From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release) – For 20 minutes it appeared as though the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team was going to have its hands full from an upset-mided Arkansas Tech squad.
Then the second half started.
Riding the wave of a 47-15 second-half scoring surge and using double-double from seniors Clide Geffrard and Thomas Walkup, the ‘Jacks throttled Arkansas Tech 86-48 in their 2015 William R. Johnson Coliseum curtain call.
A multitude of one-sided second-half numbers aside from the scoring margin manifested themselves throughout the non-conference skirmish. Led by Geffrard’s game and career-high 14 rebounds as well as another 10 caroms from Walkup, SFA held a 53-40 advantage on the glass at the final horn. Geffrard, who hails from Pompano Beach, Fla., chipped in 12 points while Walkup added 14. Senior Jared Johnson concluded his 16-minute outing with a team and game-best 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Although the final score was indicative of a blowout, it was anything but through the opening 20 minutes of action. Boasting a roster with four former NCAA Division I players and some impressive height, the Wonder Boys controlled matters for a good portion of the opening stanza, going on top by as many as four points on a pair of occasions.
Jared Johnson began things with an old-fashioned three-point play after getting his hands on the first of SFA’s 13 steals, but Arkansas Tech responded by reeling off the next seven points to open up a 7-3 edge 2:36 into things.
TJ Holyfield injected the pro-SFA congregation with some excitement near the midway point of the first when his third second-chance bucket came by way of a powerful two-handed flush. The Albuquerque, N.M., product’s dunk sent SFA’s lead to 18-13 – its second-largest of the first half.
DeChriston McKinney converted a layup for the Wonder Boys with 3:24 remaining in the first to make the score 33-29 in favor of ATU, but directly after that field goal the ‘Jacks clamped down hard on the defensive end and didn’t allow the Wonder Boys to net a single point for the next 9:34.
An unrelenting SFA scoring assault of the 21-0 variety spanned that same portion of time and left the visitors dejected and at a loss for answers. Demetrious Floyd dropped in his lone long ball of the game in the ‘Jacks 10-0 run to close the first half while Geffrard added three in the first-half portion of the elongated scoring spree.
Starting the second half in style, Jared Johnson called buckets on a pair of downtown tries before firing a pinpoint pass to Ty Charles who hammered down a highlight reel two-handed rim-rocker, which elicited the nosiest cheer of the evening.
Arkansas Tech’s shooing percentages took a nosedive in the last 20 minutes. Through the first half, the Wonder Boys hit 13 of their 26 shot attempts (50-percent), but SFA put a chokehold on the NCAA Division II squad in the last frame, limiting it to a 5-for-24 (20.8-percent) showing.
Consistency in opponent turnovers was another key ingredient of SFA’s 16th December win in the Brad Underwood coaching era. Twenty-five ATU turnovers were turned into 32 points – or 37.2-percent of the ‘Jacks total offensive output.
Coming off the bench to spell their comrades in the regular rotation, freshmen Jovan Grujicand Lasani Johnson dropped in seven and eight points respectively – all of which came in the last 20 minutes. Grujic also hauled down three rebounds and finished with two of the ‘Jacks nine blocked shots. Holyfield added a career-best three rejections on the defensive end.
Heading up the distribution on offense was senior Trey Pinkney who passed out a game-high five assists. Ball movement in the second half was crisp by the home team to say the least. Of the 18 field goals drilled by SFA, all but two were assisted on.
All 12 of the ‘Jacks who saw the court managed to put in points and all but one of them grabbed at least one rebound, too.
Intercollegiate basketball returns to Shelton Gym next Saturday evening after a hiatus of over 40 years when the ‘Jacks host Our Lady of the Lake at 5 p.m., on Dec. 19. SFA will put its undefeated record in December under Underwood on the line when it hits the floor of the cozy facility.