From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
THE STARTING FIVE
• Now at the midpoint of its longest stretch of home games in 2016, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team puts its 25-game home winning streak on the line when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi makes a northward trek to engage in a battle of the Southland Conference’s top two squads. The Islanders hold the distinction of being the only SLC team to defeat SFA head coach Brad Underwood (45-1 in SLC games), and a capacity crowd is expected for the highly anticipated showdown between the Islanders and ‘Jacks. Tip-off has been slated for 6 p.m. on SFA’s Cram the Coliseum night with free general admission tickets being given away courtesy of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. Lumberjack fans far and wide who can’t make the trip to WRJ Coliseum are in luck, though, as the showdown will be broadcast nation-wide on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. On the call will be longtime SFA hoops seer Rob Meyers and his play-by-play and analysis can also be accessed on the radio dial at Q107.7 FM in Nacogdoches or online at q1077.com.
• Fresh off a Wednesday evening selection as Sports Illustrated’s Mid-Major Player of the Week, senior Thomas Walkup has been the headline for the Lumberjacks. He almost single-handedly demoralized Houston Baptist by handing the Huskies their first home loss of the season last Saturday by scoring a career-high 35 points and finishing off his double-double bid with 12 rebounds. On Monday night’s home win against Northwestern State, he spring for his second-straight 30-point performance and completed his second double-double in as many games with 10 rebounds.
• There isn’t a single team in NCAA Division I men’s basketball that owns a better home court winning percentage since the 2012-13 season than the Lumberjacks. Since the freshman year of Trey Pinkney and Thomas Walkup, the ‘Jacks are 55-1 at home which works out to a .982 winning percentage. Below are the nation’s top five home court winning percentages since 2012-13:
1. Stephen F. Austin • .982 • 55-1
2. Wichita State • .967 • 58-2
3. Kansas • .955 • 63-3
4. Kentucky • .942 • 65-4
5. South Dakota State • .939 • 46-3
• Heads from around the nation have turned to Nacogdoches as of late, as the ‘Jacks 10-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in the nation at the moment. Only Stony Brook (17) has emerged as the victors in more consecutive tilts than the ‘Jacks. Yale and UNC Wilmington have also won 10 games in a row.
• SFA head coach Brad Underwood can move up one notch on the Lumberjacks’ all-time head coaching wins list by securing a triumph on Saturday night. Underwood has amassed 78 victories as SFA’s bench boss which is tied with Ned Fowler for the sixth-most all-time.
SCOUTING THE ISLANDERS
• Texas A&M-Corpus Christi would like nothing better than to avenge a 66-61 home court loss to SFA on the penultimate day of January by putting an end to the ‘Jacks various winning streaks. That loss by the Islanders snapped a nine-game home winning streak and is the squad’s only home setback so far this season.
• Following their setback to the Lumberjacks, the Islanders have gone 2-1. A loss at Incarnate Word was followed by home wins over Sam Houston State and Houston Baptist by a combined 10 points. Nine of the Islanders’ 11 Southland Conference bouts in 2015-16 have been decided by 10 points or less and in tilts of that configuration TAMUCC’s record stands at 8-2.
• The Islanders’ main power source is unquestionably junior forward Rashawn Thomas. No man on TAMUCC’s roster boasts a better scoring average (18 ppg) and his rebounding average of 8.3 per game is unrivaled in the Southland Conference and 84th-best in the nation. Anything but a one man wrecking crew, though, the Islanders are built like SFA in that they have a multitude of weapons on the offensive and defensive ends to go into battle with.
• Long ball specialist Brandon Pye fires with 40.6-percent accuracy from downtown while Bryce Douvier and Hameed Ali both average 10 points per game. Douvier finished with a team-high 16 points and nearly completed a double-double by securing nine rebounds in the last meeting beteween these two teams.
REVIEWING SFA vs. NORTHWESTERN STATE
• Instead of using demon-expelling tools such as holy water and a crucifix as a man of the cloth might, the Lumberjacks turned to Thomas Walkup and his 30-point, 10-rebound double-double outing to push the Northwestern State Demons out of William R. Johnson Coliseum on Monday night in an 83-72 SFA victory.
• Featured heavily in the ‘Jacks seventh-straight win over their rivals from Natchitoches, La., was senior Demetrious Floyd who put forth a number of career-high efforts. The St. Louis, Mo., product starred as the game’s primary distributor by dishing out a game and career-best eight assists and also hauled down a career-high five rebounds to go along with his 13 points in 33 minutes of action.
• Once again, another bench surge courtesy of Clide Geffrard helped back the ‘Jacks through the course of their 10th-straight triumph. Hailing from Pompano Beach, Fla., Geffrard netted 17 on 7-of-13 shooting off the bench and helped SFA’s reserves outscore the Demons’ backups by a 24-2 tally. With those 17 markers, Geffrard stretched his team-leading string of outings with 10+ points to 15 games.
