Nicholls, Southeastern La., Stephen F. Austin Battle for First

first_img• Colonels’ Cruisin’: Behind senior guard Tevon Saddler’s seventh-straight double figure scoring performance, Nicholls improved to 6-1 in conference play to give the team its best start since the 1997-98 season. The Colonels are currently tied for first in the Southland with Southeastern Louisiana. The two teams take on each other Saturday in Thibodeaux, La.• Can’t Tame the Lions: Southeastern Louisiana matched its best ever start in Southland play through seven games with victories at home over Houston Baptist and Northwestern State. The Lions are the only Southland team undefeated on the road in conference games and face two road contests this week: at Sam Houston State on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. CT and at Nicholls on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.• Road Win: Stephen F. Austin recorded its 60th road win since the start of the 2011-12 season with a 76-66 defeat at Abilene Christian. Among Division I teams, only Wichita State owns more true road wins in that span. The Lumberjacks will compete at Central Arkansas on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before returning home to host rival Sam Houston State on Saturday at 6 p.m.• UCA Career Leader: Central Arkansas senior guard Jordan Howard, currently the leading scorer in the Southland, became the Bears’ career scoring leader following a 28-point performance against Abilene Christian on Saturday. His 2,158 career points breaks a 26-year-old program record. He currently is fifth in the nation for scoring (24.5).• Wiiiiiilllllson: McNeese junior guard Quatarrius Wilson picked up 17 rebounds in Saturday’s 86-81 win over Houston Baptist. Wilson is the only Southland player averaging more than 10 rebounds per game in conference action (11.0). He ranks 17th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (3.47) and 22nd in total rebounds per game (9.8).Schedule:Wednesday, Jan. 24New Orleans at Northwestern State*- 6:30 p.m.Southeastern Louisiana at Sam Houston State* – 6:30 p.m.Abilene Christian at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* – 7 p.m.Stephen F. Austin at Central Arkansas* – 7 p.m.UIW at Houston Baptist* – 7 p.m.Nicholls at Lamar* – 7 p.m. One week ago, the five teams atop the Southland Conference standings had just one conference loss with none of them facing each other. Currently, the number of one-loss teams is down to three: Nicholls (12-8, 6-1 SLC), Southeastern Louisiana (12-8, 6-1 SLC) and Stephen F. Austin (16-3, 5-1 SLC). Additional Storylines: FRISCO, Texas – Twelve teams take the court tonight to begin week five of Southland Conference action. The logjam at the top could ease further this weekend with a handful of key matchups, headlined by the Colonels and Lions squaring off Saturday in Thibodeaux, La., at 6:30 p.m. CT, but each team must first get through Wednesday road contests first. Nicholls competes against a Lamar Cardinals squad riding a two-game win streak who most recently snapped Sam Houston State’s (11-9, 5-2 SLC) five-game win streak on Saturday. The Colonels ranks third in NCAA for total steals (205), fourth for steals per games (10.3) and fifth for turnovers forced per game (18.50). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN3. Southeastern, who ranks second in conference play for scoring defense (65.3), will look to slow down a Bearkat offense averaging 79.1 points per game. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3. Like Sam Houston, New Orleans (9-10, 6-2 SLC) also suffered a second conference loss last week. The Privateers fell at home 81-57 to UCA last Wednesday. They play at Northwestern State tonight at 6:30 p.m. and at UIW on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Lumberjacks visit Central Arkansas (10-11, 4-4 SLC) tonight at 7 p.m. before hosting rival Sam Houston on Saturday at 6 p.m. SFA allows just 65.0 points per game in Southland games to top the league in scoring defense and also holds the best turnover margin at +4.3. In the nation, the ‘Jacks are 17th out of 351 teams in scoring margin (13.5) and still rank in the top five for turnovers forced (1st; 21.89), total steals (2nd; 214), steals per game (2nd; 11.3) and turnover margin (4th; 6.4). Abilene Christian (13-8, 5-3 SLC), Lamar and McNeese (7-10, 4-3 SLC) round out the top-eight in the Southland standings with the Bears, in the ninth spot, currently on the outside looking in for the 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament in Katy. Saturday, Jan. 27New Orleans at UIW* – 2 p.m.Central Arkansas at Northwestern State* – 3 p.m.McNeese at Lamar* – 4:30 p.m.Sam Houston State at Stephen F. Austin* – 6 p.m.Southeastern Louisiana at Nicholls* – 6:30 p.m.Houston Baptist at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* – 7:30 p.m.* – Conference Gamelast_img read more