From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- A collision between a pair of 2015 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament combatants is next on the docket for the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team when the 'Jacks kick off a four-game Nacogdoches stretch with a visit from the SWAC's Texas Southern. SFA will be putting its perfect December home record (9-0) in the Brad Underwood era on the line when it tangles with the Tigers at 4:00 p.m.
TUNING UP FOR THE TIGERS
• Now in his third stop in the NCAA Division I coaching realm after highly-publicized stints at Indiana and the University of Alabama-Birmigham, Mike Davis is seven games into his fourth season of service as the Tigers’ bench boss. The former Alabama superstar has yet to coach TSU in a home game in 2015-16 and is coming off a 2014-15 season that saw him guide the Tigers to a second-straight and sixth overall berth in the NCAA Tournament. TSU concluded its 2014-15 season with a mark of 22-13.
• Facing off against a Mississippi State squad which ranks fourth in the SEC in rebounds allowed, freshman forward Derrick Griffin imposed his will down low against the Bulldogs, grabbing 12 rebounds and adding 19 points in a dominant performance. Although the Tigers fell by a tally of 86-73, Griffin succeeded in becoming the only player this season to sky for more than 10 caroms in a single game against the Bulldogs’ defense. Add to that, his 19 points was the second-highest scoring output by a single player against Mississippi State through its seven 2015-16 confrontations.
• Preventing opponents from hauling down missed field goals is a specialty of the Tigers - their rebounding defense is limiting 2015-16 foes to just 36.1 per outing. That’s the fewest rebounds allowed per game in the 10-team SWAC.
• In Griffin’s absense through the Tigers’ first six games of the season, the majority of TSU’s scoring load has been shouldered by Malcolm Riley and Chris Thomas. Only two other SWAC players boast a higher scoring average than Riley, who amasses points at a rate of 16.1 per game. Also in the top-10 in the SWAC’s points per game charts, Thomas has put in 14.9 points per game which ranks sixth in the 10-team SWAC. Both players are shooting above .460 and have helped the Tigers rise to third in the SWAC in team field goal percentage (.432).
• Through its first seven games, the Tigers have traveled almost 7,000 miles. TSU has yet to play a home game and has had road engagements at New Mexico, Creighton, Washington State and Mississippi State. Neutral site games for the Tigers include Clemson (Greenville, S.C.), Howard and UTSA (Las Vegas, Nev.).
• Against current SWAC institutions, SFA has played 48 total games and in those tilts the ‘Jacks have compiled a mark of 33-15 (.688 winning percentage). When SWAC reps make the trip to Nacogdoches, however, those numbers swing further in favor of SFA. The ‘Jacks all-time record against SWAC foes at home is 23-2 - good for a winning percentage of .920. Texas Southern is the only SWAC school SFA has a losing record against (6-7) and the Tigers handed the ‘Jacks on ot their two home losses to SWAC programs. Below are SFA’s all-time records against SWAC schools and the results of last meeting with each team:
• Alabama A&M - 1-1 - W, 85-62 - 12/20/04 - Nacogdoches
• Alabama State - 2-0 - W, 74-48 - 12/10/11 - Nacogdoches
• Alcorn State - 3-0 - W, 75-57 - 12/5/05 - Nacogdoches
• Grambling State - 5-2 - W, 60-38 - 12/2/12 - Nacogdoches
• Jackson State - 6-3 - W, 79-68 - 12/1/09 - Jackson, Miss.
• Prairie View A&M - 8-2 - W, 73-61 - 11/27/14 - Las Vegas, Nev.
• Southern - 3-0 - W, 79-52 - 12/4/09 - Nacogdoches
• Texas Southern - 6-7 - L, 80-75 - 12/7/02 - Houston, Texas
REVIEWING SFA vs. APPALACHIAN STATE
• A season-high in points - 37 of which came as a direct result of 28 Appalachian State turnovers - propelled the ‘Jacks to a 94-84 triumph over the Mountaineers in Nashville last Sunday afternoon. It was the first meeting ever between SFA and the Sun Belt squad.
• Sophmore Ty Charles was albe to shake off his slow start to the season by amassing a career-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting in 32 minutes of action. The Kennedale, Texas, product was one of four SFA student-athletes who registered 10 or more points in the triumph.
• Before fouling out of the game for the second time in 2015-16, senior Thomas Walkuppaced all scorers with 24 points on 11-for-14 field goal shooting. Other SFA high scorers included senior Jared Johnson who conjured up a season-high 16 points and TJ Holyfield who finished with 10. Holyfield’s 10-point outing was his third showing with 10 or more markers in his first six collegiate games.
• Neither team shot below 60-percent from the field in the high-scoring affair. The ‘Jacks won despite allowing the Mountaineers to fire at a rate of 67.4-percent from the field - the highest by any SFA opponent this season. SFA countered with a 35-for-56 (62.5-percent) day from the field - the ‘Jacks most accurate outing in 2015-16.
• Walkup earned a spot on the Challenge in Music City all-tournament team following his performance. Through his three games in Nashville, the Pasadena, Texas, product averaged 15 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 points and three steals per game while hitting 54.8-percent of his field goal tries (17-for-31).
