'Jacks Brace for Saturday Night Collision with Piney Woods Rival - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

'Jacks Brace for Saturday Night Collision with Piney Woods Rival Bearkats

From SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)

THE STARTING FIVE

• Bitter intrastate rivals will collide for the 196th time on the hardwood when three-time defending Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin (12-5, 5-0 SLC) hosts Sam Houston State University (10-9, 5-1 SLC) in the basketball edition of the Battle of the Piney Woods on Saturday night in William R. Johnson Coliseum. Legions of fans are once again expected to pack the seats of SFA’s venerable home facility prior to the 6 p.m. tip time and the game will feature a number of prizes and giveaways throughout. As has been and will continue to be the case for each and every one of SFA’s home games in 2015-16 and for the forseeable future, the Lumberjacks/Bearkats showdown will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Each and every moment of the action will be disseminated by none other than SFA roundball guru Rob Meyers on the ESPN3 feed and via the radio waves of Q107.7 and q1077.com.

• Just one 2015-16 Southland Conference setback will be present when the Lumberjacks and Bearkats vie for bragging rights. SFA is one of three undefeated teams in the 13-team league and sits in second place - just half a game behind surprising Houston Baptist (6-0 SLC) in the conference standings. Nipping at the heels of the Lumberjacks, the Bearkats are 5-1 in league play with their only setback coming at McNeese State (1/16/16).

• In the past 12 confrontations between the Lumberjacks and Bearkats, SFA has emerged victorious in all of them. Outside of Sam Houston State, there’s only one other Southland Conference squad the ‘Jacks have a longer active winning streak against (Central Arkansas, 14 games).

• Since Brad Underwood accepted employment as the 11th head coach in SFA history prior to the 2013-14 campaign, the ‘Jacks have never lost a game in the month of January. With Underwood at the helm of the program, SFA is 21-0 in all January tilts.

• Currently, the ‘Jacks are riding a season-long five-game winning streak which is the fourth-longest unbeaten stretch in Brad Underwood’s two-plus seasons in SFA’s center seat. Underwood has uncorked winning streaks of 29, 19 and nine games through the course of his first NCAA Division I head coaching assignment.

SCOUTING THE BEARKATS

• Loquacious SHSU head coach Jason Wooten has been forced to develop a Bearkat team devoid of many of the familiar faces boasted by the 2014-15 Southland Conference runner-up squad. Gone from last season’s squad is 70.2-percent of the total scoring output, but former reserves Aurimas Majauskas (14.3 ppg) and Dakarai Henderson (13.2 ppg) have grabbed hold of the reins through the first third of league action.

• Both the league’s coaches and sports information personnel envisioned a fourth-place finish for the Bearkats in the preseason polls. Senior Paul Baxter also earned a spot on the preseason All-Southland Conference First Team but hasn’t played in a single game this season.

• Encumbered by a .143 winning percentage (2-12) against the Lumberjacks, Hooten is on a quest to end his squad’s 12-game losing streak to SFA. In order to do that, he’ll likely have to take advantage of his squad’s rebounding game which is one of the best in the SLC. SHSU averages 38.8 rebounds per game - the second-highest mark in the league and 75th-best in the nation. Primary rebounding duties fall squarely on the shoulders of Torry Butler (6.5/game), Majauskas (5.9/game) and Jamal Williams (5.1/game).

• Launching at will from beyond the three-point arc, the Bearkats have taken a grand total of 448 long-range attempts - the highest total in Southland Conference. Connecting on those downtown tries, though, has been a problem as their .317 three-point field goal percentage ranks 12th out of 13 SLC squads and 279th out of 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball squads.

