E-Tech Lumberjack Classic MVP Desmond Haymon poured in 21 points to lead Stephen F. Austin to a 70-57 victory over JMU on Saturday evening at SFA’s William R. Johnson Coliseum.
SFA won its fifth game in a row to improve to 8-2 overall while also extending the nation’s fourth-longest home winning streak to 22 games. JMU dropped its sixth straight contest to stand at 2-8 on the season.
Desmond scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half while adding five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. He was 6-for-9 from the field and 7-for-9 at the foul line. He was joined in double figures by Jacob Parker with 15 points and fellow All-Tournament honoree Thomas Walkup with 12.
JMU’s All-Tournament selection, sophomore Charles Cooke (Trenton, Va./Trenton Catholic), tallied 19 points, including a 9-for-12 showing at the foul line. It was the third straight strong scoring output for Cooke, who has 61 points in his last three games. He’s averaged over eight made free throws per game in the last four contests. Freshman guard Jackson Kent (High Point, N.C./High Point Christian) added 13 points off the bench, including an 8-for-8 performance at the line.
The game, in particular the second half, was slowed by 54 combined personal fouls, which led to 56 total free throw attempts. The Dukes used a foul-line advantage to stay in the game with a 33-28 deficit in the first half, but SFA caught up in the second by going 14-for-19 at the stripe. Altogether JMU was 24-for-31 (77 percent) compared to 18-for-25 (72 percent) for the Lumberjacks.
While SFA only held a 32-28 advantage on the glass, the Lumberjacks outscored the Dukes 22-3 on second-chance points. They also forced 17 JMU turnovers and shot 47 percent compared to 40 percent for the Dukes.
After trailing by five at the break, the Dukes stuck within a few possessions at 37-31 three and a half minutes into the second half. However, a jumper in the lane by Walkup and a three by Haymon gave SFA its first double-digit lead of the game and seemed to finally push momentum to the Jacks. The final 15 minutes of the game had little flow as the teams combined for 32 free throw attempts as SFA prevented any further JMU cut into the lead.
SFA hit five of its first six attempts from the field to grab an early 11-5 lead. JMU cut the margin to as close as one at 16-15 at the 13-minute mark, but the Lumberjacks were able to pull away again as the Dukes missed a pair of point blank layups on consecutive possessions.
The teams largely traded possessions for the remainder of the first half as SFA led 33-28 at the break. The ‘Jacks shot 52 percent in the first half while holding JMU to 32 percent, but the Dukes stuck around with a distinct advantage at the stripe, where they were 12-for-14 (86 percent) compared to 4-for-6 for SFA.
Cooke led JMU with 11 points in the first half while graduate forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) added seven. SFA’s balanced first half featured eight from Parker and Walkup along with seven apiece from Haymon and Walker.
Cooke, Walkup and Haymon were joined on the All-Tournament squad by Sam Houston State’s Jabari Peters and Terrance Motley as well as Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon. Southland Conference teams SHSU and SFA each went 2-0 against JMU and Towson in the tournament.
JMU will take a week off for semester examinations before resuming its eight-game road swing at High Point on Saturday at 7 p.m.