From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
THE STARTING FIVE
• Concluding a two-game road swing armed with the Southland Conference’s only undefeated league record, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team (15-5, 8-0 SLC) will embark on a journey of approximately 152 miles to take part in a Saturday night bout at Houston Baptist University (14-8, 8-1 SLC) within the walls of Sharp Gymnasium on the campus of HBU. A sellout crowd is expected for the battle between the first and second-place squads in the 13-team league, but fans unable to get their hands on one of the hottest tickets in Houston can follow every second of the action via live stats, a live video feed and - of course - through the courtside commentary of the hardest working man in Nacogdoches, Rob Meyers. All of the links to the above servies can be located by visiting SFAJacks.com, and Meyers’ soothing baritone play-by-play and analysis will also be carried over the radio waves on Q107.7 in Nacogdoches.
• By way of a come-from-behind victory at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last Saturday afternoon, Lumberjacks head man Brad Underwood closed out the month of January with an 8-0 record. That’s the third time in as many seasons as SFA’s bench boss in which he has achieved that particular feat, running his DI head coaching record in the first month of the year to an envious 24-0.
• Just eight teams in the nation have yet to fall in a conference battle during the 2015-16 season. The ‘Jacks are 8-0 in league play and are joined in the ranks of the conference unbeatens by Stony Brook (9-0, American East), VCU (9-0, A-10), Yale (4-0, Ivy), Columbia (4-0, Ivy), Wichita State (11-0, Missouri Valley), San Diego State (10-0, Mountain West) and Texas Southern (9-0, SWAC).
• Since Brad Underwood took over the ‘Jacks head coach, SFA’s conference winning percentage of .977 (43-1) is the second-highest among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs. Only Wichita State boasts a better number, having won 97.9-percent of their league games (46-1) under the direction of head coach Gregg Marshall.
• There isn’t a team in the Southland Conference that Thomas Walkup has had more success scoring the basketball against than the Huskies. In three career games against HBU, the senior has totaled 74 points, which works out to a per-game average of 24.7, and is shooting 73-percent (27-of-37) from the field.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
• A fixture in the Houston Baptist men’s basketball head coaching chair for longer than any player on the SFA or HBU roster has existed on the planet, Ron Cottrell is smack dab in the middle of his 25th season as the Huskies leading man. Under his direction, HBU has amassed a 14-8 record with an 8-1 record in SLC play. Those 14 wins are tied for the fifth-most in a single season in the program’s history as an NCAA Division I institution and HBU lurks one-half game behind SFA for the top spot in the 13-team Southland Conference.
• Plans for a Saturday night tilt featuring the final two Southland Conference teams without a league loss were scrapped on Tuesday when Abilene Christian - buoyed by a 21-point lead at the half - handed the Huskies their first SLC setback and first loss of any kind since Dec. 19, 2015 (at Arizona State). Colter Lasher nearly capped a magnificent comeback effort with his downtown hit to make matters 75-72 with 47 seconds left, but ACU’s Jaylen Franklin connected on a driving layup on the ensuing Wildcat possession to make it a 77-72 ACU advantage with 21 ticks remaining.
• Now in his final season - and representing his fourth school - Anthony Odunsi stars for the Huskies. The senior leads HBU and ranks fourth among SLC players in scoring (17 points per game) and his four assists per game are ninth among league student-athletes. Towering sophomore Josh Ibarra brings another 10.5 ppg to the table by way of a conference-leading FG% of 64.1. The 6’11 Ibarra adds a team-best 6.6 rebounds per game and Alaskan Colter Lasher scores 11.3 per game.
• Dating back to a 78-77 OT victory over Incarnate Word in their final game of the 2014-15 Southland Conference season, the Huskies have won 11 straight games at home. The last team to defeat HBU in Sharp Gymnasium happens to be the Lumberjacks who exited the facility with a 102-87 win on Feb. 28, 2015.
• HBU is on a quest to win its second-ever game against the Lumberjacks. The only victory the Huskies have over SFA occurred when Jimmy Carter occupied the White House - a 70-67 triumph in Houston on December 12, 1979.
REVIEWING SFA vs. TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI
• Gaining a measure of revenge over the only Southland Conference squad to hand the ‘Jacks a loss since Brad Underwood took over as the team’s head coach, SFA notched a 66-61 come-from-behind win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last Saturday afternoon in the American Bank Center.
• Defending Southland Conference Player of the Year Thomas Walkup netted eight of his game-high 17 points through the course of a contest-clinching 13-4 run that spanned the game’s last 3:04. The Pasadena, Texas, product also assisted on Demetrious Floyd’s go-ahead three-pointer with 1:28 to go.
• After committing eight turnovers and going just 1-of-11 (9.2-percent) from three-point range in the first half, the ‘Jacks found themselves trailing at the half in a Southland Conference game for just the fourth time in the past two-plus seasons. The second half, though, belonged to SFA.
• A forgettable first half saw senior Clide Geffrard go 0-of-4 from the field, but the Pompano Beach, Fla., product busted out of that slump rather quickly as soon as the ‘Jacks hit the floor for the final 20 minutes of action. Geffrard shot 5-of-5 in the second half, beginning his 12-point frame with a two-handed alley-oop dunk. For a stretch of 3:01, he scored 10 of SFA’s 12 points and finished with 15 markers to commemorate the team-best 13th-straight game in which Geffrard has arrived at the double-digit scoring plateau.