REVIEWING SFA at NEW ORLEANS

• Demetrious Floyd accepted the advice of the New Orleans visitors bureau and let the good times - as well as the three-pointers - roll in the ‘Jacks 82-58 victory at UNO last Monday night. The St. Louis, Mo., product scorched the nets with his 13-of-16 field goal performance and victimized the Privateers with a particularly lethal 6-of-8 stroke from long range to finish with a career-high 32 points. He became the second SFA player this season to amass 30 or more points in a single game and also set a new career high in field goals made.

• All good things have to come to an end some time, and that was the unfortunate case for senior Trey Pinkney who committed his first turnovers in a Southland Conference game this season. Heading into Monday night’s tilt in the Big Easy, the Katy, Texas, product has dished out 18 assists without committing a turnover in league play and led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.63). His A-T ratio in SLC games only is still a conference-best 6.33, however, as he has 19 helpers to just three turnovers.

• With Floyd leading them, the ‘Jacks connected on a blistering 61.1-percent (11-of-18) of their three-point field goal tries, marking the second-straight game where SFA’s long-range shooting percentage has been north of 60-percent.

• In what has become the norm through his career, senior Thomas Walkup filled up the stat sheet yet again by bringing 19 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals to the table. In his first three minutes of action, he became just the seventh player in SFA’s NCAA DI history to surpass 3,000 career minutes played.

• Floyd outscored UNO by himself in the second half, amassing 21 of his points in the final half. The Privateers could muster just 17 markers as a team through that same span and were limited to a field goal percentage of just 25-percent (6-of-24) in the half.

LET’S GO STREAKING!

• William R. Johnson Coliseum has been the site of many impressive win streaks since its construction and none have been more eye-popping than those that head coach Brad Underwood has overseen.

• 22 - Since a 79-77 OT loss to Northern Iowa on Nov. 18, 2014, SFA hasn’t experienced a setback in WRJ Coliseum. That’s a streak of 22-straight games which is tied for the eighth-longest home court winning streak in the nation with Valparaiso.

• 24.4 - Through the course of that 22-game home court winning streak, the ‘Jacks have outscored their opponents by 537 points and their margin of victory has been by an average of 24.4 points.

• SFA has won 14 consecutive Southland Conference games which stands as the sixth-longest winning streak in conference tilts in the league’s history. With one more win, the ‘Jacks would increase their unbeaten stretch in SLC games to 15 - the fifth-longest streak in conference history. Those 14-straight SLC triumphs also stand as the third-longest active conference winning streak in the nation behind Texas Southern (16, SWAC) and Villanova (21, BIG EAST).

• 32 - In recent memory, Southland Conference foes have not fared well in William R. Johnson Coliseum to say the least. SFA has defeated the last 32 SLC squads who have stepped foot inside the ‘Jacks home facility and the last league team to escape the facility with a win was UT-Arlington who claimed a 51-47 victory on Feb. 15, 2012. Of the current members of the 13-team league, Sam Houston State was the most recent one to obtain a victory at WRJ Coliseum as they bested SFA 55-40 on March 2, 2011.

THAT 70’S SHOW (AND THAT 80’S SHOW)

• The last time they played a game within the walls of William R. Johnson Coliseum, the ‘Jacks made a rather substantial edit to the program’s history books. In their 97-62 win over Abilene Christian, SFA shot 72.2-percent (39-of-54) from the field to establish a new single-game best field goal percentage. The previous mark of 71.7-percent was set in a win over Ouachita Baptist on Dec. 9, 1984 - almost 22 years ago.

• SFA’s 72.2-percent shooting night also stands as the best single-game field goal percentage in NCAA DI basketball this season as does the ‘Jacks 80-percent (12-of-15) night from three-point range. 
 

the ‘Jacks 82-58 victory at UNO last Monday night. The St. Louis, Mo., product scorched the nets with his 13-of-16 field goal performance and victimized the Privateers with a particularly lethal 6-of-8 stroke from long range to finish with a career-high 32 points. He became the second SFA player this season to amass 30 or more points in a single game and also set a new career high in field goals made.

