SFA Heads North to Battle UNI in Early-Morning ESPN2 Tilt - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA Heads North to Battle UNI in Early-Morning ESPN2 Tilt

GAME TWO: SFA (0-1), at Northern Iowa (0-1)
Date/Time: Tuesday, Nov. 17 • 7:00 a.m.
Site: McLeod Center (6,550) • Cedar Falls, Iowa
Date/Time: Tuesday, Nov. 17 • 7:00 a.m.
Live Stats • ESPN2
Site: Rich Hollenberg (PxP) • Mark Adams (Color)
In-Game Twitter Feed: @SFA_MBB
SFA Game Notes
From SFA Athletics

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Once again, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team finds itself back in the national spotlight as the Lumberjacks prepare to make an excursion into the northern reaches of the United States to take on Northern Iowa (0-1) as part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon on Tuesday morning. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7 a.m. in Cedar Falls and the bout will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

PREPPING FOR THE PANTHERS 

• Head coach Ben Jacobson, the proud new owner of a 10-year contract extension at UNI, launched his 10th season as the Northern Iowa head man with something wholly unfamiliar to him in season openers at the McLeod Center - a loss. In their first action of the 2015-16 campaign, UNI dropped an 84-78 decision to Colorado State at the McLeod Center marking the first time the Panthers have failed to post a season-opening triumph in that building in the Jacobson era.

• Saturday afternoon's setback also halted the Panthers' 18-game winning streak in the McLeod Center - a building where they didn't lose in 2014-15 (15-0). The result yielded UNI's first-ever November loss in the structure as well. The Panthers' November record in that particular edifice is now 21-1.

• Gone is 2014-15 Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year, Second Team AP All-American, Second Team NABC All-American, Second Team USBWA All-American and Wooden Award All-American Seth Tuttle, who represented 23.4-percent of the Panthers' scoring load (534 pts., 15.3 per game) from a season ago. Also departed from UNI's roster are Deon Mitchell, Jeremy Morgan and Marvin Singleton - three individuals who started each and every game for Jacobson's 31-4 NCAA Tournament squad a season ago.

• Retained from the Panthers' 2015 NCAA Tourney third-round brigade are MVC All-Newcomer honoree Paul Jesperson and two 35-game starters in junior Jeremy Morgan and senior Matt Bohannon.

• Morgan, the reigning MVC Sixth Man of the Year, was the second-leading assist producer (91) for the Panthers last season and pumped in a career-high 20 points in UNI's season-oprening loss to Colorado State.

• Both Morgan (University of Tennessee) and Jesperson (University of Virginia) are transfers from the power five conferences. Jesperson was a two-year pupil of Tony Bennett while Morgan spent one season in Volunteer orange before moving back north.

• A dangerous threat from downtown, Bohannon - who hails from Marion, Iowa - was the Panthers' leading three-point specialist last season. He sank 54 and upped his career trifecta total to 175 - the fourth-highest mark in UNI history.

I'M COMING HOME

• One Stephen F. Austin player - Jonny Dahl to be precise - will be making a return trip to his homeland when the `Jacks plane touches down in Cedar Rapids on Monday evening. The freshman grew up 178 miles away from the UNI campus in Keokuk, Iowa.

`JACKS/PANTHERS ROUND II

• The perpetrators of putting an end to the `Jacks 34-game home winning streak via a 79-77 overtime decision on national television, the roles will be reversed in this year's edition of the MVC/Southland skirmish as the Panthers will be the home team.

• Displaying a penchant for performing best when the national spotlight shines the brightest, then-junior Demetrious Floyd charged up the pro-Lumberjack contingent housed in William R. Johnson Coliseum with a career-high 20 points and narrowly missed a game-tying floater in the waning seconds of the inter-conference clash.

• Much like the situation that presents itself for SFA on Tuesday, last year's Nov. 18 tip-off time was also 7:00 a.m.

• Unbeknownst to the two individuals at the time, last year's tilt featured two eventual conference players of the year. Thomas Walkup pumped in 20 points for the `Jacks and captured Southland Conference POY laurels while Panther star Seth Tuttle, who went on to be named the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year, connected for 13 points and eight rebounds.

REVIEWING SFA v. NO. 21/22 BAYLOR

• A pair of institutions who saw their names listed in the preseason version of the USA Today Coaches' Poll tangled in Waco last Friday night (Nov. 13), but the season tip-off didn't go as planned for the `Jacks who fell 97-55.

