From SFA Athletics
SAN ANTONIO, TX (Press Release)- No stranger to breaking program records during his memorable career in purple and white, Thomas Walkup achieved the latest in a long list of impressive milestones by accomplishing something not done by a Stephen F. Austin men's basketball player in almost half a century.
In what may have been his greatest all-around performance, the senior out of Pasadena, Texas, notched 12 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and capped off the first SFA triple-double in 43 years with his 10thassist on a fast-break dunk by Clide Geffrard to lead the `Jacks to their 16th-straght win - an 84-58 decision at Incarnate Word.
At halftime, Walkup had already wrapped up his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and he wrapped up his historic night by passing out the six assists he needed in the first 9:38 of the deciding frame.
Geffrard finished his night with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and sophomoreTy Charles added 17 for the `Jacks who shot 52.5-percent from the field while out-rebounding the Cardinals by a 40-33 margin.
The 27-point win helped finish off a season sweep of the Cardinals, whose two lowest offensive outputs of a season in which they faced California, Oklahoma and Purdue have come at the hands of the Lumberjacks.
If it weren't for the gutsy play of Mitchell Badillo in the early stages of the tilt, the damage wrought by the `Jacks could have been much greater. The senior was almost the Cardinals' singular source of offense as he accounted for 10 of the first 15 UIW markers.
A slow start by the `Jacks was compounded by the fact that Trey Pinkney found himself unable to hit the floor for a vast majority of the opening stanza. Minus his trademark rec specs, the `Jacks floor general found himself stationed on the bench for all but eight minutes of the first half. Fortunately, SFA's venerable junior Dallas Cameron was there to anchor his teams' plans on offense.
The Pompano Beach, Fla., product helped extinguish the roars of the pro-Cardinal gathering by sinking a pair of triples - one from each wing - and driving the length of the court for an off-balance layup while getting hacked.
Following a pair of free throw hits by Kyle Hittle that cut the `Jacks lead down to 23-19 with four minutes to go, SFA began to impose its will both on offense and defense to brush off the Cardinals' upset bid.
SFA closed the half on a 19-6 surge that saw five `Jacks register points. Holyfield hammered down a two-handed dunk off of a Walkup helper before Demetrious Floyd pulled up from three feet beyond the three-point arc and laced a cold-blooded triple as time expired in the half.
With a comfortable 42-25 edge heading into the final 20 minutes, the `Jacks upped the defensive intensity and were simply unrelenting on offense. Thanks largely to the nifty passing of Walkup, the `Jacks set off on a 24-11 run in the opening 8:18 of the frame that pushed their lead to 30, 66-36.
Never did SFA's lead dip below 25 points the rest of the way, ensuring the `Jacks the title of first Southland Conference team ever to clinch four consecutive outright regular season championships. Already tied with Lamar for the league lead with four straight, the `Jacks distinguished themselves from the Cardinals who held a joint crown in their first of four from 1978-81.