Holyfield, SFA rally for Southland title over SLU, 59-55
KATY, Texas (AP) — T.J. Holyfield had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Stephen F. Austin rallied for a 59-55 win over Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference championship on Saturday night to send the Lumberjacks to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.
Ivan Canette added 10 points for SFA (28-6), which earned its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance after last going in 2016. The Lumberjacks shot 42 percent from the field and hit seven of 15 3-pointers.
Joshua Filmore had 14 points, and Marlain Veal added 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for Southeastern Louisiana (22-11), which had its nine-game winning streak snapped. The Lions are still looking for their second NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2005.
After two free throws by Veal gave the Lions a 51-49 lead, Kevon Harris hit a 3-pointer to give SFA a one-point lead with 3:21 left. Filmore missed a 3-pointer on the Lions’ next trip down the floor, and John Comeaux hit one of two free throws to give the Lumberjacks a 53-51 lead with 2:24 left.
Southeastern Louisiana committed turnovers on its next two possessions, and Holyfield hit a layup with 1:08 remaining to up the Lumberjacks’ lead to four. Filmore hit two free throws with 54 second left to cut the lead to two.
Canette missed a free throw but got his own rebound and hit a layup with 39 seconds left to up the lead back to four, but Veal hit a layup eight seconds later to cut the lead to two. Ty Charles connected on two free throws with 20 seconds remaining, and after Eddy Polanco missed a jumper with 10 seconds left, the Lumberjacks got the rebound to seal it.
Trailing by 14, the Lions responded with a 22-2 run to take a 49-43 lead on a Joshua Filmore 3-pointer with 5:45 left. Filmore hit three 3-pointers during the run. The Lumberjacks responded with six straight points to tie it at 49 on a layup by John Comeaux with 3:51 remaining.
The Lumberjacks took a 32-25 lead into halftime behind seven points apiece from Shannon Bogues and Holyfield.
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks had a chance to put it away early in the second half when they took the 14-point lead, but SFA went cold from the field, hitting one field goal over a 12-minute span. The Lumberjacks responded with a 16-6 run to end the game and claim the championship. SFA out-rebounded the Lions 34-27 and held a 16-2 edge in second-chance points.
Southeastern Louisiana: The Lions had the momentum with five minutes left and a six-point lead, but they could not keep it up. The Lions got eight points from their bench — all from Jordan Capps — and cooled off in the second half, shooting 37.5 percent after shooting 55 percent in the first half. The Lions also committed 15 turnovers.
Stephen F. Austin: Await their NCAA Tournament opponent.
Southeastern Louisiana: Earned an automatic berth into the NIT after winning the regular-season championship.
This story has been corrected to show that Holyfield’s first name is T.J., not Ty.
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