SFA basketball releases schedule

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Stephen F. Austin head men's basketball coach Brad Underwood announced Friday the Lumberjacks' slate for the upcoming 2013-14 season, a schedule that includes 15 home contests.

"We have a very exciting and challenging schedule that will help prepare us for the Southland Conference," Underwood said. "We will be facing quality opponents both at home and on the road."

The 31-game schedule is highlighted by a trip to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns for the first time since 2002. SFA will open up the 2013-14 campaign at William R. Johnson Coliseum on Nov. 8 against UT-Tyler before parting on a four-game road trip beginning Nov. 12 when the 'Jacks pay visit to former Southland Conference foe Texas State and former head coach Danny Kaspar.

After the visit to Austin on Nov. 15 against the Longhorns, SFA takes part in a four-game Roundball Classic that will begin on the east coast in Huntington, WV to face Marshall University for the first time in school history. Two days later, SFA will be making another first when they take on East Tennessee for the first time in Johnson City, TN. The 'Jacks then return home to welcome in Southern Conference's Samford on Nov. 26 before hitting the road following Thanksgiving to the state of North Carolina for games at UNC-Wilmington (Nov. 29) and High Point (Dec. 1).

The contest against the Panthers is a Bracket Busters return from the 2011-12 campaign when SFA defeated High Point, 69-62 in Nacogdoches.

Four of the following five contests will be held in Nacogdoches to close out the calendar year, starting with the return of the fourth annual Etech Lumberjack Classic. SFA will host both Towson (Dec. 6) and the 2012-13 Colonial Athletics Association Tournament champion James Madison on Dec. 7. Towson made the biggest improvement from one season to the next in NCAA history by going 18-13 in 2012-13 after going just 1-31 the previous season, an improvement of 17.5 wins. Sam Houston State will also partake in the tournament facing both Towson and James Madison.

The 'Jacks final non-conference road contest will be at North Texas on Dec. 15, facing a Mean Green team freshly off joining Conference USA for the first time since 2006. Following a Dec. 21 game at home against the Elmhurst College Blue Jays, SFA will close out their non-conference schedule by hosting Cal State Northridge on Dec. 30.

"Fans should be excited about our non-conference schedule, especially our home opponents," Underwood said. "The Etech Classic will be featuring three quality teams, including NCAA Tournament qualifier James Madison and a much-improved Towson team from two years ago."

SFA will then open up the new year with the conference home opener on Jan. 2, with the first of two meetings against Lamar, who is in its third year under Pat Knight. The 'Jacks will then welcome Piney Woods rival Sam Houston on Jan. 4.

The 'Jacks embark on a five-game road trip that will last from Jan. 9-Jan. 25 beginning with one of the newest conference members, Houston Baptist on Jan. 9. After a visit to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Jan. 11, SFA will make their much-awaited rematch against the SLC Tournament champion Northwestern State Demons on Jan. 16 in Natchitoches. SFA will close off their near month-long road trip with a swing through Oral Roberts on Jan. 23, followed by Central Arkansas on Jan. 25.

Despite the long road trip, SFA will be rewarded down the stretch when the schedule turns in their favor by playing seven of the final 11 game remaining in the conference season at William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA will host both newly instated SLC members Abilene Christian (Jan. 30) and Incarnate Word (Feb. 1), followed by Nicholls (Feb. 6) and McNeese St. (Feb. 8).

The 'Jacks will then play four of the next five away from Nacogdoches with trips to Lamar (Feb. 13) and Sam Houston (Feb. 15) before Northwestern St. makes their trip to Nacogdoches Feb. 22. SFA makes their final road swing of the season March 6 and 8 when they travel to both New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana, respectively.

SFA closes out the regular season by hosting both Oral Roberts (Mar. 6) and Central Arkansas (Mar. 8).

The Southland Conference Tournament will begin the following week at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas, lasting Mar. 12-15.

- From SFA Athletics