• Brad Underwood was dealt the first season-opening loss of his head coaching career. Previously, the `Jacks head man had won both his 2013-14 and 2014-15 debuts.

• Friday night's defeat at the hands of the Bears was SFA's largest loss (42 points) in the Underwood coaching era.

• Thomas Walkup, Demetrious Floyd and freshman TJ Holyfield all tied for team-high scoring honors by slinging in 12 points apiece. Those 12 markers signified a career high for Holyfield who was taking part in his first collegiate game.

• One of the bright spots for SFA, Holyfield connected on five of his eight field goal tries (57.1-percent), hauled down five rebounds and dished out one of 16 Lumberjack assists in the non-conference meeting.

• With his 12 point outing, Walkup entered some elite SFA basketball company. The Pasadena, Texas, product's career point total now stands at 1,141 which is the 18th-highest sum on the `Jacks all-time scoring chart.

• Baylor led wire-to-wire and registered assists on all but five of their 36 made field goals. A strong shooting night for the hosts also led to the `Jacks demise as the Bears drilled an eye-popping 64.3-percent (36-for-56) of their field goals. In the second half alone, the Bears' field goal percentage figure soared to 71.4.

ASSOCIATED WITH THE BEST

• In the inaugural 2015-16 version of the AP Poll, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team secured a pair of votes, tying them with Ohio State and Belmont for 43rd in the nation according to the prognosticators. The two votes double the number SFA received at this same point a season ago.

MID-MAJOR MARVEL

• SFA checked in as the fourth-best mid-major team in the nation on the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. The poll, which will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the season, is comprised of votes from various mid-major coaches around the United States. The only three school above the `Jacks in the list are Wichita State (1st), Gonzaga (2nd) and Valparaiso (3rd).

SKIP TO MY LOU (HENSON)

• Coming off a campaign that saw him collect AP Honorable Mention All-America accolades and Lou Henson All-American honors, senior Thomas Walkup has been selected as a preseason All-American by the Lou Henson Award committee. The Pasadena, Texas, product enters his final collegiate campaign after a breakout junior year in which he led SFA in scoring (15.6 ppg), rebounding (6.5/game) and field goal percentage (.567).

NO BAD LOSSES

• Stephen F. Austin found itself with fewer points than its opponent just five times last season, and those losses came against some quality opponents. Four of the Lumberjacks' five losses on the season came at the hands of 2015 NCAA tournament teams. SFA dropped a 79-77 overtime heartbreaker against Northern Iowa on November 18 as part of the ESPN 24-Hour Tipoff, then dropped an 81-63 decision at Xavier (November 21), a 67-51 defeat at Baylor (November 24) and a 57-50 setback to Utah in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

SOUTHLAND SUPREMACY

• SFA laid claim to two of the Southland Conference's major award winners in 2014-15 asThomas Walkup was named the SLC Player of the Year and Brad Underwood repeating as the conference's Coach of the Year. Walkup, the third-straight Lumberjack to be named SLC Player of the Year, was also an All-Defensive team selection for the second time while Jacob Parker, the 2014 SLC Player of the Year, was a second team All-SLC selection.

LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT

• There wasn't a team in NCAA Division I men's basketball that found the open more man with more frequency than the `Jacks in 2014-15. SFA racked up 17.5 assists per game, leading the nation in that statistical category. North Carolina (17.4), Davidson (17.1), BYU (17.0) and Michigan State (16.6) rounded out the top five assist producers in basketball.

DEAD-EYE LUMBERJACKS

• As a result of their great passing, a great number of the `Jacks field goal attempts last season were wholly uncontested. SFA was tops in the 13-team Southland Conference and finished the season ranked seventh in the nation with a team field goal percentage of 48.7.

MISSOURI VALLEY MATCHUPS

• SFA is 2-5 all-time against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference

• Loyola (Chicago) (1-1) | 11/21/99 • L, 78-58 | 11/19/00 • W, 64-60

• Drake (1-0) | 12/13/08 • W, 66-64

• Missouri State (0-1) | 12/2/95 • L, 105-85

• UNI (0-3) | 1/7/89 • L, 80-71 | 1/8/90 • L, 120-96 | 11/18/14 • L, 79-77 (OT)

UP NEXT
Stephen F. Austin makes its home debut on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. LSU-Shreveport will be opposing the Lumberjacks in their first Nacogdoches tilt of the 2015-16 campaing. 

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