'Jacks Battle Wonder Boys in Final WRJ Coliseum Clash of 2015

'Jacks Battle Wonder Boys in Final WRJ Coliseum Clash of 2015

From SFA Athletics


• Winners of five of their last six tilts, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team (5-3) will make its final William R. Johnson Coliseum appearance of 2015 on Saturday night when the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (5-2) meander across the Arkansas/Texas state line for just the second-ever clash between the two programs.

• The 'Jacks are squarely in the midst of their longest home stretch of the 2015-16 campaign. This is the third of four consecutive games that SFA will play in their home digs and the 'Jacks are 3-0 in home tilts this season. In the Brad Underwood coaching era, SFA has been almost unstoppable at home, rolling to a record of 33-1 in two-plus seasons (.971 winning percentage).

• McPherson, Kan., will be well-represented in William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday night as both Brad Underwood and Arkansas Tech head coach Chad Kline hail from the 13,155-person city. SFA freshman Payton Stephens also calls McPherson, Kan., home.

• In the only other meeting between the 'Jacks and the Wonder Boys, SFA coasted to a 94-57 triumph in William R. Johnson Coliseum on December 20, 2014. In that game, SFA drilled 12 three-pointers which tied a single-game record in the Brad Underwood coaching era at the time.

• Following their first 0-2 start since the 2001-02 campaign, the 'Jacks have reeled off three straight wins. In each of those triumphs, SFA has forced 20 or more turnovers and in total the last three SFA opponents have combined for 75 throwaways.


• Now in his second season as the Wonder Boys' bench boss, Chad Kline has posted a record of 23-16 and led Arkansas Tech to a GAC Tournament title last season. From there, the Wonder Boys made a seventh-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament.

• Picked to finish fourth in the 12-team Great American Conference, the Wonder Boys are off to a 5-2 start and the matchup with the Lumberjacks will not affect that mark one way or the other as this is an exhibition bout for the Arkansas squad.

• The benefactor of a home-heavy schedule so far, the Wonder Boys have racked up a 4-1 mark at home compared to a 1-1 showing on the road in the young 2015-16 campaign.

• After seeing their first three victories come by a combined five points, Arkansas Tech's last two wins have come by 15 and 13 points respectively. In games decided by five points or less, the Wonder Boys own a record of 3-1.

• Arkansas Tech's roster is riddled with former NCAA Division I and junior college players. Of the 16 Wonder Boys, just four of them came right to the team after high school. Another four spent some point of their college careers at various DI institutions such as Pitt, Mississippi Valley State, Grand Canyon and SLC school Southeastern Louisiana.

• Juniors Marquis Yates and Alexander Thomas head up the list of leading scorers for the Wonder Boys. The pair accounts for 35.7-percent of ATU's scoring load, averaging 15 and 11.4 points per game respectively.

• A one-time Pitt player, junior Tyrone Haughton leads both the Wonder Boys and the GAC in blocked shots with an average of 2.43 per game.


• With senior Demetrious Floyd's penchant for the three-pointer serving as their trump card, the 'Jacks rolled to an 87-54 triumph over Henderson State in William R. Johnson Coliseum on Tuesday night.

• In the first meeting between SFA and the NCAA Division II squad in nearly 31 years, Floyd's scorching long-range touch translated to a game and career-high 26 points for the St. Louis, Mo., product. His six three-pointers also signified a new career-best and were a large part of the 'Jacks long-range assault consisting of a season-high 11 trifectas.

• All 12 'Jacks who played saw at least 10 minutes of action and all but two of them notched points in the blowout victory.

• Freshman Nathan Bain enjoyed the first double-digit rebounding outing of his young career as he snagged a game and career-best 10 boards to go along with six points, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

• Joining Floyd in double-digit scoring territory were fellow seniors Clide Geffrard (13) andThomas Walkup (10).

• Walkup's night almost concluded with a triple-double as he finished with 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists. The stat-stuffing senior also contributed four steals and a blocked shot to SFA's cause.

• Henderson State opened up a 4-0 lead just 51 seconds into the tilt and remained on top for 4:41, but a 32-7 SFA run in the final 12:03 of the first half put the hosts in control for good.

• Yet another impressive defensive performance translated to a multitude of SFA points. Henderson State committed 27 turnovers which led directly to 34 points by the 'Jacks. In three out of the past four games, SFA has scored at least 20 points off of opponent turnovers.


