-5

2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5-1, 8-11

4. Oral Roberts 4-1, 10-8

5. Nicholls 4-2, 7-8

5. McNeese 4-2, 6-12

7. Southeastern Louisiana 3-3, 8-9

N/A New Orleans 2-4, 5-9

8. Central Arkansas 1-4, 5-11

8. Northwestern St 1-4, 5-11

10. Houston Baptist 1-5, 4-14

11. Lamar 0-6, 1-17

N/A Incarnate Word (2-2, 14-3) and Abilene Christian (1-3, 7-11)

The Top 8 qualify for the Southland Tournament. New Orleans, Abilene Christian, and Incarnate Word are ineligible this season