SFA Faces Henderson State for First Time in 30-Plus Years - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA Faces Henderson State for First Time in 30-Plus Years

From SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Just over 72 hours removed from their nail-biting comeback triumph over Texas Southern, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball will hit the floor of William R. Johnson Coliseum for the third time this season and reopen their series with NCAA Division II opponent Henderson State. The Reddies, who are opposing SFA for the first time in over 30 years, are fresh off their first win of 2015-16 and will be eager to put together their first winning streak of the season.
 

PREGAME POINTERS

• SFA’s December record with Brad Underwood as the program’s head coach is 15-0 which included a 10-0 mark in William R. Johnson Coliseum.

• The ‘Jacks are on a quest for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Previously, the last winning streak of more than two games for SFA came in 2014-15 when the squad was victorious in nine straight from 2/16-3/14 en route to securing their third-straight SLC regular season crown and second-straight SLC Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

• In their win over Texas Southern on Saturday evening, the ‘Jacks overcame an 11-point deficit to secure the victory. That was the largest home deficit SFA has faced in the Brad Underwood coaching era.

• Against TSU, senior Jared Johnson poured in a team-high 18 points and set a new career high with six three-pointers. He became the first SFA players to drill six or more long balls in a single game since Jacob Parker hit seven at Houston Baptist (2/28/15).

• Underwood and HSU head coach Jimmy Elgas just missed working together on the Kansas State coaching staff. From 2000-06, Elgas signed on with the Wildcats as the director of basketball ops and then an assistant coach. Underwood’s K-State tenure went from 2006-12 and SFA’s current head man served in the same two positions as Elgas.

• Over 30 years have passed since SFA and Henderson State last met on the hardwood. In the all-time series between the two institutions, the ‘Jacks hold a 6-1 lead and are a perfect 4-0 against the Reddies in Nacogdoches.

GETTING READY FOR THE REDDIES

• Armed with an assistant coaching ledger which includes stops at NCAA Division I institutions such as Evansville, Utah, Kansas State and Texas State, Jimmy Elgas is seven games into his head coaching tenure and has compiled a 1-6 mark as commander of the Reddies in 2015-16.

• Following an 0-6 start to the season, Henderson State captured its first triumph of 2015-16 last Saturday when it walloped SE Okla. State 87-61 in the Reddies’ home gym - the Duke Wells Center.

• Four of the six Henderson State setbacks have come by 10 or fewer points and the Reddies’ previous trio of losses came by a combined nine points. In a season-opening exhibition bout at Arkansas State, HSU fell to the Red Wolves by an 89-79 tally.

• No team in the 11-team Great American Conference has allowed fewer points per game to the opposition than Henderson State. Foes of the Reddies are averaging just 69 points per game.

• HSU ranks second out of 11 teams in the GAC in terms of three-point field goal percentage, having hit 42.4-percent of its downtown tries.

• Junior guard Kevin Kozan is the biggest offensive threat the Reddies have on their roster. Hailing from New Lenox, Ill., Kozan leads his team and ranks 10th in the GAC in scoring (16 ppg) and seventh in three-pointers per game (2.7).

GAC ATTACK

• Against current Great American Conference (GAC) institutions, SFA has played 55 total games and in those tilts the ‘Jacks have compiled a mark of 33-22 (.600 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 GAC foes at home is 21-10 - good for a winning percentage of .677. Below are SFA’s all-time records against GAC schools and the results of last meeting with each team:

• Arkansas Monticello - 2-0 - W, 74-66 - 11/25/00 - Nacogdoches

• Arkansas Tech - 1-0 - W, 94-57 - 12/20/14 - Nacogdoches

• East Central - 5-1 - W, 102-68 - 12/22/09 - Nacogdoches

• Harding - 1-0 - W, 89-84 - 12/10/94 - Nacogdoches

• Henderson State - 6-1 - W, 98-71 - 1/5/85 - Nacogdoches

• Ouachita Baptist - 6-5 - W, 84-60 - 12/14/14 - Nacogdoches

• SE Okla. State - 6-5 - L, 76-79 - 11/28/75 - Lawton, Okla.

• Southern Ark. - 5-8 - L, 70-56 - 12/1/83 - Nacogdoches

• SW Okla. State - 1-2 - L, 94-85 - 12/14/74 - Weatherford, Okla.
 

REVIEWING SFA vs. TEXAS SOUTHERN

• Even though they had already traveled over 7,000 miles to begin their season, the Tigers didn’t allow that to be a deterrent upon taking the floor. Led by freshman forward Derrick Griffin’s powerful alley-oop slam four seconds into the game, TSU opened up the game on a 7-0 run and increased its lead to as many as 11 in the second half before SFA mounted its comeback.

