Stephen F. Austin holds off Sam Houston State 64-55

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (AP) Thomas Walkup scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Stephen F. Austin held on to beat Sam Houston State 64-55 and claim its third straight regular-season Southland Conference title on Saturday night.

Stephen F. Austin (27-4. 17-1) will take the No. 1 seed into the conference tournament in Katy, Texas on March 11. Sam Houston State (24-7, 15-3) will hold the No. 2 seed. Each is seeded directly into the semifinal round Friday.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line in a defensive battle. SFA made 19 of 28 but the Bearkats could only sink 13 of 24 attempts.

The game was tight throughout until Walkup made three straight free throws and slipped in for a layup and a 55-47 lead with 3:01 left. The Lumberjacks made nine free throws down the stretch for the win.

Jabari Peters led SHSU with 13 points.