• All good things have to come to an end some time, and that was the unfortunate case for senior Trey Pinkney who committed his first turnovers in a Southland Conference game this season. Heading into Monday night’s tilt in the Big Easy, the Katy, Texas, product has dished out 18 assists without committing a turnover in league play and led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.63). His A-T ratio in SLC games only is still a conference-best 6.33, however, as he has 19 helpers to just three turnovers.

• With Floyd leading them, the ‘Jacks connected on a blistering 61.1-percent (11-of-18) of their three-point field goal tries, marking the second-straight game where SFA’s long-range shooting percentage has been north of 60-percent.

• In what has become the norm through his career, senior Thomas Walkup filled up the stat sheet yet again by bringing 19 points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals to the table. In his first three minutes of action, he became just the seventh player in SFA’s NCAA DI history to surpass 3,000 career minutes played.

• Floyd outscored UNO by himself in the second half, amassing 21 of his points in the final half. The Privateers could muster just 17 markers as a team through that same span and were limited to a field goal percentage of just 25-percent (6-of-24) in the half.

LET’S GO STREAKING!

• William R. Johnson Coliseum has been the site of many impressive win streaks since its construction and none have been more eye-popping than those that head coach Brad Underwood has overseen.

• 22 - Since a 79-77 OT loss to Northern Iowa on Nov. 18, 2014, SFA hasn’t experienced a setback in WRJ Coliseum. That’s a streak of 22-straight games which is tied for the eighth-longest home court winning streak in the nation with Valparaiso.

• 24.4 - Through the course of that 22-game home court winning streak, the ‘Jacks have outscored their opponents by 537 points and their margin of victory has been by an average of 24.4 points.

• SFA has won 14 consecutive Southland Conference games which stands as the sixth-longest winning streak in conference tilts in the league’s history. With one more win, the ‘Jacks would increase their unbeaten stretch in SLC games to 15 - the fifth-longest streak in conference history. Those 14-straight SLC triumphs also stand as the third-longest active conference winning streak in the nation behind Texas Southern (16, SWAC) and Villanova (21, BIG EAST).

• 32 - In recent memory, Southland Conference foes have not fared well in William R. Johnson Coliseum to say the least. SFA has defeated the last 32 SLC squads who have stepped foot inside the ‘Jacks home facility and the last league team to escape the facility with a win was UT-Arlington who claimed a 51-47 victory on Feb. 15, 2012. Of the current members of the 13-team league, Sam Houston State was the most recent one to obtain a victory at WRJ Coliseum as they bested SFA 55-40 on March 2, 2011.

THAT 70’S SHOW (AND THAT 80’S SHOW)

• The last time they played a game within the walls of William R. Johnson Coliseum, the ‘Jacks made a rather substantial edit to the program’s history books. In their 97-62 win over Abilene Christian, SFA shot 72.2-percent (39-of-54) from the field to establish a new single-game best field goal percentage. The previous mark of 71.7-percent was set in a win over Ouachita Baptist on Dec. 9, 1984 - almost 22 years ago.

• SFA’s 72.2-percent shooting night also stands as the best single-game field goal percentage in NCAA DI basketball this season as does the ‘Jacks 80-percent (12-of-15) night from three-point range. 

THE PROWESS OF PINKNEY

• Brad Underwood has coached 86 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 near the forefront of the national scene in assist-to-turnover ratio. His A-T ratio of 4.91 is the third-best all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players and he has committed just three turnovers in five 2015-16 conference games.

10 BANDS, 50 BANDS, HEADBANDS

• No, the bands in this case aren’t wadded up rolls of currency. They are headbands, much like the ones sported by senior Jared Johnson as of late. While donning a headband, the Columbia, S.C., product is 11-of-22 from three-point range (50-percent). In games without his headband, Johnson is just 18-of-61 (29.5-percent) from downtown.

