From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
THE STARTING FIVE
• In its final home game in the month of January, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team (13-5, 6-0 SLC) puts its undefeated Southland Conference record on the line when Lamar (10-9, 2-5 SLC) enters William R. Johnson Coliseum seeking to snap a two-game skid by securing their first win in Nacogdoches since 2006. The opponent, though, won’t just be on the basketball court for the ‘Jacks on Monday night as SFA will once again join the battle against cancer by partaking in the NABC’s Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. Head coach Brad Underwood and the rest of the SFA coaching staff will be wearing UnderArmour sneakers with gold laces to celebrate Suits And Sneakers Awareness Week (1/25-31), and raise awareness about the fight against cancer while sharing the importance of how good nutrition and physical activity can reduce risk of the disease. The gold laces signify the ‘Jacks willingness to particpate in Princess Lacey’s Laces - named in honor of Michigan State fan and eight-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth who developed a special relationship with the Spartans’ Adreian Payne last season and garnered much national media attention.
• Lumberjack fans around the United States and elsewhere on the globe can follow each and every minute of the game’s action by checking out the live video broadcast on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app. Infusing the video feed with charm and countless tidbits of SFA basketball knowledge will once again be the responsibility of Rob Meyers whose call can also be picked up on Q107.7 and q1077.com.
• With a win tonight, SFA is seeking its fourth-straight 7-0 start in Southland Conference play. The ‘Jacks are 41-1 in SLC tilts with Brad Underwood at the helm.
• Since 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 22-0 in all January tilts.
• Currently, the ‘Jacks are riding a season-long six-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 CARDINALS
• Southland Conference journeyman Tic Price is on his second full tour of duty as the Cardinals’ head coach after being shifted in on an interim basis for Lamar’s final five tilts of the 2013-14 campaign. In the midst of a four-game road trip, Price and his Cardinals are seeking to bounce back after setbacks at Southeastern La. (98-70, 1/18) and Houston Baptist (92-79, 1/23). Since a 79-67 victory over Nicholls in Thibodeaux, La., back on 1/2/16, the Cardinals have dropped all three of their league road tilts. Lamar’s only other SLC victory came in Beaumont when it edged Northwestern State 86-82 on 1/16/16.
• When the preseason polls came out, Lamar was tabbed to finish fifth in the 13-team league by the coaches and sixth by the sports information personnel.
• Balance has been the name of the game for the Cardinals thus far as just one players averages more than 10 points per game. That individual, Nick Garth, is a name most likely being tossed around for the league’s Newcomer of the Year as the freshman’s 14.4 points per game and perpetual green light on offense lead Lamar. Garth has attempted 224 field goals this season - almost 100 more than the next closest Lamar player.
• The league’s best rebounding team will be facing off against the league’s best squad in rebounding defense on Monday night. Lamar averages an SLC-best 42.8 rebounds per game which is the fifth-highest average among the 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams. Leading that charge is Dontavious Sears who yanks down 6.2 caroms per tilt and nine per game in SLC bouts.
REVIEWING SFA vs. SAM HOUSTON STATE
• A packed house was what the ‘Jacks got for SFA/Sam Houston CXCVI (that’s 196 in Roman numerals, as in the 196th meeting all-time between the two programs) as a grand total of 7,123 rabid Lumberjack supporters crammed into William R. Johnson Coliseum to watch SFA run its win streak over the Bearkats to 12 games by way of a 76-64 triumph.
• Averaging 13 points per game against Sam Houston State coming in to his third meeting with the team in orange, senior Clide Geffrard poured in a game-best 22 on 7-of-10 shooting and was one of three SFA players to finish with 16 or more points in the wire-to-wire victory.
• Thomas Walkup wowed those in attendance by taking off for a fast-break tomahawk jam in the ‘Jacks 13-2 run which spanned the game’s first 5:59. Those two points were the most exciting of his 16 scored, and the Pasadena, Texas, product also added game-highs in rebounds (eight) and assists (six). Along the way, he moved up to third all-time in SFA’s DI history in terms of rebounding. His career rebounding total now stands at 630 and he needs to haul in 48 more to take over as the program’s all-time leader in that category.
