If you were trying to catch your breath from the last 10 hours of basketball, Utah and Stephen F. Austin didn’t do you any favors as their matchup came down to the final minute. The Lumberjacks of SFA were just a few jumpers going in and out from upsetting the Utes, but ultimately fell, 57-50. This would have been the perfect 12-five seed upset that we are all looking for as soon as brackets are revealed, but the Utes stout defense held SFA’s high scoring offense to almost 30 points below their season average.
Utah was up by as many as 12 points early in the second half, but a drought of almost seven minutes from the field allowed the Lumberjacks to bring the score within three with eight minutes to go. The rest of the game would be back and forth, but in the end Utah’s big man Jakob Poeltl was too much for SFA to handle. The Lumberjacks shot just 33 percent from the field and were 5 of 26 from behind the arc.
Poeltl was ultimately the riddle that SFA couldn’t solve. Poeltl led all scorers with 18 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks. What is truly impressive, Poeltl was a perfect seven for seven from the field.
Strange, But True
Under the late, great Rick Majerus, Utah was a West Coast powerhouse that constantly had success in March and sent many players to the NBA. The Utes were in the same class as the great UNLV and Arizona teams of the 1990s. This season is the first time the Utes have made the Big Dance in five seasons.
Utah takes on the winner of tonight’s Eastern Washington and Georgetown game on Saturday.
SFA ends its season as Southland regular season and tournament champs with a 29-5 record.