• By earning the hard-fought triumph, the ‘Jacks put an end to the Islanders’ 16-game home court winning streak. Heading into the big-time showdown, those 16 home court wins in a row for the Islanders signified the nation’s 14th-longest home court unbeaten stretch.
• The Islanders led for 20:11, which is more than six times the total length that SFA had trailed 2015-16 conference opponents heading into the tilt.
THE MARGIN ISN’T AN ERROR
• There isn’t another NCAA Division I men’s basketball team that possesses a higher in-conference scoring differential than the ‘Jacks. SFA is defeating league foes by an average of 22.5 points per game, over two points per game more than the next two closest programs. Wichita State has a +20.4 margin of victory in MVC tilts and Stony Brook is pasting their America East competition by 20.2 per game.
• No matter where the ‘Jacks have found themselves doing battle against Southland Conference opponents in the Brad Underwood coaching era - at home or on the road - the result has been an SFA win all but once. In road games against SLC adversaries, the ‘Jacks are 20-1 in that span their conference road winning percentage (.952) is higher that the home winning percentage of every other Southland Conference team.
• In Southland Conference games only, the Lumberjacks are first in 12 of the 21 statistical categories kept by the 13-team conference. SFA ranks first or second in two-thirds (14/21) of the total categories. For a full listing, see page five of SFA’s game notes.
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.
• 24 - 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 24-straight games which is tied for the sixth-longest home court winning streak in the nation.
• 24.3 - Through the course of that 24-game home court winning streak, the ‘Jacks have outscored their opponents by 583 points and their margin of victory has been by an average of 24.3 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 second-longest active conference winning streak in the nation behind Texas Southern (20, SWAC).
• 34 - 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.
• Throughout his career, James Brown adopted the above moniker and was also regularly described as the hardest working man in show business. Senior Thomas Walkup is arguably the hardest working man in the Southland Conference as he received just two offers out of high school - one to Houston Baptist and one to SFA. Four years later, his hard work has yielded the label of self-made player, a pair of All-American nods as well as a 2014-15 Southland Conference Player of the Year citation. Currently, Walkup ranks among the top ten in the Southland Conference in no fewer than seven statistical categories. His 16.5 points per game leads SFA and his .589 field goal percentage ranks 24th among all NCAA Division I players while his 1.7 steals per game are the 84th-best figure among all DI student-athletes.
THE BIG SMOOTH
• Coming off the bench in all but two of the ‘Jacks 20 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 13 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 14.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per SLC tilt rank 13th and 12th respectively among all league players and his three-point field goal percentage of .452 in SLC games is the eighth-highest in the 13-team league.
• A memorable three-game stretch in Nashville by the senior 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 .522 (151-289) and contributed 10.3 points per game to the ‘Jacks cause.
THE PROWESS OF PINKNEY
• Brad Underwood has coached 89 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 at the forefront of the national scene in assist-to-turnover ratio. His A-T ratio of 5.58 is the best among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players and he has committed just four turnovers in eight 2015-16 conference games.
• By the time his career comes to a close, Pinkney will go down as one of the best point guards to ever sport purple and white. As of this writing, his 363 career assists are the fourth-most in SFA’s NCAA Division I history. On the all-time SFA DI steals charts, Pinkney ranks sixth with 132 career thefts. Just recently, he moved into the SFA DI top-ten in terms of all-time minutes played by logging 2,521 in his career.
10 BANDS, 50 BANDS, HEADBANDS
• No, the bands in this case aren’t wadded up rolls of currency. They are headbands, much like the one sported by senior Jared Johnson as of late. While donning a headband, the Columbia, S.C., product is 12-of-26 from three-point range (46.2-percent). In games without his headband, Johnson is just 18-of-61 (29.5-percent) from downtown.
FOLLOW MY LEAD
• In the 320 minutes of Southland Conference basketball the ‘Jacks have taken part in so far, they have trailed for just 23:09. To put that number into a different perspective, that’s just 7.2-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 103 of them in his days in purple and tied 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 78.8 points per game. That’s the 61st-highest per-game offensive output in DI basketball and the ‘Jacks scoring margin of +13.3 ranks first in the league and 20th-highest in the land. Additionally, SFA is hitting 47.7-percent of its field goals - another SLC-topping figure which is good for 34th-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 .547 is the highest in the league by 7.2-percent and their gaudy three-point percentage of 44.9 is 3.5-percent better than the next closest team in the SLC (Central Arkansas/41.4). The ‘Jacks have been throttling their league foes, too, beating them by a league-leading average of 22.5 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 six of their eight 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 94-56.
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.
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. Each member of the pair has 103 wins in their collegiate careers, five fewer than former Lumberjack star Jake Parker who collected a program-record 108 during his career. They join Parker as the only players to ever notch 100 or more wins as a Lumberjack.
CHARLES IN CHARGE
• There are only two players - Thomas Walkup being one of them - who own a better FG% in SLC games than sophomore Ty Charles. He’s shooting .629 in league tilts and bringing 11.4 points per game to the table. SFA boasts four players who average better than 10 points per game in SLC action.
NORTH BY NORTHWESTERN
• Another chapter of the Stephen F. Austin/Northwestern State basketball rivalry will be penned when the Demons pay a visit to William R. Johnson Coliseum on Monday night for a 7 p.m. engagment with the ‘Jacks. Monday night will mark the first time in two weeks that SFA will take part in a home game.