Tuesday Tussle with Central Arkansas Awaits Lumberjacks

Tuesday Tussle with Central Arkansas Awaits Lumberjacks

From SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- GAME FIFTEEN • SFA (9-5, 2-0 SLC) vs. CENTRAL ARKANSAS (2-11, 1-2 SLC)
DATE/TIME • Tuesday, Jan. 12 | 7:00 p.m.
SITE • William R. Johnson Coliseum (7,203) | Nacogdoches, Texas


• Back in William R. Johnson Coliseum for the second time in 2016, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team (9-5, 2-0 SLC) puts its nine-game Southland Conference winning streak on the line when Central Arkansas (2-11, 1-2 SLC) comes to the 'Jacks home facility for the first time since March 8, 2014.

• By way of an 89-69 triumph at Southeaster Louisiana on Monday, Jan. 4, Brad Underwoodincreased his team's unbeaten streak in the month of January to 18-0. The smallest margin of victory in those games has been three points (1/23/14 at Oral Roberts) but on average Underwood's squad has been outscoring the opposition by 18.2 points per outing in January.

• In the two-plus years of the Brad Underwood coaching era, the 'Jacks have only lost one Southland Conference game. Underwood has amassed a mark of 37-1 against SLC foes with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi handing the 'Jacks bench boss his lone league loss. That happened at Corpus Christi on February 14, 2015.

• No Southland Conference opponent has defeated the 'Jacks inside their home arena of William R. Johnson Coliseum in 1,425 days - a span of almost four years. The last SLC opponent to exit WRJ Coliseum with a triumph in tow was UT-Arlington who took a 51-47 decision over the 'Jacks on Feb. 15, 2012. The last time a current member of the 13-team Southland Conference defeated SFA at home was on March 2, 2011, when Sam Houston State took down the 'Jacks 55-40.

• Both of SFA's Southland Conference victories in 2015-16 have been rather emphatic, coming by 29 and 20 points respectively. When looking strictly at SLC contests, the 'Jacks are tops in the 13-team league with 87.5 points per game and a scoring margin of +24.5.


• Led by second-year head coach Russ Pennell, who has already matched his team's win total from a season ago with as a result of a 93-76 home triumph over Lamar last Saturday, the Bears enter William R. Johnson Coliseum on a mission to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since downing Sam Houston State and Lamar on Feb. 27 and March 1, 2014.

• Not even one year removed from being recognized as the Southland Conference Freshman of the Year, Jordan Howard has already shown to have dodged the dreaded sophomore slump in a big way. A shoot-first point guard, the Chandler, Ariz., product ranks third in the SLC in scoring (17.2 points per game) and is one week removed from torching Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a career-high 36 points on 10-of-14 shooting.

• Backing up Howard when the Bears possess the basketball are Derreck Brooks (11.6 ppg) and Justin Foreman (10.6 ppg). Working down low, graduate student Jake Zuilhof owns a team-best rebounding average of 5.7 per game while Brooks ranks second on the squad by grabbing 5.2 caroms per tilt. UCA's starting five have accounted for 73.4 of its 924 points this season.

• Both of the Bears' two wins have come by 14 or more points, but UCA is still searching for its first road win in almost two seasons. The last time UCA took a road decision was on January 30, 2014, when they edged McNeese State, 75-74, in Lake Charles, La. All but three of the Bears' 11 setbacks have come by 10 or more points and in their last road tilt UCA squandered an 11-point first half lead at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi en route to a 94-82 setback. Both of UCA's SLC victories in the past two seaons have occurred in their home den of the Farris Center.

• UCA has never defeated SFA and is six of those losses have come in Nacogdoches. The Bears have lost those games by 12 or more points each time.


• Although the Lions became the first Southland Conference team in 2015-16 to take a lead on the three-time defensive league champions, the 'Jacks ran away with matters in the second half by getting a game-high 20 points off the bench from senior Clide Geffrard to go along with his game-best eight rebounds in an 89-69 win in Hammond on Monday, Jan. 4. It was Geffrard's fourth game of 20+ points this season and his scoring average of 17 points per game in SLC game is the eighth-highest in the league.

• Twenty-four of the 'Jacks made field goals were assisted on, bringing their assists per game figure to 18.5. That mark not only leads the 13-team Southland Conference but stands as the 10th-best mark in the nation as of this writing.

• The 'Jacks dominance over Southeastern Louisiana featured another spectacular performance from senior Thomas Walkup. The reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year flirted with a triple-double for the second-straight SLC outing as his final stat line included nine points, seven rebounds and a game-best six assists. In conference games, the Pasadena, Texas, product ranks first among all SLC players in assists per game (seven) and third in rebounding (9.5/game).

