Alabama holds off SFA to win 79-69 in Nacogdoches

Senior guard Riley Norris knocked down a couple of three-point shots late in the game Sunday as the Alabama Crimson Tide escaped with a 79-69 victory over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in Nacogdoches.

Norris told the Alabama radio broadcast after the game that the raucous atmosphere at sold-out Johnson Coliseum forced the Crimson Tide to trust its preparation.

“It’s very similar to a Wichita State-type of environment,” Norris said. “Sold out. Fans are really into the game. When they go on a run you can’t really hear anything. So, you just got to trust each other on the court. Trust the coaches, and trust our preparation.”

Announced attendance was a capacity 7,203. Afterward, SFA coach Kyle Keller thanked the fans for their support of the program in its historic first home game against an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.

“FANTASTIC atmosphere in the #Sawmill!” Keller wrote in a Twitter post.

Turning point

The biggest sequence of the second half came with about five minutes remaining. SFA had the ball, trailing by three, and the crowd was into it.

But Karl Nicholas committed a turnover. On the other end, Norris drained a three to make it a six-point game. SFA, the defending champion in the Southland Conference, never got closer than five the rest of the way.

Individual leaders

Alabama — Kira Lewis, Jr., 17 points and 8 assists. Riley Norris, 14 points and 4 three-pointers, off the bench. Donta Hall, 12 points and 14 rebounds. Tevin Mack, 12 points.

SFA — Shannon Bogues, 21 points. Kevon Harris, 14 points. Bogues and Harris combined for five three-pointers. Off the bench, John Comeaux, 13 points, 4 rebounds and Karl Nicholas, 11 points and 8 rebounds.


Alabama 9-3
Stephen F. Austin 7-5