From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Various ornithologists from around the planet have cataloged over 40 types of existing flightless bird. The vast majority of those non-airborne fauna reside outside the borders of the United States and traditionally the cardinal isn’t listed among them.
On Tuesday night in William R. Johnson Coliseum, however, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team made a new addition to that list by grounding the Cardinals of Lamar.
Pumped up by another dominant, all-around outing by Thomas Walkup as well as a 20-point night courtesy of reigning Southland Conference Player of the Week Demetrious Floyd, the ‘Jacks clipped Lamar’s wings and rolled to an 86-52 win.
For the game, SFA players slipped on multi-colored UnderArmour sneakers and the ‘Jacks entire coaching staff wore sneakers with gold laces in addition to their customary suits as part of the NABC’s Suits & Sneakers Princess Lacey’s Laces initiatives. Part of Coaches vs. Cancer week (Jan. 25-31), the two aforementioned events help raise awareness about the fight against cancer and promote the American Cancer Society and the late Lacey Holsworth who gained much media notoriety as a result of her battle with cancer and special relationship with the Michigan State men’s basketball team.
En route to improving to 14-5 and 7-0 in league play, SFA held Lamar – the nation’s fifth-best rebounding team coming in – to 13 boards below their season average of 42.8. The ‘Jacks won the war on the boards by a 36-29 margin and taking care of the basketball wasn’t near the top of the Cardinals’ priority list, either. SFA forced 22 Lamar turnovers and manufactured 29 points off of them.
Walkup’s stat line consisted of a game-high 22 points, a game-best seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and one blocked shot. The Pasadena, Texas, product connected on 10 of his 12 field goal attempts and turned the ball over just once. Fellow four-year SFA senior Trey Pinkney chalked up a game-best eight assists and didn’t commit a turnover in 21 minutes of action.
Other double-digit point getters for SFA included Ty Charles and Clide Geffrard who netted 13 and 11 respectively. Geffrard tied with Walkup for game-high honors in the rebounding department (seven) while Charles added five assists and five rebounds. The ‘Jacks hit 62.1-percent of their field goals (36-of-58), marking the third time in the last four games in which SFA has shot 60-percent or higher.
In one of the game’s oddities, the Cardinals became the first Southland Conference team to hold a lead over the Lumberjacks at home this season when Preston Mattingly’s layup started the scoring 57 seconds in.
Through the first 3:08, the teams swapped buckets and found themselves knotted on three separate occasions before Walkup found freshman TJ Holyfield for a layup which put SFA ahead for good with 16:13 to go in the first half.
Holyfield’s score signaled the beginning of a 39-14 run by the hosts for the rest of the half. Frighteningly efficient on offense, it took the ‘Jacks just 2:54 to turn a 6-all tie into an 18-6 lead. The last points of that 12-0 SFA barrage came in the form of a three-point play by Geffrard. From that point on, SFA’s lead dipped below 10 points just once, when Nick Garth capped a 4-0 Lamar run with a layup to make matters 18-10 with 12:47 left in the initial frame.
Scoreless stretches of 4:05, 4:02 and 3:56, delivered as a direct result of the ‘Jacks well-oiled defense, left the Cardinals without any answers for SFA’s deft ball movement and varied offensive strike.
Pinkney located a leaping Charles with 2:01 to go in the first and the sophomore unleashed a two-handed dunk to increase SFA’s massive edge to 43-14.
Unwilling to let their foot off the gas in the second half, the ‘Jacks continued to build on their substantial lead. A pair of free throw swishes from Walkup gave the ‘Jacks a 77-37 lead - their first 40-point cushion of the season – with 8:14 to go in the final frame.
Lamar’s long-range assault fired found little success as it fired at a paltry rate of 12.5-percent (2-of-16) – a single-game low this season by an SFA opponent in three-point field goal shooting percentage.
Garth wrapped up his night with a team-high 12 points and Dorian Chatman added 10 for the Cardinals who shot 37-percent as a team in the lopsided loss.
There is only one Southland Conference school that has dealt the ‘Jacks a loss in the Brad Underwood coaching era, and that’s where SFA is headed next. A crucial road trip to Corpus Christi will put two of the three undefeated SLC squads against one another on Saturday afternoon when SFA takes on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. The Islanders are 15-3 and 6-0 in league place and the matchup will be broadcast worldwide on ESPN3.