• For 7:35 in the second half, the 'Jacks didn't allow the Lions to hit a field goal and SELA got 33.3-percent of their points (23) from the free throw line in the one-sided affair.


• Perhaps not the tallest or the fastest team in the nation, the 'Jacks have been making quite an excellent basketball living thriving off of their defense which is - literally - the best or near the best in the nation in some categories.

• In their 14 games this season, the 'Jacks have forced 265 turnovers which works out to an average of 18.93 opponent throwaways per game. Just one team - Bob Huggins' West Virgnia Mountaineers - have a higher forced turnover figure (20.8) in all of NCAA Division I basketball. When Underwood was the director of basketball operations in Kansas State in 2006, he served under Huggins, who was the Wildcats' head coach at the time.

• Conversely, SFA has tossed the ball away just 161 times (11.5 per game) this season. The 'Jacks turnover margin of +7.4 is the highest in the nation.

• In the latest NCAA Division I men's basketball statistical rankings, SFA sits just outside the top 10 in terms of assist to turnover ration. It's Southland Conference-leading figure of 1.61 is currently the 14th-best number in all the land.


• Demetrious Floyd is likely featured prominently on opposing scouting reports as he's one of the best three-point shooters in both the SLC and the nation. He ranks third among the SFA ranks in scoring (12.4 ppg) and is second in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.7).


• In both of their Southland Conference games this season, the 'Jacks have began the second half with a lead of 10 or more points and have quickly put the game out of reach from there. In the first five minutes of the second half in SLC games, SFA has outscored the opposition 28-10.


• Brad Underwood has coached 83 games at SFA, and in each one of those tilts he has turned to Trey Pinkney to serve as the starting point guard for the Lumberjacks.

• Never have the ball handling or passing abilities of the Katy, Texas, product been questioned and so far this season his decision-making skills have the senior rising quickly to the top of the national scene in assist-to-turnover ratio. His A-T ratio of 5.5 ranks fourth among all NCAA Division I men's basketball players and among the top ten assist-to-turnover ratio owners, he is the only one who hasn't committed a turnover in a conference game.

• In 2015-16 SLC games, Pinkney has dished out nine assists without committing a turnover.


• The destination isn't the east side, nor is it a deluxe apartment in the sky for SFA head coachBrad Underwood - it's sixth place on the all-time coaching wins leaderboard for the 'Jacks third-year head man. With ni more victories, Underwood will surpass Ned Fowler's 78 career wins and sit right in the middle of the 11-man all-time coaching wins chart.


• 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 1,083 points scored, 342 of them - or 31.6-percent - have come by way of the long-range basket. On average, SFA hits 8.1 long balls per tilt which is the second-best per-game figure in the Southland Conference in all games. In SLC games, the 'Jacks average 12.5 triples per tilt - the highest number in the league.


• 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 leads the 13-team Southland Conference and 10th in the nation with an assists per game average of 18.6.


• Rightfully described as a self-made player so many times throughout his career, seniorThomas Walkup has a pair of All-American nods to his credit as well as a 2014-15 Southland Conference Player of the Year citation. This comes after the Pasadena, Texas, product received only two offers following his pre-collegiate career. Currently, Walkup ranks among the top ten in the Southland Conference in no fewer than eight statistical categories. His 15.0 points per game leads SFA and his .550 field goal percentage ranks 53rd among all NCAA Division I players while his 25 total steals are the 65th-most in DI.


• 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 61-2 (.968) at SFA when leading at the half.


• It's no secret that the 'Jacks senior class is one of the most accomplished in the Southland Conference, but this season they have accounted for 64.6-percent of the team's 994 point total. SFA's top three point-producers are members of the senior class and 65.7 percent of the team's 236 assists (155) come courtesy of the senior class.


• 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 19th-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.


• For the second-straight year, SFA head coach Brad Underwood has been selected as one of 48 NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches from around the nation to participate in the ESPN Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge. Underwood is in the running for a $100,000 grand prize which will be granted to the charitable organization sponsored by him - in this case, the Nacogdoches Area United Way. Every day, individuals are encouraged to cast their vote for Underwood by going to VoteForBrad.com. Last season, Underwood finished seventh in the competition and raised a grand total of $10,000 for the Nacogdoches Area United Way.


• 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 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots all while shooting 47-87 (.540) from the field and 7-16 (.438) from long-ball territory. Holyfield is also the only freshman in Underwood's tenure at SFA to start his first 14 games.

• When stacked up against all other freshman student-athletes in the Southland Conference, Holyfield ranks fourth in scoring, first in field goal percentage (.540), second in blocked shots (1.4/game) and first in offensive rebounds (1.9/game).

