From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
THE STARTING FIVE
• In possession of a three-game lead for first place in the race for the Southland Conference regular season crown, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team aims to move one step closer to clinching an unprecedented fourth-straight SLC title when it makes the relatively short journey to Beaumont, Texas, in order to take on Lamar. Winners of an NCAA DI-best 13-straight and 13 of their last 15 against the Cardinals, the 'Jacks tip-off against their intrastate rivals at 7 p.m., from the Montagne Center and the tilt will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN3 as well as the WatchESPN app. Also making the trip to Beaumont is noted SFA basketball enthusist Rob Meyers who's play-by-play and analysis of the game can be caught on Q107.7 FM in Nacogdoches and from anywhere on the planet on q1077.com.
• Lumberjacks head coach Brad Underwood secured his 81st career victory last Saturday afternoon in Thibodaux, La., tying him for third-place all time in number of career victories for an NCAA Division I head men's basketball coach through three seasons. Underwood joins Gonzaga's Mark Few and Nevada's Mark Fox for third place on the list. Underwood needs 89 wins to tie former Butler head man Brad Stevens for the most wins through three seasons as an NCAA DI head men's basketball coach (89).
• Following a 10-rebound performance that completed a double-double in an 88-53 win over Nicholls last Saturday afternoon, Thomas Walkup cemented his name atop the 'Jacks all-time rebounding charts in the program's NCAA DI era. Walkup has totaled 686 rebounds in his career, moving past former program leader Josh Alexander (2005-09) for first place on SFA's all-time list.
• Thanks to their 35-point blowout win over Nicholls, the 'Jacks elevated their league-leading scoring margin to +14.5. That number is tied for fourth in the nation with St. Mary's (Calif.) and only Valparaiso (+15), Michigan State (+15.8) and Louisville (+16.6) own higier scoring margins than SFA.
• With a win in Beaumont on Monday night, Thomas Walkup and Trey Pinkney would supplant former Lumberjack great Jake Parker as the program's all-time winningest players. Pinkney and Walkup are currently tied with Parker for the program lead with 107 career triumphs. The 214 combined wins by Pinkey and Walkup is currently the most by an active backcourt tandem in the NCAA Division I men's basketball scene.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
• From January 16 until February 20 - a period of over one month - the Cardinals were mired in an eight-game losing skid that sent them to the bottom of the Southland Conference standings. Six of those losses came by four points or less and their largest setback in that span was a 34-point defeat to Stephen F. Austin back on January 25. Lamar put an end to that unceremonious streak last Saturday afternoon in Lake Charles, La., when the Cardinals bested McNeese State by an 87-76 tally.
• Despite their recent troubles, the Cardinals remain just one game behind McNeese State and Northwestern State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the upcoming Southland Conference championship tournament. Should tiebreakers be necessary, the Cardinals would have the upper hand as they have head-to-head wins against both the Cowboys and Demons.
• A legitimate contender for the league's title of freshman of the year, Nick Garth is the Cardinals' leader in terms of points per game. His 14.4 represent the 10th-highest scoring average in the Southland Conference and he stands poised to become the third player in Lamar's history to lead the team in scoring as a bench player. Garth has started just five games this season.
• Lamar head man Tic Price is on a quest to obtain his sixth win against the Lumberjacks. He hasn't defeated SFA in his tenure at Lamar, but has picked up triumphs against the 'Jacks in various head coaching stops at McNeese State and Memphis.
• The Cardinals are second in the SLC only to the Lumberjacks in terms of three-point FG% defense. Lamar opponents are hitting just 32.6-percent of their long-range attempts.
REVIEWING SFA vs. NICHOLLS
• For the ninth time in 2015-16, the 'Jacks had four players score 10 or more points and that helped the 2015-16 'Jacks become the 29th team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau by way of an 88-53 victory over the Privateers. It's the third time in as many seasons with Brad Underwood at the helm that SFA has won 20 games.
• Also still alive following the lopsided victory are all of SFA's numerous winning streaks. The 'Jacks have reeled off 13-straight victories since the calendar rolled over to 2016 which is the longest active win streak in NCAA DI basketball at the moment and that streak is tied for sixth in SFA's program history in terms of all-time longest winning stretches.
• Senior Clide Geffrard busted out of a minuature three-point shooting slump by amassing a game-high 19 points in another splendid effort off of SFA's bench. He went 2-of-3 from long range after connecting on four of his 16 distance tries over the previous four games.
