UIW center Devin Wyatt beats the SFA defense for a dunk in the first half.
Forward Leon Gilmore III produced 22 points and 11 rebounds Saturday afternoon as Stephen F. Austin claimed an 81-70 victory at the University of the Incarnate Word.
UIW freshman guard Augustine Ene sparked a rally that cut what had been a 20-point SFA lead near the end of the first half to six with 12:17 remaining in the game.
But SFA just had too much firepower and sent UIW reeling to its 16th straight loss.
“The guys could have folded, and it could have been a 30- or 40-point loss,” UIW coach Ken Burmeister said. “But they came back in the second half and gave us great effort.
“We made some threes and Augustine gave us some open-play ball where he was going downhill.
“He picked up the pace. (But) their size just hurts us. Gilmore and (AJ) Holyfield hurt us pretty good.”
With the loss, hard-luck UIW fell to 5-19 overall and 0-14 in the Southland Conference. SFA improved to 22-5 and 11-3.
The Cardinals have already been eliminated from contention to play in the SLC postseason tournament.
“I give Incarnate Word all the credit for battling back the way they did in the second half,” SFA coach Kyle Keller said. “We got some frustration in us on the defensive end. They just attacked us on the bounce and had some shots go in.
“Whether it’s a double-figure win or close to it, you’ll take that on the road anytime.”
Kevon Harris scored 22 and Shannon Bogues added 19 for the Lumberjacks, who have won four straight and six of seven.
For UIW, Shawn Johnson had 23 points and eight rebounds. Sam Burmeister chipped in with a season-high 18 points.
Sidelined and not in uniform for UIW were center Konstantin Kulikof and guard Jorden Kite.
Kulikov was held out because of a compliance issue, a school spokesman said.
Burmeister declined comment on Kulikov’s situation. The coach said that Kite has a wrist injury.
UIW has been without starting point guard Jalin Hart for the past 12 games.
Hart, who averaged 15.9 points per game in 2016-17, is out for the season because of academics.
SFA’s Aaron Augustin takes a charge to force a turnover late in the first half of Saturday’s game at UIW.