Darius Gardner scored 14 points and Desmond Haymon and Taylor Smith each added 12 more to lead Stephen F. Austin to a 58-47 Southland Conference men's basketball victory over Sam Houston State Wednesday night.
SFA (18-11, 11-4) shot 48.8 percent (20-of-41) and out-rebounded the Bearkats 29-23. Haymon led the Jacks with eight rebounds.
Sam Houston (12-18, 6-9) was led by Demarcus Gatlin with 13 points.
Stephen F. Austin led for all but the first minute of the game, building a 29-20 halftime margin and leading by as many as 17 points in the second half.
The Bearkats were held to 39.5 percent shooting (15-of-38).
Steven Werner totaled eight points, Konner Tucker 7 and Darius Gatson and Demarcus Gatlin six each.
Sam Houston made a solid rally late in the game after the Lumberjacks came out shooting 63 percent from the field in the first half with three crucial three-pointers by Gardner, who came into the game shooting 35 percent from deep.
Gardner was wide open for his first three, which gave Stephen F. Austin an 8-7 lead, and the Lumberjacks never trailed from there. His second three extended the SFA lead to 24-17, and Gardner followed that up with another to make the score 27-17. Sam Houston went into halftime trailing 29-20, with Gardner holding the nine-point difference in his point total.
"I thought Gardner's threes were really crucial because we were doing exactly what we wanted to do," SHSU coach Jason Hooten said. "We just didn't plan on him making three threes in a row. That was the difference in the game because that got them off to a good lead. When you play Stephen F. Austin, a 12-point lead is really like a 24-point lead because they're so slow and they take so much time off the clock."
DeMarcus Gatlin led Sam Houston with 13 points in the second straight game where only one Bearkat went for double figures and scored exactly 13 points.
"You just have to give Stephen F. Austin credit," Hooten said. "They definitely outplayed us tonight in every aspect of the game. They played way better than we did and they deserved to win.