From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- A strong corps of bench players is just one of the components boasted by Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball teams in the short but storied tenure of head coach Brad Underwood.
While his starters didn’t exactly take a back seat entirely on Tuesday night, Underwood made sure to give his bench brigade some crucial minutes which could help the ‘Jacks greatly once they get into the heart of their conference schedule. That group didn’t disappoint, either.
Another sparkling shooing display from senior Demetrious Floyd, who established a new career-high with 26 points, coupled with a near double-double by freshman Nathan Bain as well as the latest in a long list of dazzling all-around performances by Thomas Walkupallowed the ‘Jacks to coast to an 87-54 triumph over Henderson State. SFA’s bench amassed 44 of the ‘Jacks points – or 50.5-percent.
Walkup’s most recent stat-stuffing line included 10 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals – the last pair of which were game highs. Those four thefts helped the Pasadena, Texas, product vault all the way up to fifth all-time in SFA’s Division I history with 123 in his career.
Floyd’s showcase on shooting fundamentals aside, the ‘Jacks defensive intensity yielded another large batch of opponent turnovers. Henderson State committed 27 of them, which SFA transformed into 34 points.
Bain led all players with 10 rebounds – a career-high and the first time in his short career he has skied for double-digit caroms – and as a squad the ‘Jacks owned a 48-31 rebounding edge over their nemeses from Arkansas
With visions of an upset over a DI opponent running through the minds of the Reddies, Matt Panaggio staked the visitors to an early 4-0 lead in the first 51 seconds of the NCAA interdivision skirmish.
Keying a 9-2 Lumberjack surge over the next 5:36 run with six of his 10 points, Thomas Walkup helped push the home team in front for good. During that surge, TJ Holyfield latched on to a high pass from senior Clide Geffrard and hammered down one of the ‘Jacks two alley-oop rim-rockers of the night.
Kevin Kozan knotted the game for the final time when his corner three-ball made matters 11-all with 12:03 remaining in the first stanza. From there, nearly all of the points scored for the rest of the half were pumped in by the ‘Jacks who closed the frame on a 32-7 run.
Personal 5-0 runs from Jared Johnson and Geffrard highlighted the SFA offensive deluge, as did six consecutive points by freshman Nathan Bain. Sophomore Ty Charles took to the sky to corral a Walkup pass before throwing down a slam of his own with 5:12 remaining in the half.
Floyd did an excellent job of foreshadowing the offensive clinic he would put on in the final 20-minute period by chipping in seven of his nine first-half points in the final 50 seconds of the frame. Bain found the St. Louis, Mo., product for a long ball with 22 ticks left before the former Chipola College star dropped in a mid-range tear drop at the buzzer that pushed the ‘Jacks halftime edge to 43-18.
Floyd was more than eager to help the Reddies feel the heat from his searing long-range stroke as the senior dropped in five triples in the last stanza. That helped him finish with a career-best six long-range splashdowns.
SFA’s lead never shrank below 23 points in the final half and freshman Lasani Johnson’s second downtown hit of the tilt pushed it to 35 (87-52) with 36 seconds left in the one-sided affair.
Geffrard was the third SFA player to reach the double-digit plateau as he slung in 13 on 5-for-6 shooting.
Yet another Great American Conference challenger will stride onto the floor of William R. Johnson Coliseum when Arkansas Tech makes the drive to Nacogdoches for a 6 p.m. tip-off Saturday evening. SFA is 1-0 in their all-time series with the Wonder Boys after notching a 94-57 home victory over ATU last December.