NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Junior Thomas Walkup recorded 16 points and nine rebounds and junior Jared Johnson added 16 points of his own to fuel the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team 74-45 over Long Beach State on Friday night inside William R. Johnson Coliseum.
The Lumberjacks (5-3) picked up their fourth consecutive win in the first of a five-game homestand.
Walkup, who finished one rebound shy of a double-double against the 49ers (5-5), finished an efficient 5-of-6 from the floor, with one 3-pointer and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. The native of Pasadena, Texas, also pulled down six boards on the defensive end of the glass.
Walkup and Johnson were the only two players to score in double figures for SFA, as junior Clide Geffrard proved to be a spark off the bench, netting eight points. Twelve of the 14 ‘Jacks who saw action scored points.
SFA led in every category, shooting 26-of-53 (49.1%) from the field, 8-of-21 (38.1%) from beyond the arc and 14-of-20 (70.0) from the line. The ‘Jacks, who won the rebound battle 36-19, also led the 49ers 22-15 in point off turnovers, 12-4 in second chance opportunities, 6-2 in fast break points and 30-21 in bench scoring.
SFA set the tone early, opening on a 13-2 run over the first 10 minutes. LBSU, which finished 0-for-8 from 3-point land, closed the gap however, pulling within six points on two occasions, before the ‘Jacks eventually took an eight point leading into the break, up 29-21.
SFA again surged at the start of the second half, opening a perfect 6-of-6 to lead the 49ers 44-32 with 14:25 remaining. After LBSU cut it to a 11-point game one possession later on a free throw, the ‘Jacks went on a 23-7 run over the next 7:37 to put the game out of reach.
SFA's lead never dipped below 20 points across the final eight minutes, eventually closing at 29 points in the 74-45 victory.
The ‘Jacks, 2-1 inside WRJ Coliseum, will continue their homestand on Sunday, hosting Ouachita Baptist in a 3 p.m. tip.
Head coach Brad Underwood
Underwood opening comments…
“I'll be very honest, I didn't see that coming. That is a very, very good Long Beach team that has been well-tested and is extremely well-coached.
“I think the one thing that I am excited about with this team, is our growth and understanding of scouting reports. We did a really good job of following the scouting reports and handling ball screens. My staff does a great job in helping us prepare them. I thought it was our best night under the glass, with 18 offensive rebounds which to extra opportunities.
“It was also nice to get Jared Johnson going. Jared is a very capable scorer, just finding his way. It think the fans got a little taste of it tonight, as he is a young man that can make some shots.
“I thought we got a great ballgame from Thomas Walkup. He finished a rebound shy of a double-double and really shot the ball well. But again, I can't say enough about the job Trey Pinkney does for us defensively. He was a pit bull tonight.”
Underwood on quick starts…
“We like to get everybody involved early and get touches. As a coach, I want to see how they are going to play. This team has a knack for getting off to good starts. It got a little slow, but at the start of the second half, Tanner Clayton really got us going. We ran a couple actions to him. He is shooting the ball so well from the perimeter.
“We talk a great deal about the first four minutes of each half, and tonight, we were fortunate to take care of business in both those segments.”
Underwood on execution…
“I think our depth is becoming a significant factor. We are finding guys who are becoming comfortable. We are playing 10-11 guys regular minutes. Jacob Parker got into foul trouble early, but we have other guys who can step in and take the bull by the horns. “
Underwood on quick turnaround for Sunday's game…
“Need to focus, get some rest and drink a lot of fluids. This is basically a three-game week for us. Ouachita Baptist has some players who are familiar with this arena. They are extremely well coached and this is a big game for them. And, as I told the team, we don't care what the name is on the front of their jerseys, we have to focus on making ourselves better every day.”
Junior guard/forward Thomas Walkup
Walkup on team's and his performance…
“We had a good night going through the offense. Some other guys created some things for me. We were able to get on the glass and create a lot of opportunities. It just happened to be my night.”
Walkup on team's defensive play…
“We came out with a lot of energy and intensity, stayed true to the scouting report and stayed focused. I don't think thy got really anything out of their offense from what they wanted to do. We tried to take them out of what they do early and forced them out of their element.
SFA Athletics Press Release: Kyle Rogers