1. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (7-0, 18-2): Stephen F. Austin continues to impress, and their stronghold on the Southland's #1 seed keeps getting tighter. In a week that saw every one-loss team lose at least once, the Lumberjacks stayed unbeaten by winning a pair of road games.
On Thursday, SFA stole a win in the closing seconds at Oral Roberts, winning 72-69. They trailed for more than 30 minutes in Tulsa before their late heroics. Jacob Parker led the Jacks with 19 points. On Saturday, SFA battled through an unexpectedly tough game at Central Arkansas before pulling away for a 66-49 win. SFA dominated the boards, out rebounding the Bears 39-20. Parker scored 21 points with 11 rebounds while Deshaunt Walker scored 19 off the bench.
Let's talk streaks for the Lumberjacks, who come in at #9 in this week's Mid-Major Madness Power 15. These wins give SFA a 14 game winning streak, good for fifth most in the country. Their road winning streak is now at eight games, which is the longest current streak in the country. When they return home on Thursday, the Jacks will be putting a 26 game home court winning streak on the line, which at the time was good for the longest such streak in the country. And while not a streak, I'll mention that Head Coach Brad Underwood has set an SFA record with 18 victories in his first year at the helm of the Lumberjacks program. It's been a special season so far in Nacogdoches, Texas.
Next week: Thu vs ACU, Sat vs UIW
2. Sam Houston State Bearkats (6-2, 14-6): Sam Houston earned a split in a pair of road games this week. On Thursday, the Bearkats learned what several other SLC members have already learned. Incarnate Word is no joke. SHSU trailed by as many as 16 before falling 85-74 in San Antonio. James Thomas led the Kats with 18 points while Jabari Peters had 16. On Saturday, Sam bounced back by handling Abilene Christian 70-51. Thomas and Peters again led the Kats, each scoring 12 points in the win.
Next week: Thu vs TAMUCC, Sat vs HBU
2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders (6-2, 9-12): TAMUCC split a pair of home games this week. On Thursday, the Islanders rallied from nine down in the second half to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 74-71. A 13-1 run midway through the second half regained the lead for TAMUCC, but they watched as an SLU three pointer at the buzzer rimmed out to survive with the win. John Jordan scored 14 points with nine assists and Zane Knowles had 11 points and 11 boards, but leading scorer that night was Jake Kocher who had 15 points off the bench. On Saturday, the Islanders had their worst shooting night in quite awhile as they fell 70-62 to New Orleans. TAMUCC shot just 34.5% from the floor, including 0-for-8 from behind the arc. They also made just 24-of-41 from the free throw line and committed 17 turnovers. Jordan scored 20 points, but made only half of his free throw attempts going 8-for-16 from the line. The dynamic guard added seven assists and three steals in the loss.
Next week: Thu at SHSU, Sat at Lamar
4. Nicholls Colonels (5-2, 8-8): JP Piper's Colonels continue to play well and hang near the top of the Southland standings. This week Nicholls went on the road and won an overtime affair at McNeese, 87-79. The game featured 10 ties and 21 lead changes. The Nicholls duo of Dantrell Thomas and Jeremy Smith once again proved too much for an opponent to overcome. Thomas scored 27 points with 11 rebounds while Smith scored 25, including the game-tying bucket in the closing seconds.
Next week: Thu vs ORU, Sat vs UCA
5. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (4-3, 10-10): Oral Roberts entered this week with just one conference loss and had the opportunity to move into first place with a pair of home games. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, they lost both in a pair of good, tight games. On Thursday, unbeaten league leader Stephen F. Austin escaped Tulsa with a 72-69 win over ORU. As is usually the case, Shawn Glover led ORU with 27 points and 10 rebounds. On Saturday, ORU dropped an 87-83 decision to Northwestern State. Glover scored a career high 32 points, but his three pointer at the buzzer missed. Glover has now scored 20+ points 13 times this season. Korey Billbury had a career night himself in the loss, scoring 29 points.
Next week: Thu at Nicholls, Sat at McNeese
5. McNeese State Cowboys (4-3, 6-13): McNeese lost in very disappointing fashion on Tuesday, dropping an 87-79 decision in overtime at home to Nicholls. The Cowboys allowed the tying basket in the final seconds of regulation, then Ledrick Eackles missed an open look at the buzzer. McNeese was then dominated in overtime as they made just 2-of-15 field goals (2-of-10 from three) and 1-of-4 from the free throw line in the extra period. For the game, the Cowboys made just 13-of-29 from the free throw line. Keelan Garrett led the Pokes scoring 21 points off the bench. Eackles had 17 points, five rebounds, five steals, and three assists. McNeese star Kevin Hardy had six rebounds and six assists, but scored just six points.
