The streak continues. At least for one more night. That makes lucky number 13 for the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team.
And it comes at the expense of a reeling New Mexico State squad.
13 straight conference wins. Two straight wins over New Mexico State and a 3-0 start to WAC play.
Not bad for a team that has been riddled with injuries most of the 2022-23 season. And the Jacks still aren’t fully healthy.
Don’t let that fool you, though.
Injury, no injury, or maybe even in recovery, the Jacks took advantage of a struggling Aggie squad.
Issa Muhammad’s layup gave New Mexico State a 2-0 lead early in the first half. And that was the only lead the Aggies had over the rest of the night.
Nana Antwi-Boasiako hit a jumper and Latrell Jossell knocked down the first of his five 3-pointers to give SFA a 5-2 lead with 17:13 to play in the first half.
Roti Ware scored five quick points off the bench. And suddenly it was 10-2.
Back-to-back layups by Robbie Armbrester pushed the lead to double figures with 9:35 left in the half. And had it not been for 11 offensive rebounds, New Mexico State would have found itself down by 20 in the first half. The Aggies hit the offensive down glass, which led to points. The final possession of the first half was a great example. Xavier Pinson’s 3-point attempt with 12 seconds fell short. But, DaJuan Gordon was there for the offensive board. Gordon’s putback was short but it feel into the waiting hands of Chi Chi Avery who scored the final bucket of the first half.
The Aggies finished the first half on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to seven. And it was a combination of Xavier Pinson hitting shots and offensive rebounds. The Aggies had an 11-3 advantage on the offensive glass.
And the second half got off to a good start. Xavier Pinson found DaJuan Gordon for the two-handed flush and suddenly it was a 5-point game.
But, it seemed like any time New Mexico State got within striking distance, SFA had a response. In this instance, it was Day Day Hall’s jumper that stopped a 10-0 run. Then Nana Antwi-Boasiako pulled down an offensive board and knocked down second-chance layup.
A pair of Xavier Pinson free throws cut the deficit to three with 14:31 to play. But, Antwi-Boasiako knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to stop the bleeding. Then Latrell Jossell hit another 3-pointer on the next possession and all of a sudden the lead ballooned back to nine.
And off a Day Day Hall offensive rebound a few possessions later, Jossell pushed the lead to 12 with another 3-pointer.
Jossell made another 3-pointer with 6:42 to play to push the lead to 11. It came right after Chi Chi Avery knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight.
Jossell put the nail in the coffin with 2:07 to play, knocking down his final 3-pointer of the night to make it 67-63.
13 straight WAC regular season wins. 3-0 start to league play n 2022-23. And doing it while still dealing with injuries all over the board. Impressive coaching job by Kyle Keller.
The Jacks improve to 11-5 overall and 3-0 in WAC play.
And for the first time in at least the last 10 years, New Mexico State is 0-3 in WAC play. The Aggies are also 7-8 overall.
Xavier Pinson finished with a game-high 20 points for the Aggies. Chi Chi Avery had 16 points and 10 rebounds. And Issa Muhammad was also in double figures with 11 points.
Day Day Hall led SFA with 18 points. Latrell Jossell finished with 15 points. Roti Ware had 11 points off the bench. And Nana Antwi-Boasiako finished with 10 points.
Play of the Game
SFA guard Jaylin Jackson-Posey has missed the last month or so with a broken right hand. And Wednesday night was Posey’s first game action since Nov. 26. But, the sophomore guard put caution to the win in the Play of the Game.
With 12:50 remaining, New Mexico State got out on the fast break. And it looked like DaJuan Gordon was going to have an easy one-handed dunk.
But, not hesitating one bit, Jaylin Jackson-Posey went up with his right hand and blocked Gordon’s dunk attempt at the highest possible point. It will be a travesty if it is not on Sportscenter’s Top-10 because it is one of the best blocks this season.
— WACHoopsDigest (@WACHoopsDigest) January 5, 2023
SFA will host Grand Canyon on Saturday while New Mexico State heads back to Las Cruces to host California Baptist on Saturday.