FOLLOW MY LEAD

• In the 200 minutes of Southland Conference basketball the ‘Jacks have taken part in so far, they have trailed for just 2:58. To put that number into a different perspective, that’s just 1.1-percent of total SLC game time the ‘Jacks have been behind on the scoreboard in 2015-16.

MAKE IT RAIN...

• Senior Demetrious Floyd’s primary weapon of choice through his two-year career at SFA has been the three-point shot. As a matter of fact, he has hit 96 of them in his days in purple and white and needs just 10 more to tie former SFA great Jake Parker for 10th all-time on the ‘Jacks NCAA DI list of individuals who have canned the most downtown buckets in their careers.

...MAKE IT RAIN...

• No team in the Southland Conference owns a better scoring average than SFA’s 79.2 points per game. That’s the 60th-highest per-game offensive output in DI basketball and the ‘Jacks scoring margin of +12.6 ranks first in the league and 32nd-highest in the land. Additionally, SFA is hitting 46.8-percent of its field goals - another SLC-topping figure which is good for 52nd-best in the nation.

MAKE IT RAIN ON THEM FOES

• In Southland Conference games, the ‘Jacks are putting up video game-esque numbers from the field. Their team field goal percentage of .556 is the highest in the league by 8.1-percent and their gaudy three-point percentage of 52.5 is 12.8-percent better than the next closest team in the SLC (Incarnate Word/39.7). The ‘Jacks have been throttling their league foes, too, beating them by a league-leading average of 25.8 points per game. This efficiency has helped SFA avoid placing any one of its players in the top minutes per game getters in the SLC.

FAST SECOND-HALF START

• In four of their five Southland Conference games this season, the ‘Jacks have started 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 62-31.

STRAIGHT CLASS, HOMIE

• Senior Thomas Walkup finds himself in the running for the prestigious 2015-16 Senior CLASS award. He found that information out earlier in the week when it was announced the Pasadena, Texas, product and reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year was one of 30 NCAA Division I men’s basketball student-athletes from around the nation who were up for the laurel. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

TO INFINITI AND BEYOND

• 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.

A HIGH RATE OF TURNOVER

• 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 17 games this season, the ‘Jacks have forced 322 turnovers which works out to an average of 18.9 opponent throwaways per game. Just one team - Bob Huggins’ West Virgnia Mountaineers - have a higher forced turnover figure (20.0) 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 201 times (11.8 per game) this season. The ‘Jacks turnover margin of +7.1 is the highest in the nation.

• In the latest NCAA Division I men’s basketball statistical rankings, SFA is near the top 10 in terms of assist to turnover ration. It’s Southland Conference-leading figure of 1.60 is currently the 11th-best number in all the land.

FLOYD FIRES AWAY

• 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 second among the SFA ranks in scoring (12.6 ppg) and is third in the league in three-pointers per game (2.6).

GOOD WORK LEADS TO GOOD WORKS

• 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.

MOVIN’ ON UP

• 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 six 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.

DELTA DELTA DELTA

• 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 1,347 points scored, 426 of them - or 31.6-percent - have come by way of the long-range basket. On average, SFA hits 8.4 long balls per tilt which is the second-best per-game figure in the Southland Conference.

CAN I HELP YA, HELP YA, HELP YA?

• 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 sixth in the nation with an assists per game average of 18.9.

FROM ALMOST ZERO TO HERO

• 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 16.1 points per game leads SFA and his .571 field goal percentage ranks 37th among all NCAA Division I players while his 31 total steals are the 81st-most in DI.
 

ALL THEY DO IS WIN

• 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 99 wins in their collegiate careers, nine 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 one his collegiate resume.

CARDINAL RULE

• Facing a turnaround of less than 48 hours following their bout against the Bearkats, the ‘Jacks will face off against Lamar on Monday night in William R. Johnson Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m., and the Cardinals will be on the hunt to improve their 2-4 league record as well as obtain their first win over the ‘Jacks in Nacogdoches in a little over a decade.

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