SAN ANTONIO (AP): San Antonio improved to 26-0 on home court this season by beating Orlando 107-92 on Monday night, led by a season-high 28 points from LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs edged within four games of Golden State Warriors in the fight over the top seed in the NBA Western Conference. They also stayed four games ahead of Oklahoma City, who beat Washington, thanks to a triple double from Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had his seventh triple-double of the season as the Thunder won 114-98. Westbrook had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists, and got the best of his match-up with Washington point guard John Wall. Kevin Durant scored 28 points for the Thunder, who have won 11 of 12. Among other key results, Cleveland were forced to overtime at Indiana, but notched a fifth straight win, 111-106. Atlanta defeated Dallas 112-97 to move into a virtual tie with Miami for top spot in the Southeast Division. San Antonio’s Aldridge shot nine for 13 from the field to pace the Spurs. Australian Patty Mills matched a season-high with 22 points, going three for four on three-pointers. San Antonio found their defensive footing late in the third quarter to separate from Orlando. The Spurs outscored the Magic 24-8 to overcome a 70-69 deficit with 1 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving scored 25 points as the Cavaliers won in overtime at Indiana. LeBron James had 24 points – but only seven after half-time – with 12 rebounds, and the Cavaliers extended their lead in the Central Division to nine games and won in Indiana for the first time in six years.
8. New Orleans 113 3. Sam Houston State (1) 234 12. Houston Baptist 73 FRISCO, Texas – Defending tournament champion Abilene Christian has been selected as the favorite to top the 2019-20 Southland Conference’s 2019-20 women’s basketball standings, the league announced Thursday. Four other schools also received first-place votes.ACU topped the polls with 14 first-place votes and 273 total points in just its second year of postseason eligibility. The Wildcats are coming off of a Southland Tournament Championship where they won three games as a No. 4 seed in order to gain an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament last season. Senior preseason all-conference selections Dominique Golightly, Breanna Wright and Lexie Ducat are three-of-four starters returning for the Wildcats this season and will look to continue the program’s success after closing out the 2018-19 season with a 23-10 overall record and a 13-5 conference mark. The Wildcats led the Southland in several categories last season, including shooting percentage (45.8), three-pointers made (265) and defensive rebounds per game (31.8).Stephen F. Austin came in next in the polls with 255 points and nine first-place votes after finishing last season with a 16-2 mark in Southland play. The Ladyjacks return three starters in Stephanie Visscher, Alyssa Mayfield and Marissa Banfield. Led by head coach Mark Kellogg, SFA is primed to challenge for the league title as the Ladyjacks have consistently presented a well-balanced game plan. Last season, they ranked among the conference’s top-four teams in scoring (70.4) while leading the league in defense, limiting opponents to 56.9 points per game. The Ladyjacks will look to continue their efficiency at home after going 17-0 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum throughout their 2018-19 campaign.Sam Houston State is voted third, receiving 234 points and one first-place vote. After an impressive turnaround season, reigning Southland Coach of the Year Ravon Justice and her SHSU squad will look to build upon their 11-7 conference record from last season. Led by preseason first-teamer Jaylonn Walker and second-team selections Amber Leggett and Jenniffer Oramas, the Bearkats return a total of four starters and will implement a very experienced rotation that is not afraid to attack the basket. Last year, the Kats ranked 12th nationally for free throws attempted (718) and ninth nationally for free throws made (510). Justice’s squad certainly does not slack on defense either as the team finished last season ranked fourth in the nation for turnovers forced (22.72).Texas A&M-Corpus Christi rounds out the poll’s top four, earning 229 points and a first-place vote. The Islanders capped a remarkable postseason run in the Southland Tournament after qualifying as the No. 6 seed. Head coach Royce Chadwick led his team to a trio of wins in the tournament over the No. 7, No. 3 and No. 2 seeds before falling to Abilene Christian in a 69-68 championship thriller. The Islanders led the preseason all-conference rosters with four selections in first teamers Alexes Bryant and Dalesia Booth and second-team picks Dae Dae Evans and Emma Young.Lamar occupies the fifth-place spot with 195 points and a first-place vote of its own, followed by Central Arkansas (172), Nicholls (154), New Orleans (113) and McNeese (111).Southeastern Louisiana, Northwestern State, Houston Baptist and UIW round out the 2019-20 preseason poll.The Southland women’s basketball season gets underway Tuesday, Nov. 5, with nine schools in action throughout the league.The preseason poll is voted upon by the head coach and sports information director from each Southland school. Each individual ranks the other 12 teams in their predicted order of regular season finish. Ranking one’s own school is not permitted.2019-20 Southland Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll 10. Southeastern Louisiana 86 9. McNeese 111 5. Lamar (1) 195 7. Nicholls 154 4. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1) 229 1. Abilene Christian (14) 273 6. Central Arkansas 172 11. Northwestern State 78 2. Stephen F. Austin (9) 255 School (First-place votes) Total 13. UIW 55