WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Versatile forward Jacob Parker keyed a 11-2 spurt with six minutes remaining to lift Stephen F. Austin over UNCW, 60-55, in the final game of the Roundball Classic Friday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Lumberjacks of the Southland Conference wrapped up the exempt event with a 3-1 record and hiked their overall mark to 5-2 this season. The Seahawks, playing the first of three games in five days, concluded the event with a 1-3 ledger and fell to 4-5.
"Stephen F. Austin is a very good basketball team," said fourth-year UNCW Head Coach Buzz Peterson. "Give them credit. They played very well defensively and we just didn't make our free throws and had too many turnovers in the game."
Parker was the catalyst all night for the Lumberjacks in Friday's non-conference win, connecting on 6-of-10 from the field and 6-of-7 at the free throw line for a team-high 19 points. The 6-6 junior from Bixby, Okla., also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and added four steals.
Senior guard Desmond Haymon chipped in 12 points for SFA, which overcame 36.4 percent shooting to improve to 3-2 on the road. Sophomore guard Thomas Walkup also contributed 10 points for Brad Underwood's club.
Junior guard Addison Spruill paced the Seahawks with a game-high 23 point on 8-of-13 shooting and senior guard Tanner Milson added 11 points and a game-high five assists. Junior forward Cedrick Williams, UNCW's leading scorer and rebounder, was held under double figures for the first time this season and wound up with six points on 2-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-3 at the foul line.
SFA forged out to a 27-26 advantage at halftime and maintained control until Spruill provided a spark for the Seahawks five minutes into the second period. With SFA ahead, 36-35, Spruill connected on the left baseline and reserve forward Dylan Sherwood's layup at 10:39 put the Seahawks in front, 39-36.
But with the scored knotted at 45-all, the Lumberjacks scored six unanswered points. Tanner Clayton came off the bench to score inside, Parker converted a free throw following a technical foul on UNCW's Chris Dixon and Parker added three consecutive free throws by Parker after being fouled on a three-point attempt, increasing the score to 51-45 with 5:31 remaining.
SFA then stretched the cushion to 56-47 when Haymon dropped in the second of two free throws with 1:23 left. The Lumberjacks canned 7-of-10 free throws over the final three minutes to take the first meeting between the two schools.
SFA overcame a slow start from the floor early in the game with a stiff defense, holding the Seahawks scoreless over a 7:24 stretch to grab an early 8-2 lead. The Lumberjacks went on to lead by as many as eight points in the opening period before carrying a 27-26 edge into the break
SFA's largest lead of the first half came at the 10:36 mark on a Parker slam that gave the Lumberjacks a 12-4 edge.
UNCW next travels to Greenville, N.C., to renew its rivalry with East Carolina on Sunday at 5 p.m. SFA visits High Point on Sunday for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
GAME NOTES: Parker has been SFA's top scorer in five of seven outings…The Seahawks fell at home for the first time in three tries this season…UNCW committed a season-high 19 turnovers against the Lumberjacks…The Seahawks went just 15-of-27 at the free throw line…SFA had 11 steals on the night…UNCW shot 50 percent in the first half and 40 percent in the final period…The Seahawks on the battle of the boards, 39-30…There were four ties and five lead changes in the game…Point guard Ben Eblen did not score for the Seahawks…Milson reached double figures off the bench for the second time this season.
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