• For the first time in his SFA career, sophomore Ty Charles didn’t suit up and was clad instead in khakis and a polo shirt on the ‘Jacks bench. Prior to Saturday, the Kennedale, Texas, product had played in his first 40 collegiate games. 

• SFA earned the win despite being out-rebounded by a 38-27 margin. The ‘Jacks -11 margin on the board was the third time this season and just the fifth in the Brad Underwood era in which SFA faced a rebounding deficit of 10 or more in a single game. 

• By forcing 20 turnovers, it marked the fourth time in the previous five outings SFA has made the opposition cough up the ball 20 or more times.

• The first SFA double-double of the 2015-16 season came courtesy of another high-level performance by senior Thomas Walkup on Saturday. Walkup put in 14 points and hauled down 10 rebounds. Thanks to that showing, the Pasadena, Texas, product moved into fifth all-time in terms of career points scored (1,252) in SFA’s DI era of men’s basketball and fourth in rebounding (567). He also upped his number of career field goals made to 464 - the fourth-highest career total in the DI history of the program.

HIGH RATE OF TURNOVER

• A primary tenet of basketball is to take care of the actuall ball the game is played with, and the ‘Jacks have bought into that fully. In the national statistic rankings, SFA is fourth out of 351 NCAA Division I teams in terms of turnover margin (+6.4) and has forced 18.57 turnovers per game - the 10th-best mark in the nation. Of their 501 point scored this season, 125 - or just about 25-percent of them - have been manufactured off of opponent throwaways.

HALF-LIFE 2

• 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.

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 (17.6 ppg), sixth-best rebounding figure (6.6/game) and assist producer (4.3/game) as well as the seventh-highest field goal percentage (.558).

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.

HOLY HOLYFIELD!

• 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 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots all while shooting 24-57 (.511) from the field and 6-9 (.667) from long-ball territory. Holyfield is also the only freshman in Underwood’s tenure at SFA to start his first seven games.

• When stacked up against all other freshman student-athletes in the Southland Conference, Holyfield ranks first in three-point percentage, offensive rebounds (1.9/game), second in rebounding and second in blocked shots.

• No SLC individual - freshman through senior - has matched Holyfield’s hot start from downtown as his long-range percentage of .667 (6-9) 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 five career starts as a ‘Jack, Geffrard has drilled just seven of his 34 field goal attempts (.206 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 - 5th (.947)

steals per game - 219th (1.5)

• Demetrious Floyd - three-pointers per game - 231th (2.14)

• Clide Geffrard - free throw percentage - 27th (.913)

• TJ Holyfield - blocked shots per game - 146th (1.43)

total blocked shots - 161th (10)

• Trey Pinkney - steals per game - 108th (1.86)

total steals - 129th (13.0)

• Thomas Walkup - points per game - 104th (17.6)

field goal percentage - 76th (.558)

assists per game - 123rd (4.4)

steals per game - 69th (2.0)

total points - 203rd (123)

assist/turnover ratio - 71st (2.82)

double-doubles - 216th (1.0)

total assists - 168th (31)

total field goals made - 105th (48)

minutes per game - 74th (34.6)

total steals - 90th (14)

free throws attempted - 240th (38)

PINKNEY CLIMBS THE CHARTS

• So far in his career, senior Trey Pinkney has passed out 312 assists. on Sunday, Nov. 22, the Katy, Texas, product became just the seventh player in program history to notch 300 career helpers. His 312 assists rank sixth all-time on SFA’s career charts and sixth in the Division I era of basketball at the institution and he needs three more thefts to rise to fifth and another five to take over fourth place. Additionally, his 111 steals are the ninth-highest career total in SFA’s DI era and he has started all 76 games in which Brad Underwood has been the ‘Jacks head coach.

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).

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.

BACK IN THE NAC

• Saturday afternoon will see the ‘Jacks take on their second Great American Conference foe in a week when Arkansas Tech invades William R. Johnson Coliseum to do battle with SFA on the hardwood for just the second time ever. Last season, the ‘Jacks handed the Wonder Boys a 94-57 loss on Dec. 20. In that game, four SFA student-athletes finished with 12 or more points led by Clide Geffrard’s team-high 14. Demetrious Floyd and Thomas Walkup each notched 13 for SFA who shot 12-for-24 (50-percent) from three-point range and forced 27 Arkansas Tech turnovers.

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