HomeBasketballLate Heroics Lift Lions to Fifth-Straight Win - Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics

Late Heroics Lift Lions to Fifth-Straight Win – Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics

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COMMERCE, Texas – The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team got a pair of free throws by Nick Caldwell to force overtime and Roger McFarlane’s turnaround jumper with three seconds left in the extra period proved decisive as the Lions won their season-best, fifth-straight game, defeating the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions 79-77 Monday night at The Field House.
 

Caldwell got the scoring started for Southeastern (12-13, 7-5 SLC) with a jumper in the paint, but A&M-Commerce (9-16, 3-9 SLC) responded with a three-pointer to take its first lead of the game at 3-2. That’s when SLU went on a push to open the only lead of any substance in the contest as Roscoe Eastmond answered with a three of his own on the Lions’ next possession, starting a 12-2 Southeastern run which included a spurt of eight-straight points. That run ended as Roger McFarlane found Caldwell behind the A&M-Commerce defense for a transition layup and a 15-5 SLU lead with just less than 16 minutes remaining in the first half.
 

After the two teams traded baskets, with an Eastmond layup putting the Lions up 17-7, A&M-Commerce answered right back to get back, scoring the next eight points which turned into a 13-2 TAMUC run to give A&M-Commerce a 20-19 lead following a three-pointer with 11:25 to go before halftime. The margin would stay within a score for the majority of the remainder of the half, only extending outside of a one-possession lead once as McFarlane hit a jumper to cap a 6-0 SLU run which turned a 30-29 deficit into a 35-30 lead with 2:20 to go before the break. A&M-Commerce scored the next five to tie the score right back up, but a Caldwell free throw gave Southeastern a one-point edge heading into the locker room.
 

TAMUC extended the 5-1 run it was on to end the first half out to 9-1 to claim its first lead of more than one possession as a three-pointer put A&M-Commerce up 40-36 with 16:45 showing on the clock. Trailing 43-39, Caldwell got to the paint and he got his jump hook to fall, starting a 7-0 Southeastern run which Avery Wilson ended with a pair of free throws, putting SLU back up 46-43 with 12:55 remaining. The lead stayed within one possession for both teams again until, while trailing 50-49, McFarlane stepped up and hit a pair of free throws. After a miss by TAMUC, a foul was whistled on the ensuing Lions possession, which was immediately followed by a technical foul against A&M-Commerce. McFarlane made the technical free throws, and then Brody Rowbury hit the free throws for the common foul, making it a 6-0 SLU run solely from the charity stripe for a 55-50 Southeastern lead with less than 8:30 to go.
 

With SLU leading 62-58 with four minutes left in regulation, A&M-Commerce rattled off five points to reclaim the lead with 2:30 left. Caldwell got SLU the lead back with less than a minute left as his jumper in the paint went down, but that was answered by a three-pointer by A&M-Commerce, putting TAMUC up 66-64 with 18 seconds left. Southeastern forced the action and it resulted in Caldwell being fouled with 8.1 left, sending him to the line for two free throws, making both to tie the score. A wild shot by A&M-Commerce at the buzzer missed, and overtime was made necessary to decide the contest.
 

The homestanding Lions started fast, hitting a three-pointer to open the overtime period, but Southeastern neutralized that shortly after as a bucket by Rowbury and a three by Caldwell sandwiched a couple of TAMUC free throws to even the score again at 71-71. Neither team led by more than two points for the remainder of the overtime period. An A&M-Commerce three with two minutes to go put the home team up 77-75, but that would be the last points scored by TAMUC. An Alec Woodard jumper in the paint on SLU’s ensuing possession got the score even again at 77-77, setting up for the late game heroics. After securing a rebound with 13 seconds left, McFarlane got the ball on the offensive side and, as he was going away from the basket on the left baseline, turned around and put up a floater which fell with three seconds remaining to give SLU the lead. A last second heave at the buzzer by A&M-Commerce missed everything, securing the victory.
 

Caldwell, who was named the SLC’s Player of the Week earlier in the day, got his first double-double of the season by scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also tied his career high as he blocked five A&M-Commerce shots while adding two steals and an assist in the process. McFarlane got his eighth double-double of the season as well, scoring 16 points and securing a career-high-tying 15 rebounds. He also had three assists and a block. Eastmond ended the night with 13 points, dished out eight assists, and had a rebound. Rowbury, who was battling foul trouble most of the evening, came alive in the second half to finish with 12 points and nine rebounds while filling up the box score with two assists and two blocks.
 

The Lions saw its run of four-straight games of shooting better than 50% from the field come to an end, hitting just 37.5% from the field and 33.3% from three. However, Southeastern found a way to get to the free throw line an exorbitant amount and made it pay off, hitting 24 of their 29 attempts from the charity stripe to finish at 82.8%. Texas A&M-Commerce finished the game hitting 33.8% of its shot attempts and 36.6% from three, hitting 15 shots from above the three-point arc, while making 10 of its 14 attempts at the charity stripe for 71.4% on free throws for the evening.
 
The Lions now return to Hammond, America for three-straight contests at home, starting on Saturday as Southeastern looks to complete a season sweep of Houston Christian. Tip-off of Saturday’s contest against the Huskies (6-17, 4-8 SLC), which is being sponsored by Tangi Tourism and will be Family and Alumni Day, is set for 3:30 p.m. in the Pride Roofing University Center. Saturday’s game against HCU will be live streamed on ESPN+ with live stats available at LionSports.net.
 
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 laa@southeastern.edu or (985) 549-5091 or visiting www.LionUp.com.
 
SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Southeastern Basketball, follow @LionUpMBB and @DavidKieferSLU on Twitter, like /SLUathletics on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.
 
TICKETS
For ticket information, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. Southeastern is implementing mobile ticketing as the primary source for securing tickets. All tickets will be available via e-mail in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.

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