• Senior Demetrious Floyd carried over a spectacular shooting performance in New Orleans by netting 17 of the ‘Jacks 76 on a 7-of-14 night. His last of three long-range balls stopped a 10-2 SHSU run with 6:13 to go.
• In order to secure the win, the ‘Jacks had to survive 16 turnovers - a season-high. Sam Houston slung in 15 points off of those throwaways, but SFA received a 26-18 advantage in points off the bench and turned 17 SHSU turnovers into 25 points to help them keep one of the longest home court winning streaks in the nation intact. SFA’s 12-point margin of victory was their smallest in an SLC game this season and cut their league-leading scoring margin down to +12.6.
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.
• 23 - 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 23-straight games which is the seventh-longest home court winning streak in the nation.
• 23.9 - Through the course of that 23-game home court winning streak, the ‘Jacks have outscored their opponents by 549 points and their margin of victory has been by an average of 23.9 points.
• SFA has won 15 consecutive Southland Conference games which stands as the fifth-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 16 - the fourth-longest streak in conference history. Those 15-straight SLC triumphs also stand as the third-longest active conference winning streak in the nation behind Texas Southern (17, SWAC) and Villanova (22, BIG EAST).
• 33 - In recent memory, Southland Conference foes have not fared well in William R. Johnson Coliseum to say the least. SFA has defeated the last 33 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)
• In their Saturday night tilt against Abilene Christian back on January 16, the ‘Jacks made a rather substantial edit to the program’s history books. That 97-62 win over the Wildcats saw SFA shoot 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.
AT A LOSS FOR LOSSES
• Trey Pinkney and Thomas Walkup, both of the four-year seniors on the ‘Jacks squad in 2015-16, have never lost a Southland Conference game at home in their careers. The pair is a perfect 31-0 against SLC opposition in William R. Johnson Coliseum in their careers. Those two are also 56-3 in SLC games in their careers.
THE PROWESS OF PINKNEY
• Brad Underwood has coached 87 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 4.75 is the fifth-best all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players and he has committed just four turnovers in six 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-23 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 240 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 1.2-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 99 of them in his days in purple and white and needs just seven 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 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 .550 is the highest in the league by 6.9-percent and their gaudy three-point percentage of 50 is 8.5-percent better than the next closest team in the SLC (Texas A&M-CC/41.5). The ‘Jacks have been throttling their league foes, too, beating them by a league-leading average of 23.5 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 five of their six 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 70-40.
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.
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 18 games this season, the ‘Jacks have forced 339 turnovers which works out to an average of 18.8 opponent throwaways per game. Just one team - Bob Huggins’ West Virgnia Mountaineers - have a higher forced turnover figure (19.84) 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 217 times (12.1 per game) this season. The ‘Jacks turnover margin of +6.8 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 1.56 is currently the 13th-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 (12.8 ppg) and is third in the league in three-pointers per game (2.7).
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 five 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 1,423 points scored, 450 of them - or 31.6-percent - have come by way of the long-range basket. On average, SFA hits 8.3 long balls per tilt which is the 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 18.8.
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 101 wins in their collegiate careers, seven 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.
THE BIG SMOOTH
• Coming off the bench in all but two of the ‘Jacks 18 confrontation this season, senior Clide Geffrard has needed just submitted his name as a candidate for Southland Conference Player of the Year by morphing into one of the most consistent players among the ‘Jacks ranks.
• Geffrard has scored at least 10 points in 12 straight games this season. That’s the longest streak of double-digit scoring efforts by any SFA player in 2015-16.
• In Southland Conference games, Geffrard has been particularly effective. His 14.8 points and six rebounds per SLC tilt rank 14th and 16th respectively among all league players and his three-point field goal percentage of .591 in SLC games is the highest in the 13-team conference.
THE POWER OF CHRIST(I) COMPELS YOU
• In the first round of what will likely decide who lays claim to the Southland Conference regular season championship, the ‘Jacks head to Corpus Christi on Saturday afternoon to do battle with the 14-3 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders who are also 6-0 in league play. The tilt, which will be carried on ESPN3, will begin at 2 p.m.