NACOGDOCHES, Texas – With all due respect to Rance Cole, it’s safe to say his name has not been featured too prominently on opposing scouting reports throughout the 2018-19 season.
There’s a strong chance that may change following the events of Saturday night.
Giving the ‘Jacks the spark they needed after a difficult two-game stretch, the Coldspring, Texas, product came off the bench and poured in a career-high 14 points to help SFA end a two-game skid with a dominant 81-54 home victory over Incarnate Word Saturday night.
Kevon Harris amassed a game-high 20 points while Shannon Bogues added 18 for SFA who moved into sole possession of sixth place in the Southland Conference standings with four regular season games remaining.
• Incarnate Word’s Christian Peevy notched his only two points of the game early on when his layup opened the Southland battle.
• After that, it didn’t take long for the ‘Jacks – and Cole – to assert their dominance over the league’s cellar dwellers. Cole laced the first of his two three-pointers 2:57 in to hand the home team
its first lead of the game. That long ball represented the middle portion of a 6-0 run for SFA. Mitchell Seraille – who put forth an excellent 12-point, six-rebound effort off the bench – capped the run with a layup.
• The Cardinals, however, answered with a 9-4 spurt of their own to take their last lead of the game. Augustine Ene, who led the way with a 17-point effort off the bench, scored the last four points for the visitors during that span and gave the Cardinals an 11-10 edge with his layup at the 13:30 mark.
• From there, SFA caught fire from long range in order to start a game-changing 19-7 run that put the home team in the driver’s seat for good. Bogues, John Comeaux, Cole and Harris each drained a triple during that surge while Harris capped the run with a fast break layup that pushed the hosts’ edge to 29-18 with 5:38 left.
• Dwight Murray trimmed the ‘Jacks’ lead to single digits with a three-pointer of his own following Harris’ fast break layup, bur shortly thereafter SFA hit the jets. The ‘Jacks concluded the frame on a 12-3 surge and opened up a lead as large as 20 points (41-21) after Cole connected on a fast-break layup with 41 ticks left.
• Ene’s three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining in the half represented the Cardinals’ lone field goal make in the last 5:19 of the frame.
• Firmly in control of things, the ‘Jacks never let their lead dip below 13 points throughout the second half. Nathan Bain started the final 20-minute segment with a triple to push SFA’s margin back to 20 but Incarnate Word answered with a 9-2 run that cut the edge to 46-33 with 15:49 left.
• The ‘Jacks’ knockout punch came in the form of a 16-2 run that spanned nearly five minutes. Bogues started the surge with a triple but in all five ‘Jacks contributed points through that stretch. Once the dust had settled, SFA had upped its advantage from 46-33 to 62-35 with 9:30 left.
• SFA’s massive advantage ballooned to 34, 77-43, with 4:14 left in the deciding frame when Bogues hit Harris who converted a mid-range jumper.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE
• Enjoying a fine shooting night, the ‘Jacks drilled 55.8-percent (29-of-52) of their field goal tries in the victory while converting 73.7-percent (14-of-19) of their foul shots.
• The ‘Jacks turned 21 Incarnate Word throwaways into 24 points to improve to 10-1 all-time against the Cardinals. That record includes a perfect 6-0 showing in Nacogdoches.
• Along with his 14 points, Cole also came up with a game-high three steals. For the game, he went 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from long range.
• Antoine Smith turned in 12 points for Incarnate Word who lost its 12th-straight game.
• Edward Ruiz – who joined the team this season as a walk-on – played the final two minutes of the game. It was Ruiz’s second appearance of the season and his first of the 2019 calendar year.
COMING UP NEXT
• In another pivotal Southland Conference clash, the ‘Jacks head to Conway, Ark., for a Wednesday night showdown with Central Arkansas. The Bears are just two games back of SFA in the league standings and will be hoping to put an end to a seven-game skid when they take on the ‘Jacks inside the Farris Center. The Southland Digital Network will carry the game nationwide once it begins at 7:00 p.m.