Next week: Thu vs UCA, Sat vs ORU
7. Southeastern Louisiana Lions (4-4, 9-10): Southeastern split a pair of road games this week. On Thursday, the Lions held a nine point lead in the middle of the second half before falling 74-71 to Texas A&M-CC. JaMichael Hawkinshad a three in the air at the buzzer that fell just short. Antonnio Benton had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Lions. Hawkins added 14 points off the bench. On Saturday, Southeastern rallied to beat Houston Baptist 60-52. The Lions, who outscored the Huskies 29-12 to close the game, were led by Dre Evans (17 points) and Hawkins (15 points.)
Thu vs UNO
N/A New Orleans Privateers (4-4, 7-9): Freshman Christavious Gill returned from injury and picked up right where he left off, helping lead New Orleans to a pair of road wins. On Thursday, Gill scored 18 as UNO beat HBU 79-66 for their first ever Southland road win. The Privateers dominated the glass 41-22 and committed just 10 turnovers. On Saturday, Gill scored 19 as the Privateers knocked off second place Texas A&M-CC 70-62. Tradarrius McPhearson scored 14 while Cory Dixon added 12 points and 16 rebounds. Kevin Hill remarkably blocked seven shots, adding seven points and five rebounds.
Next week: Thu at SLU
8. Northwestern State Demons (3-4, 7-11): One of the preseason favorites, Northwestern State may be starting to figure it out. The Demons swept a pair of road games this week defeating Central Arkansas 76-68 on Thursday before getting a big 87-83 win at Oral Roberts on Saturday. Against UCA, the Demons made 31 of 37 from the free throw line to slowly pull away from the Bears. Jalan West scored 28 points. DeQuan Hicks, coming off the bench, scored 17 with 11 rebounds and three assists. Against ORU, the game was tied with 3:45 to play when two of West's five assists set up a pair of huge three pointers. The Demons free throw shooting was again a key factor in the win as they sank 22 of 25. West also scored 18 points. Hicks, again coming off the bench, had another big contribution with 17 points and 11 boards.
Next week: Thu vs UIW, Sat vs ACU
9. Central Arkansas Bears (1-6, 4-14): UCA lost a pair of hard fought home games this week falling 76-68 to Northwestern State and 66-49 to Stephen F. Austin. LaQuentin Miles scored 23 points both games adding eight rebounds on Thursday and four rebounds and three assists on Saturday.
Next week: Thu at McNeese, Sat at Nicholls
10. Houston Baptist Huskies (1-7, 4-16): HBU dropped a pair of home games and have now lost 11 of their last 12. On Thursday, the Huskies fell to New Orleans 79-66. Caleb Crayton led HBU with 14 points, five rebounds, and three assists. On Saturday, HBU lost to Southeastern Louisiana 60-52. HBU held a seven point lead at the under-12 media timeout, but made just three field goals the rest of the game. Freshman guard Reveal Chukwujekwu, making his first career start, led the Huskies with 12 points and eight boards.
Next week: Thu at Lamar, Sat at SHSU
10. Lamar Cardinals (1-7, 2-18): Lamar split a pair of road games this week, ending their 14 game losing streak. On Thursday, Amos Wilson scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Cardinals beat Abilene Christian 65-57. On Saturday, Lamar fell to The University of the Incarnate Word 75-64. The Cardinals battled despite losing one of their key players Rhon Mitchell early in the game. Nimrod Hilliard led LU with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Next week: Thu vs HBU, Sat vs TAMUCC
N/A Incarnate Word Cardinals (4-2, 16-3): Of the three home wins this week in the SLC, two of them belonged to Incarnate Word who continues to impress. The Cardinals handily defeated second place Sam Houston State 85-74 on Thursday. Denzel Livingston continues to play like an All-Conference performer. He lit up the stat page in the win over SHSU, scoring 20 points with seven rebounds, 7 assists, and four steals. In Saturday's 75-64 win over Lamar, Livingston scored 27 points with seven steals. He has scored at least 17 points in each of his last 10 games.
Next week: Thu at NW State, Sat at SFA
N/A Abilene Christian Wildcats (1-5, 7-13): The short-handed Wildcats, still playing without LaDarrien Williams and Harrison Hawkins, suffered a pair of home losses this week. ACU fell to Lamar 65-57 on Thursday, and Sam Houston State 70-51 on Saturday in Moody Coliseum's first national broadcast (ESPN3). Parker Wentz, as the Wildcats only consistent scoring threat left, scored 13 on Thursday and 11 on Saturday.
Next week: Thu at SFA, Sat at NW State
The top eight finishers qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament. New Orleans, Incarnate Word, and Abilene Christian are ineligible this season. UIW and ACU are listed at the bottom of the standings because they are playing less conference games than everyone else this season.