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Top Four Teams Battle It Out in a Valentine’s Day Showdown

first_imgAlthough Stephen F. Austin (20-5, 9-3 SLC) currently sits in fifth, the Lumberjacks are right in the mix for the conference championship and a first or second-round bye in the Southland Conference Tournament. SFA is a game back from the Colonels and challenge Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road tonight at 7 p.m. The ‘Jacks head into Wednesday’s game following a dominating 97-50 win over Northwestern State (3-21, 0-13 SLC) in which junior guard Shannon Bogues delivered a 35-point showing. The Islanders look to bounce back and remain in contention for a spot in the tournament after they saw their four-game winning streak snapped at Sam Houston in a 66-64 loss before dropping a 62-53 contest versus New Orleans. FRISCO, Texas – Even Cupid could not make more perfect matchups than the ones in the Southland Conference tonight. Additional Storylines: Southeastern Louisiana (16-10, 10-3 SLC) and New Orleans (13-11, 10-3 SLC), the other two teams tied for second, contest each other in the first of two meetings this season. The Lions look to extend a three-game win streak against a Privateers squad coming off a 62-53 win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The two teams rank atop the conference in scoring defense in league action; the Privateers are first with 67.3 points per game allowed while Southeastern trails right behind at 67.8. Tonight’s tilt tips off at 7 p.m. Southland leader Nicholls (10-2, 16-9 SLC) takes on Sam Houston State (10-3, 16-10 SLC), one of the three teams currently tied for second place, at 8:15 p.m. CT. The Colonels, winners of eight of their last nine games, lead the league in field goal percentage (.504) and field goal percentage defense (.403) during Southland play. Two time Southland Conference Player of the Week Roddy Peters is coming off two games where he shot 60 percent from the floor, including a 9-of-13 effort against Houston Baptist (5-20, 1-11 SLC) on Saturday. The Colonels look to remain the only two-loss team in the league by slowing down a Bearkat squad led by senior forward Christopher Galbreath, Jr., one of just two Southland players who have recorded 10 double-doubles this season. The game will broadcast nationally on Eleven Sports and stream online at southland.org/live.center_img • Top-Eight: If the 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament began today, Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian and Lamar would grab the last spots while McNeese and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi would be the first ones out looking in. The Bears, Wildcats and Cardinals hold a two-win advantage over the Cowboys and Islanders. Over the weekend, UIW and Northwestern State were eliminated from Southland postseason action since neither team can finish with at least seven conference wins.• Still on Top: Nicholls picked up a pair of wins last week to hold onto sole possession of first in the Southland standings. The Colonels began by defeating Abilene Christian on the road 69-65 Wednesday before taking down Houston Baptist 94-67 on Saturday at home.• Triple-Doubles: Central Arkansas freshman center Hayden Koval notched a triple-double in the Bears’ 100-80 victory over Houston Baptist on Wednesday. Koval compiled a school record 11 blocks to go with his 17 points and 10 rebounds. He is fourth nationally for blocks per game with 3.21. UCA is the only team in the nation to have two different players tally a triple-double. The Southland leads all conferences with four triple-doubles this season.• Awaiting Wednesday: The top four Southland teams each have 10 conference wins. This Wednesday will play a big role in how they all will finish as the four teams begin to knock each other off. League leader Nicholls hosts Sam Houston State at 8:15 p.m., while New Orleans takes on Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La. at 7 p.m. Stephen F. Austin – who is just a game back from the Colonels – travels to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.Schedule:Wednesday, Feb. 14Houston Baptist at Northwestern State* – 6:30 p.m.UIW at Lamar* (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.McNeese at Central Arkansas* – 7 p.m.New Orleans at Southeastern Louisiana* – 7 p.m.Stephen F. Austin at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* – 7 p.m.Sam Houston State at Nicholls* (ELEVEN) – 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17Stephen F. Austin at UIW* – 3 p.m.Nicholls at Central Arkansas* (ESPN3) – 3:30 p.m.McNeese at New Orleans* – 4:15 p.m.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Lamar* (ESPN3) – 4:30 p.m.Abilene Christian at Southeastern Louisiana* – 5 p.m.Sam Houston State at Houston Baptist* – 7 p.m.* – Conference Game Week eight of men’s basketball league action opens with the top four teams battling in Wednesday evening contests that could prove to be the difference maker in claiming the Southland regular season championship.last_img read more