CANCUN, Mexico — The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team improved to 4-1 on the young season, as they took down the University of Buffalo Bulls, 79-78, in Hard Rock Arena Tuesday night in SFA’s second game of the Cancun Challenge.
The victory sends the Lumberjacks into the Riviera Division championship game against the St. Louis Billikens. St. Louis enter the final with a 5-1 season record and a 2-0 mark in the Cancun Challenge after wins over Mercer, 75-58, and Illinois State, 82-76. The Billikens defeated ISU on Tuesday night to advance to the championship game.
The ‘Jacks took control early, jumping out to an 8-0 advantage, kick-started by five quick points from David Kachelries, with just under two minutes of play. They then went on another 8-0 run with about 10 minutes remaining in the half to take a 24-12 lead before maintaining a decent advantage heading into the break.
The Bulls took their first lead of the game with 2:55 remaining in the second half, but two quick layups courtesy of Roti Ware and Calvin Solomon, in addition to a Jaylin Jackson-Posey free throw, staged off all hopes of a late Buffalo comeback attempt.
Gavin Kensmil led the charge for the ’Jacks with 20 points and seven rebounds, on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. The big man is now averaging 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on the early season.
Sadaidriene Hall was a huge contributor off the bench for SFA, scoring a season-high 14 points with a couple of steals to his name. Kachelries finished with 15 points and four assists in 37 minutes of action. Ware threw in 12 points and Solomon pitched in 10 points, to go along with seven boards.
Ronaldo Segu hit 9-of-14 from the field to lead Buffalo’s scoring with 25 points. Jeenathan Williams and Maceo Jack each pitched in 13 points.
The Lumberjacks capitalized on multiple occasions as they scored 17 points off 20 turnovers and only allowed four points in the other direction off just nine turnovers for SFA. The ‘Jacks also turned 18 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points, while The Bulls scored just nine second-chance points off 10 offensive boards.
SFA edged Buffalo, 39-38, in rebounds and a 54-42 advantage in points in the paint, while the Bulls held a 25-3 advantage in fast break points.
The Riviera Division Championship will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 24 on the CBS Sports Network.