• No current player on SFA's roster has a longer streak of double-digit scoring outings than senior Demetrious Floyd. He stretched his span of 10+ point games to four by slinging in 17 on 7-of-12 shooting against the Colonels. He also hit a trio of three-pointers to bring his 2015-16 total to 74 - the fifth-highest single-season total in SFA's DI history.
• The 'Jacks trailed in the game for 1:51. That's the first time this season that SFA has trailed in a February road game.
• Defending the three-point line continues to be of paramount importance to the 'Jacks as they held the Colonels to a clip of just 16.7-percent (2-of-12) from that distance in the win. In the past three games, SFA opponents have shot just 6-of-38 (15.8-percent) from beyond the arc.
• For the ninth time in their 13 Southland Conference confrontations in 2015-16, the 'Jacks shot the ball at a rate north of 50-percent. SFA connected on 54.4-percent (31-of-57) of its field goals and its 62.5-percent (10-of-16) touch from three-point range signaled the fourth time in 13 SLC games that the 'Jacks have fired at a 45-percent clip or better from downtown.
UPPER CRUST OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL
• Of the 32 statistical categories kept by the NCAA, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team is among the top seven-percent of the nation's 351 NCAA DI teams in 11 of them. SFA leads the nation in both turnover margin (+5.8) and turnovers forced per game (18.56) and ranks third in the land in assists per game (19). The 'Jacks reside in the top ten in steals per game, too, as their 8.8 per outing is the 10th-highest average in the United States.
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 21.7 points per game. Wichita State, out of the Missouri Valley Conference, has the next highest in-league scoring differential at +19.1 followed by Stony Brook (+16.3) and Yale (+13.6).
• 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 22-1 in that span their conference road winning percentage (.957) is higher that the home winning percentage of every other Southland Conference team.
• In Southland Conference games only, the Lumberjacks are first in 11 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.
• 27 - 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 27-straight games which is tied with South Dakota State for the third-longest streak in the nation.
• 23.9 - Through the course of that 26-game home court winning streak, the 'Jacks have outscored their opponents by 644 points and their margin of victory has been by an average of 23.9 points.
• SFA has won 20 consecutive Southland Conference games which stands as the second-longest winning streak in conference tilts in the league's history. The 'Jacks now own the longest and second-longest in-conference win streaks in league history.
• With a Yale loss to Princeton last Friday night, the 'Jacks are the owners of the nation's longest active win streak. SFA has won 13 games in a row and the second-longest stretch in the nation belongs to early-season SFA foe Northwen Iowa (eight in a row).
• 37 - In recent memory, Southland Conference foes have not fared well in William R. Johnson Coliseum to say the least. SFA has defeated the last 37 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 17.2 points per game leads SFA and his .599 field goal percentage ranks 22nd among all NCAA Division I players while his 164 field goals made stands as the 79th-highest total among all DI student-athletes.
THE BIG SMOOTH
• Coming off the bench in all but two of the 'Jacks 25 confrontations 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 20 of his 25 outings this season which included a stretch of 15-straight games from Dec. 8, 2015, until Feb. 13, 2016.
• In Southland Conference games, Geffrard has been particularly effective. His 13.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per SLC tilt rank 16th and 19th respectively among all league players and his three-point field goal percentage of .383 is the 14th-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 .524 (172-328) and contributed 10.5 points per game to the 'Jacks cause.
THE PROWESS OF PINKNEY
• Brad Underwood has coached 94 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 4.15 is the sixth-best among all NCAA Division I men's basketball players and he has committed just 12 turnovers in 13 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 379 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 136 career thefts.
FOLLOW MY LEAD
• In the 520 minutes of Southland Conference basketball the 'Jacks have taken part in so far, they have trailed for just 30:45. To put that number into a different perspective, that's just 5.9-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 125 of them in his days in purple and white to be listed as fifth all-time on the 'Jacks NCAA DI list of individuals who have canned the most downtown buckets in their careers. His 74 makes from distance this season are the 47th-most among all NCAA DI men's basketball players.
...MAKE IT RAIN...
• Just one team in the Southland Conference owns a better scoring average than SFA's 78.9 points per game. That's the 52nd-highest per-game offensive output in DI basketball and the 'Jacks scoring margin of +14.7 ranks first in the league and fifth-highest in the land. Additionally, SFA is hitting 48.3-percent of its field goals - another SLC-topping figure which is good for 22nd-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 .532 is the highest in the league by five percent and their three-point percentage of 41.9 is 1.4% better than the next closest team. The 'Jacks have been throttling their league foes, too, beating them by a league-leading average of 21.7 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.
A SENIOR SEND-OFF