• In Southland Conference confrontations, Holyfield has yet to miss a free throw (5-5) - one of six student-athletes from around the league who can make that claim. His 5.5 rebounds per game in SLC games is the best mark among conference freshmen, too.


• 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 .525 (145-276) and contributed 10.4 points per game to the 'Jacks cause.


• So far in his career, senior Trey Pinkney has passed out 335 assists.Against LSU-Shreveport, the Katy, Texas, product became just the seventh player in program history to notch 300 career helpers. His 340 assists rank fourth all-time in SFA's NCAA Division I history. Additionally, Pinkney's 124 steals are fifth all-time on SFA's DI charts and he needs 21 more thefts to move up to fourth place.


• Stephen F. Austin has found itself with fewer points than its opponent just 13 times in the last two-plus 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, three of the 'Jacks five setbacks have come at the hands of Baylor, Northern Iowa and UAB - all 2015 NCAA Tourney teams.


• 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.


• 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 316-154 record which works out to a winning percentage of .672. The only school in the state to produce better numbers in that time has been Texas (368-164, .692 win %).


• Heading into their latest season on the hardwood, SFA is making a bid to accomplish something no other team in the six-decade history of the Southland Conference has done: win four consecutive league titles. Prior to SFA's three-peat, the last team to capture a trio of successive league crowns was Sam Houston State which racked up SLC West championships from 2008-11. Before to the Bearkats run of dominance, Lamar accomplished the feat from 1978-81.


• Extending their three-year hot streak at the very least into the Southland Conference preseason polls, Stephen F. Austin was chosen as the league favorite in both the coaches' and sports information directors versions of the 2015-16 ballot. Northwestern State was tabbed for a runner-up league finish in both lists while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi checked in at third place in the preseason prediction checklist. Below is the full version of each poll:

• Coaches' Poll (Place. Team (first place votes) - total points)

1. Stephen F. Austin (12) - 144, 2. Northwestern State (1) - 130, 3. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi - 124, 4. Sam Houston State - 109, 5. Lamar - 85, 6. Incarnate Word - 81, 7. Southeastern Louisiana - 70, 8. New Orleans - 69, 9. Houston Baptist - 61, 10. McNeese State - 54, 11. Nicholls - 36, 12. Central Arkansas - 34, 13. Abilene Christian - 17

• SID Poll (Place. Team (first place votes) - total points)

1. Stephen F. Austin (9) - 141, 2. Northwestern State (4) - 135, 3. Texas

Word - 82, 6. Lamar - 79 6. Lamar - 79, 7. Southeastern Louisiana - 69, 8. McNeese State - 66, 9. Houston Baptist - 65, 10. New Orleans - 62, 11. Nicholls - 38, 12. Central Arkansas - 26, 13. Abilene Christian - 21


• With its 64-55 win over Sam Houston State last March 7, SFA laid claim to its third-straight Southland Conference crown. The 'Jacks are one of just nine teams in the country to have won their last three regular season conference championships joining Belmont (Ohio Valley), Davidson (Southern and A-10), Gonzaga (West Coast), Harvard (Ivy League), High Point (Big South), Kansas (BIg 12), Louisiana Tech (Western Athletic and Conference USA) and Murray State (Ohio Valley).


• The only two seniors on SFA's roster who have spent their careers in purple and white,Thomas Walkup and Trey Pinkney have been responsible for their fair share of wins throughout their careers. The pair each


• With its 64-55 win over Sam Houston State last March 7, SFA laid claim to its third-straight Southland Conference crown. The 'Jacks are one of just nine teams in the country to have won their last three regular season conference championships joining Belmont (Ohio Valley), Davidson (Southern and A-10), Gonzaga (West Coast), Harvard (Ivy League), High Point (Big South), Kansas (BIg 12), Louisiana Tech (Western Athletic and Conference USA) and Murray State (Ohio Valley).


• The only two seniors on SFA's roster who have spent their careers in purple and white,Thomas Walkup and Trey Pinkney have been responsible for their fair share of wins throughout their careers. The pair each has 97 wins in their collegiate careers, 11 fewer than former Lumberjack star Jake Parker who collected a program-record 108 during his career and is the only 'Jack to have 100 or more wins on his collegiate resume.

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• 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.


• SFA will wrap up its two-game home stand on Saturday night when the Abilene Christian University Wildcats pay a visit to William R. Johnson Coliseum for just the second time since 1984. Projected to finish 13th in the Southland Conference preseason polls, ACU has a road win over UCA under its belt so far this season. Game time between the 'Jacks and 'Cats is slated for 6:00 p.m.