• Even though they hit a season-low three triples against the Demons, the ‘Jacks were able to get what they wanted down low. SFA tallied a season-high 50 points in the paint and outscored Northwestern State 14-0 in fast break points.
• SFA’s 12-point victory over the Demons was their second-smallest margin of victory over a Southland Conference team in William R. Johnson Coliseum this season. Since 2012-13, there have only been four conference home games in which the ‘Jacks haven’t won by 10 or more points.
USE YOUR INSIDE VOICES
• There has been a bit of a power outage from three-point land as of late for the ‘Jacks, but that hasn’t shut out the lights on their winning ways. Over the past three games, SFA is shooting just 25-percent (13-of-52) from downtown, but it making up for that deficiency with a strong surge of inside scoring. Of their 221 points scored in the last three outings, 116 of them - or 52.5-percent - have come in the paint.
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 19.7 points per game, which is tied for the highest in-league scoring margin with Stony Brook out of the America East. Wichita State has the next highest scoring margin in conference games at +18.8.
• 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 21-1 in that span their conference road winning percentage (.955) 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 almost two-thirds (13/21) 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.
• 25 - 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 25-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 17 consecutive Southland Conference games which stands as the fourth-longest winning streak in conference tilts in the league’s history. With two more win, the ‘Jacks would increase their unbeaten stretch in SLC games to 19 - the fourth-longest streak in conference history. No team in the nation can boast of a longer conference winning streak than the ‘Jacks, either. Following a loss by Texas Southern on Saturday, SFA’s 17-game SLC winning streak is the longest active in-league stretch without a loss among all NCAA DI programs.
• 35 - In recent memory, Southland Conference foes have not fared well in William R. Johnson Coliseum to say the least. SFA has defeated the last 35 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 and the ‘Jacks 80-percent (12-of-15) night from three-point range against ACU is the second-highest three-point field goal percentage in a game this season.
• 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 17.9 points per game leads SFA and his .601 field goal percentage ranks 18th among all NCAA Division I players while his 152 field goals made stands as the 60th-highest total among all DI student-athletes.
THE BIG SMOOTH
• Coming off the bench in all but two of the ‘Jacks 22 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 15 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 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per SLC tilt rank ninth and 18th respectively among all league players and his three-point field goal percentage of .410 in SLC games is the 13th-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 .521 (163-313) and contributed 10.5 points per game to the ‘Jacks cause.
THE PROWESS OF PINKNEY
• Brad Underwood has coached 91 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 5.43 is the best among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players and he has committed just six turnovers in 10 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 372 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 134 career thefts. Just recently, he moved into the SFA DI top-ten in terms of all-time minutes played by logging 2,579 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-29 from three-point range (41.4-percent). In games without his headband, Johnson is just 18-of-61 (29.5-percent) from downtown.
FOLLOW MY LEAD
• In the 400 minutes of Southland Conference basketball the ‘Jacks have taken part in so far, they have trailed for just 24:21. To put that number into a different perspective, that’s just 6.1-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 111 of them in his days in purple and white to be listed as ninth 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 78.6 points per game. That’s the 56th-highest per-game offensive output in DI basketball and the ‘Jacks scoring margin of +12.9 ranks first in the league and 18th-highest in the land. Additionally, SFA is hitting 47.9-percent of its field goals - another SLC-topping figure which is good for 26th-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 .537 is the highest in the league by six-percent and their gaudy three-point percentage of 41.6 is 0.7-percent better than the next closest team in the SLC (Central Arkansas/40.9). The ‘Jacks have been throttling their league foes, too, beating them by a league-leading average of 19.7 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 seven of their 10 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 116-74.
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 theto 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 all four years 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 105 wins in their collegiate careers, three 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 three players - Thomas Walkup being one of them - who own a better FG% in SLC games than sophomore Ty Charles. He’s shooting .611 in league tilts and bringing 10.4 points per game to the table. SFA boasts four players who average better than 10 points per game in SLC action.
IN DA CLUB
• By way of his 30 points on Monday night against Northwestern State, SFA senior Thomas Walkup entered an exclusive club as just one of three players in SFA’s NCAA Division I history who have amassed 1,500 points and 500 rebounds in their careers. Walkup became the program’s all-time field goal leader in that game, too, and has 568 shots to his credit and the senior also moved up to second on the ‘Jacks NCAA Division I career scoring chart.
THE BIRD IS THE WORD
• Monday night signals the end of the ‘Jacks three-game homestand and the opponent looming for SFA is Incarnate Word. At 7 p.m., the ‘Jacks and Cardinals will do battle for just the fourth time in program history. SFA has won all three previous meetings against UIW, who is sitting in fourth place in the league standings.