• Following a pair of games in which he tallied 20 or more points, senior Clide Geffrard was held to just six markers against the Mountaineers, bringing his three-game scoring average at the Challenge to 15.3.
• Freshman Nathan Bain provided some high-energy minutes off of the bench for the ‘Jacks. One of two individuals who are from outside of the United States on SFA’s roster, the Freeport, Bahamas, native set career highs in points (eight), rebounds (one) and minutes played (11).
WALKUP NAMED SLC POW ON 11/23
• Monday, Nov. 23, saw the Southland Conference pencil in SFA senior Thomas Walkup as its Player of the Week. It signaled the first such honor for the Pasadena, Texas, product in the young season and his third selection since the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign. In the ‘Jacks 1-1 week, Walkup averaged 26 points per tilt on the strength of 58.8-percent field goal shooting. Currently, the SLC statistics charts list Walkup as the owner of the league’s third-best scoring average (18.2 ppg) as well as the fourth-highest field goal percentage (.562).
• A setback to Tulane on Friday, Nov. 27 marked just the second time in Brad Underwood’s SFA tenure that the ‘Jacks lost a game in which they were leading at the half. The only other time SFA fell while up on the soreboard at halftime in the Underwood era was in his third game as the ‘Jacks bench boss when SFA fell to Texas in Austin. Underwood is 56-2 (.966) at SFA when leading at the half.
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 that same point a season ago.
‘JACKED UP FOR THE FUTURE
• The early signing period saw head coach Brad Underwood begin his build for the 2016-17 season by adding a trio of recruits. Point guard Brandon Averette (5-10, Richardson, Texas, Richardson HS), shooting guard Ivan Canete (6-4, Lake Worth, Fla., Palm Beach State College) and forward Samuli Nieminen (6-7, Helsinki, Finland, HBA Marsky) each signed National Letters of Intent to join the SFA ranks next season.
• It probably hasn’t taken all that long for SFA’s opponents to figure out that ‘Jack freshman TJ Holyfield will be one of the driving forces for SFA all the way through the 2015-16 campaign.
• Of the 15 freshman Brad Underwood has had on his rosters during his two-plus seasons as SFA’s head man, none have put up better numbers than Holyfield. The Albuquerque, N.M., product is averaging 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots all while shooting 20-38 (.526) from
the field and 6-8 (.750) from long-ball territory. Holyfield is also the only freshman in Underwood’s tenure at SFA to start his first six games.
• When stacked up against all other freshman student-athletes in the Southland Conference, Holyfield ranks first in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, offensive rebounds (two per game), second in rebounding and fourth in scoring.
• No SLC individual - freshman through senior - has matched Holyfield’s hot start from downtown as his long-range percentage of .750 (6-8) is tops in the 13-team league.
GEFFRARD BIG OFF THE BENCH
• A memorable three-game stretch in Nashville by senior Clide Geffrard only served to validate his status as one of the best off the bench in the Southland Conference. Against Western Michigan, the Pompano Beach, Fla., product reset his career high by slinging in 21 points in the ‘Jacks win over the Broncos. The next evening against Tulane, he conjured up a 20-point, eight-rebound outing. That marked his first back-to-back stretch of scoring 20+ points in his SFA career. When diving deeper into the numbers, Geffrard has thrived coming off the bench in an SFA uniform. In four career starts as a ‘Jack, Geffrard has drilled just four of his 24 field goal attempts (.167 shooting percentage). When the forward steps foot on any court off the bench, he has shot .543 (114-210) and contributed 8.2 points per game to the ‘Jacks cause.
‘JACKS IN THE NATIONAL STAT RANKINGS
• Below are how individual members of SFA rank in the latest NCAA statistical rankings:
• Ty Charles - free throw percentage - 8th (.947)
steals per game - 216th (1.5)
• Demetrious Floyd - three-pointers per game - 185th (2.33)
three-pointers made - 241st (14)
• Clide Geffrard - free throw percentage - 29th (.913)
• TJ Holyfield - blocked shots per game - 112th (1.67)
total blocked shots - 128th (10)
• Trey Pinkney - steals per game - 161st (1.67)
total steals - 215th (10)
• Thomas Walkup - points per game - 89th (18.2)
field goal percentage - 73rd (.562)
assists per game - 160th (4.2)
steals per game - 68th (2.0)
total points - 207th (109)
assist/turnover ratio - 125th (2.5)
total assists - 226th (25)
minutes per game - 87th
total steals - 111th (12)
free throws made - 237th (25)
free throws attempted - 156th (38)
• 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).
PINKNEY CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• So far in his career, senior Trey Pinkney has passed out 309 assists. on Sunday, Nov. 22, the Katy, Texas, product became just the seventh player in program history to notch 300 career helpers. His 309 assists rank seventh-all time on SFA’s career charts and sixth in the Division I era of basketball at the institution.
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.
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).
• 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.
BACK IN THE NAC
• The second of the ‘Jacks four games in 15 days in the city limits of Nacogdoches will take place on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when SFA does battle with its first NCAA Division II opponent of the season. Henderson State will invade William R. Johnson Coliseum to take on the ‘Jacks. SFA is 6-1 all-time against the Reddies and the matchup between the two teams will be the first since 1985.