• Against current Great American Conference (GAC) institutions, SFA has played 56 total games and in those tilts the 'Jacks have compiled a mark of 34-22 (.607 winning percentage). When GAC 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 22-10 - good for a winning percentage of .688. 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 - 7-1 - W, 87-54 - 12/5/15 - 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.


• With Brad Underwood at the helm of the 'Jacks, the month of December has yielded nothing but wins. In the two-plus seasons since Underwood's installation as the 11th head coach in program history, SFA has rolled to a 15-0 record in the month of December which includes an 11-0 mark at home.


• In early December, senior Thomas Walkup became one of 154 men's basketball players from NCAA Division I, II, III and the NAIA to be nominated for the 2016 Allstate National Basketball Coaches Association (NABC) Good Works Team. The five-man Division I team, which will be revealed in February, will be comprised of student-athletes who make the greatest contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement. Walkup is one of just two Southland Conference student-athletes who receive nominations, the other being Northwestern State's Jalan West.


• 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 third out of 351 NCAA Division I teams in terms of turnover margin (+7.4) and has forced 19.63 turnovers per game - the fourth-best mark in the nation. Of their 588 points scored this season, 159 - or just over 27-percent of them - have been manufactured off of opponent throwaways.


• The fourth letter in the Greek alphabet has three sides, and three is a number the 'Jacks have molded a big part of their offense around. Once again, the three-pointer is being utilized as a primary weapon for SFA. Of their 588 points scored, 183 of them - or 31.1-percent - have come by way of the long-range basket. On average, SFA hits 7.6 long balls per tilt which ranks as the second-highest figure in the Southland Conference.


• One season ago, no team in NCAA Division I men's basketball was more comfortable sharing the rock than the Lumberjacks as SFA led the nation in assists per game (17.8 per game) and that trend hasn't changed a bit in 2015-16. As of this writing, SFA is second in the 13-team Southland Conference and 58th in the land with an assists per game average of 16.3.


• 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.


• By leading the 'Jacks to a 2-1 record at the Challenge in Music City, senior Thomas Walkupwas placed on the all-tournament team. Over the course of that three-game stretch, the Pasadena, Texas, product averaged 15 points, 6.3 rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block per game all while shooting 54.8-percent from the field.


• At no point through the relatively short course of the 2015-16 campaign has SFA been absent from the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. In the preseason list, the 'Jacks were ranked fourth and as of this writing SFA is the 17th-best mid-major squad in the land. Various mid-major coaches around the United States vote on the poll which is released each week through 2015-16.


• 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 (16.6 ppg), sixth-best rebounding figure (6.5/game) fifth-highest assist producer (4.6/game) as well as the third-highest field goal percentage (.576).


• 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.


• 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 third in field goal percentage (.491), second in blocked shots (1.3/game) and first in offensive rebounds (2.0/game).

• No SLC individual - freshman through senior - has matched Holyfield's hot start from downtown as his long-range percentage of .545 (6-11) is tops in the 13-team league.


• 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.


• So far in his career, senior Trey Pinkney has passed out 314 assists. Against LSU-Shreveport, the Katy, Texas, product became just the seventh player in program history to notch 300 career helpers. His 314 assists rank fifth all-time in SFA's NCAA Division I history. Additionally, Pinkney's 113 steals are ninth-all time on SFA's DI charts.


• Stephen F. Austin has found itself with fewer points than its opponent just eight times in the last two seasons, and those losses came against some quality opponents. Four of the Lumberjacks' five losses in 2014-15 came at the hands of eventual 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. This season, two of the 'Jacks three setbacks have come at the hands of Baylor and Northern Iowa.


• 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.

728 DAYS

• A 71-63 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last season was the first Southland Conference setback by SFA in 728 days. It ended the nation's longest active conference win streak at 32 games and was SFA's first SLC loss since Feb. 16, 2013.


• Since the 2000-01 season, just one other NCAA Division I institution has succeeded in producing more triumphs or a bettern winning percentage than the Lumberjacks. In the past 15 years, SFA is the owner of a 283-148 record which works out to a winning percentage of .657. The only school in the state to produce better numbers in that time has been Texas (344-148, .699 win %).


• A trip down memory lane is in store for the 'Jacks in their final home showdown of 2015. The days of SFA basketball yore will be revisited when the team bounds onto the floor of Shelton Gymnasium to take part in its first intercollegaite basketball skirmish in that particular edifice since February 28, 1974. Opposing SFA in the gym which seats roughly one-tenth of the William R. Johnson Coliseum will be NAIA combatant Our Lady of the Lake who has already done battle with other Southland Conference foes such as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Incarnate Word. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.