Seniors Travis Gabbidon and Joey Shank played their final game at the Convocation Center Saturday. Shank pitched in with 10 points and Gabbidon put in a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds but it was the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks who came out on the right end of a 66-62 decision.

The loss did nothing to UTSA, 17-12(8-8 SLC), in terms of conference tournament seeding as Texas State lost to Sam Houston earlier Saturday. The loss means the Runners will go into the conference tournament riding a two game losing streak with SFA clinching the regular season conference title thanks to the victory.

Early on SFA, 21-7(13-3 SLC), seemed to pick up where it left off Wednesday as it jumped out to a 14-6 lead. The Runners showed no quit as they got into the game thanks to a few layups by Demarco Stepter.

The Runners took their first lead of the night when Shank hit three to make it 15-14 at the 9:04 mark. That was the start the Runners needed as they ended the half on an 11-7 run going into the half with the 26-21 lead.

New head football coach Larry Coker came out to center court at halftime and thanked the crowd in attendance.

When it came time for the second half to begin it was SFA that came out firing as the Lumberjacks’ Eric Bell opened the scoring with a three to cut the UTSA lead to two. The Jacks tied the game at 27 a few minutes later when Nick Shaw hit a three and the neck and neck second half battle began.

Over the next few minutes the Runners and Lumberjacks would go back and forth with multiple ties and lead changes. The final time the game would be tied would be at the four minute mark before UTSA took the lead 54-52 on an Omar Johnson jumper. The Jacks would never trail again as they retook the lead and spent the final minutes fouling UTSA so the Runners could not shoot threes and thus the Jacks would walk out of the building with a four point victory.

The loss was the end of the illustrious home careers of Shank and Gabbidon, after the game Shank reflected.

“I was trying to treat it like a regular game, the emotions were high but I was just trying to win the game,” Shank said. “I took the shots that I thought I had, I would have liked to have pull some more off.”

Head Coach Brooks Thompson had put the loss behind him and was getting prepared for the Conference tournament.

“We are excited, we have another season coming up, we have a conference tournament coming up,” Thompson said. “We will go down there confident, we know we are a good team.”

Shank remarked that the Runners will go to work and try to avenge some close conference losses in the tournament.

“We can take revenge on a lot of teams, it’s a new season we have as good a chance as any team to win the tournament,” Shank said.

Thompson echoed his senior guard’s statement and went a little further when asked about the conference tournament.

“We are going to go down their thinking we can win it, you got to play well for three nights,” Thompson said. “You have to be resilient, at this point its one by one.”

The Runners were led in the point and rebounding department by Gabbidon who pulled another double-double with 16 and 12. Shank and Johnson put in 10 points each and Stepter came up with a team leading two steals. The Runners as a team made 20-of-24 free throws compared to SFA’s 8-for-13 on free throws.

Gabbidon has scored 568 points, 265 rebounds, hit 154-of-213 (72 percent) free throws and 46-of-152(30 percent) from beyond the arc in his two years at UTSA. Shank has scored 512 points, 130-of-351(37 percent) from beyond the arc, and 48-of-59(81 percent) on free throws in his two years at UTSA.

The Runners will open the conference tournament as the six seed vs. Sam Houston Thursday at Katy’s Merrell Center with tipoff set for 2:30 p.m.

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