McFarlane, Woodard score season highs as Lions stun TAMUCC in overtime, 85-82

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – It was a sluggish start for the Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team, but the Lions roared back in the second half against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to force overtime, jumped out to an early lead in the extra period and held on late to upend the Southland Conference-leading Islanders 85-82 Thursday night at the American Bank Center.

Southeastern would enjoy some early leads, starting right at the beginning of the game as Roscoe Eastmond hit a three on the game’s first possession to put the Lions up 3-0. Over the game’s first 9:15, there would be four ties and seven lead changes. SLU’s last lead in that stretch came with just less than 11:30 left as Nick Caldwell scored on a lay-up to give the Lions a 13-12 lead.

However, the Islanders came back down and hit a three on their next possession to take the lead back. Caldwell would briefly tie the score back up for the fifth time, hitting a jumper that evened things up at 15-15 with less than 10:30 remaining before halftime. But that’s where TAMUCC went on a run to open the score, scoring 14 of the next 16 points to make it 29-17 Islanders with just less than seven minutes remaining before halftime. Neither team shot particularly well over the final seven minutes as TAMUCC outscored SLU 6-5 over that stretch and the Islanders took a 35-22 lead into the locker room.

SLU again started quickly in the second half, scoring the period’s first five points as Roger McFarlane hit a pair of free throws and scored while being fouled Woodard to get three points the old-fashioned way to cut the deficit down to 35-27 right out of the break. But TAMUCC had another run in them, scoring eight of the next 10 to get their largest lead of the contest at 43-29 with just more than 17:30 left to play.

Southeastern responded with the next five, all by McFarlane, to get the deficit back under 10 points as his three-pointer made the score 43-34 with 15:50 left. But over the next few minutes, every time the Lions tried to inch closer, the Islanders had a little scoring spurt to open some more distance in the score as with 10:30 remaining, SLU trailed by 10 at 54-44. But on the next Southeastern possession, Caldwell hit a three which cut the deficit back to single-digits and the Lions would not trail by 10 or more points for the remainder of the game.

After battling over the next 7:30, SLU finally pulled back even with just less than 2:30 left in regulation as Boogie Anderson took in a pass from Woodard and raced down the floor, getting right to the rim past a flat-footed TAMUCC defense for a lay-up to tie the score at 63-63. The Islanders were able to get the lead back in the closing moments, but, down three with the clock running out, Woodard put up a contested shot which banked off the glass, rolled around the rim twice, hit off the backboard again, and went in to tie the score with five seconds left to tie the score at 69-69. A defensive stop on the other end ensured that for the second game in a row, the Lions would play an extra five minutes.

SLU won the opening tip in the extra period and immediately took their first lead since 13-12 as Matthew Strange rose from the right corner and hit a three to put the Lions up 72-69. A Caldwell jumper made it a 5-0 run before the Islanders scored five straight to tie things back up at 74-74. Back-to-back lay-ups by Woodard put the Lions back up four with less than 90 seconds remaining in the overtime period. From there, it was clutch free throw shooting by Woodard, Sami Pissis, McFarland, and Caldwell which helped close out the win as the Islanders kept the pressure on to the end.

“Corpus is an extremely well coached, tough team,” said SLU head men’s basketball coach David Kiefer. “I’m really proud of our guys’ effort tonight. We talked all week about being relentless. Playing a team like that, you can’t relax or they will make you pay. We didn’t make shots early, but our guys didn’t let that affect them. We talk about defense and rebounding traveling and I thought our guys really made an effort to defend and rebound the ball tonight. We have to understand that our highs can’t be too high and our lows can’t be too low. We have a huge game Saturday against Incarnate Word and we have to be ready to go.”

Caldwell finished the night eight of 11 from the field, hitting both of his three-point attempts, to finish with a game-high 21 points while also grabbing seven rebounds and had three steals. McFarlane was also efficient, tying his season-high with 20 points on seven of 11 shooting to go with a team-high eight rebounds as well as three assists. Woodard set a new season high in points, scoring 18 points on six of his seven shot attempts, including two of his three attempts from deep, and grabbed six rebounds with four assists. Anderson continues to fill up the stat sheet, scoring 15 points, dishing out seven assists, and grabbing five rebounds.

Southeastern struggled in the first half, hitting just 37% of their shots in the period, but really came alive in the second half as SLU hit 63% from the field in the back 20. In the five minutes, the Lions hit all four shots they attempted and seven of their eight free throw attempts. The Lions finished the game hitting 53.4% from the field, 38.1% from three, and 65.2% from the free throw line. After allowing TAMUCC to shoot 46.2% from the field in the first half, the SLU defense held the Islanders to 39.3% in the second half and 40% in overtime. Southeastern’s biggest advantage in the game was the bench play as SLU’s reserves scored 44 points while TAMUCC’s back-ups scored just 14 points.

With the win, the Lions (9-8, 3-1 SLC) pull into a three-way tie atop the Southland Conference standings with TAMUCC and New Orleans. SLU looks to extend its season-best win streak to four games on Saturday in San Antonio against Incarnate Word. Tip-off against the Cardinals (6-11, 0-4 SLC) is set for 4:00 P.M. at the McDermott Center and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.

Fans interested in becoming active supporters of the basketball program are encouraged to join the Hardwood Club. Lion alums are encouraged to join the exclusive S Club, which is restricted to Southeastern athletic letterwinners. All membership fees and donations to Hardwood Club are available for the exclusive use of the Southeastern basketball program. Membership information is available by contacting the Lion Athletics Association at or (985) 549-5091 or visiting

For more information on Southeastern Basketball, follow @LionUpMBB and @DavidKieferSLU on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

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