SLU holds off Incarnate Word for fourth straight win
SAN ANTONIO – The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team took the best shot from Incarnate Word, but it was the Lions who got the late buckets when they were needed the most for a 75-71 win over the Cardinals Saturday evening at the McDermott Center.
UIW’s lone lead of the first half came in the opening moments as the Cardinals hit a shot on the game’s first possession before Boogie Anderson responded with a basket of his own to tie the game just seconds later. A fastbreak lay-up by Roger McFarlane on SLU’s next possession gave Southeastern a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the first half.
Leading 19-15, another bucket by McFarlane sent the Lions on an 8-2 run which push the lead out to double-digit for the first time as Matthew Strange hit a three-pointer with just more than 5:30 left before halftime to make it 27-17 SLU. The lead peaked at 11 points with just more than 2:30 left before halftime as Christian Agnew sank a couple free throws, and then Sami Pissis and Anderson combined to steal the inbounds and the ball ended back in Agnew’s hands for a lay-up which made it 36-25. A couple possessions later, Anderson reestablished that 11-point lead after hitting a pair of free throws, making the score 38-27 with 1:32 before the break. But UIW got a bucket and foul to close out the scoring in the half, making it 38-30 Lions at the break.
But that Cardinals three-point play right before halftime turned into something much bigger out of the locker room as UIW continued on what would become a 20-7 run to give Incarnate Word its first lead of the game since 2-0 at 47-45 with just less than 14:00 left in the game.
From that point on, it was a back-and-forth affair as neither team led by more than four points over the next ten-plus minutes. Finally, the Lions appeared to open a bit of a cushion as a pair of free throws by McFarlane capped a 7-2 SLU spurt and made what was a one-point SLU lead into a six-point advantage at 69-63 with 3:41 left in the contest. That was where the Cardinals started scrambling for points while Southeastern did just enough down the stretch to keep UIW at bay and hold on for the win.
“Incarnate is a well-coached, physical team on the offensive end,” said SLU head men’s basketball coach David Kiefer. “We knew going in how difficult it would be to come out with a win here, but I’m really proud of our fight tonight. Coming off a big win and being shorthanded, our guys could have given in and had excuses with it got hard and they didn’t.”
The shorthanded Lions, who were missing two starters in today’s game, got at least four points from all eight Southeastern players who saw the court on the day. Anderson continued to lead the way with 19 points, where he also hit seven for eight at the free throw line, including two with just five seconds left which iced the game. He also had five assists, five rebounds, and three steals in the win. McFarlane picked up his second double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Alec Woodard, giving up his sixth man role due to being shorthanded, needed just four shots to get ten points in the game as he hit two of his three attempts from three-point range. He was also two rebounds shy of a double-double, grabbing eight board. Strange hit three of the four shots he took, all from three, to finish with nine points.
It wasn’t the greatest shooting day for Southeastern, who hit on 40.7% from the field and 38.1% from three, but the Lions were nearly perfect at the free throw line, hitting 23 of their 25 attempts at the charity stripe, which was a key piece of the win. UIW shot very well, hitting 48.3% from the field and 47.1% from three, but the Cardinals just couldn’t get to the free throw line nearly as often, connecting on seven of their 10 attempts at the stripe. SLU also double up UIW in second chance points, 16-8, and out-ran the Cardinals, outscoring UIW 13-4 in fast break points.
After a successful trip to Texas, the Lions (10-8, 4-1 SLC) come home for a pair of games this coming week, starting on Thursday night as Northwestern State comes to town. Tip-off of Thursday’s game against the Demons (10-8, 2-3 SLC) is set for 7:30 P.M. at the University Center. The first 300 students to come to Thursday’s women’s/men’s basketball doubleheader will receive a free long-sleeve SLU t-shirt. If you can’t make it to the University Center, the games will be live-streamed on ESPN+.
HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB
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 email@example.com or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
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