UNO rallies from 13-point deficit to down SFA

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NEW ORLEANS – Down 17-4 midway through the first, the Privateers’ furious rally gave UNO a 29-28 edge at the half. In the second, New Orleans continued to force turnovers en route to a 68-61 victory Wednesday evening at Lakefront Arena.

The Privateers have now won four in a row and improved to 9-7 overall and 4-1 in Southland play, while preseason favorite and 2018 Southland Conference Tournament champion Stephen F. Austin fell to 8-8 and 1-3 in league action.

The win matches the 4-1 start in each of the previous two seasons, tying for the best start since joining the conference.

Troy Green scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting off the bench. The sophomore added four assists, four rebounds and four steals. Ezekiel Charles added 12 points and six rebounds and Gerrale Gates posted 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Larry Robinson III came off the bench with nine points in 11 minutes, draining two triples. Entering the week in the top five nationally in steals and forced turnovers, the Privateers swiped 11 passes and forced 22 ‘Jacks turnovers.

“Hats off to SFA and coach Keller,” said head coach Mark Slessinger. “They jumped out to a huge lead, but I’m so proud of the maturity of our team. They remained relentlessly positive and continued to chip away at the early deficit and came out on a mission in the second. This is a tough conference and it’s great to begin 4-1, but we’ll be back here practicing tomorrow preparing for A&M-Corpus Christi.”

“Our campus did an amazing job promoting tonight and our students came out and were engaged the entire game. We are so thankful to everyone on campus and hope to continue to put our mark in the greatest city in the world.”

The Privateers scored the opening point of the game but the ‘Jacks took a commanding 15-2 lead with 12:14 remaining. After scoring just four points midway through the first, New Orleans went on an 8-0 run prior to the under-8 media to cut the Stephen F. Austin lead to five.

Robinson III checked in and continued to be a sparkplug, jolting the Privateers, bringing the Lakefront Arena crowd to their feet behind another 8-0 run with 4:51 remaining.

Gates’ 1-of-2 from the line at the 4:07 mark and 1:07 tied the contest at 24 and 26, respectively. With 55 seconds remaining in the half, UNO took its first lead since the free throw to begin the game behind Green’s second triple of the half. The Privateers, who trailed by as much as 13, erased the SFA lead and took a 29-28 edge into the locker room.

Green led the squad with eight points, four rebounds, and a steal. Charles posted seven points and Gates added four points, three rebounds, and two steals.

The momentum remained with the Blue and Silver as UNO came out of the half with a Charles trey. The defense continued to come up big with Charles and Rosser forcing Lumberjack turnovers. Off a three-point miss, Rosser went coast-to-coast, finishing with a layup and the foul. The UNO lead was stretched to eight with 14:09 remaining.

However, Stephen F. Austin knotted the game with a three by Shannon Bogues with 9:00 to go, but Rosser’s layup at the 7:42 mark regained the lead for UNO.

Green followed with a steal and found Robinson III for a bucket and four-point cushion.

Tied at 61 moments later, Gates hit a pair from the line with 2:07 remaining and the Privateers ended the game on fire, closing with a 68-61 victory over the preseason favorite SFA. The exclamation point came on Green’s crossover and drive to the basket for two.

Shannon Bogues led all players with 20 points and Kevon Harris posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Privateers head back to the Lone Star State to visit Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN3. The Privateers defeated the Islanders three times last season.

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersMBB on Twitter, @PrivateersMBB on Instagram, like /PrivateersMBB on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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