FAST BREAK POINTS
• For the third time in as many season, Stephen F. Austin has been selected as one of the teams to grace the ESPN family of networks for the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. In this edition of the yearly basketball binge, the ‘Jacks (0-1) hunker down in William R. Johnson Coliseum - site of the nation’s fourth-longest home court winning streak - to face off against Big South foe Longwood (0-1) for the third time in program history. ESPN2 will carry the non-conference showdown, which is set to tip-off at 10:00 a.m.
• Although they have graced the national airwaves for the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon for the past two seasons, SFA is hoping the third time is the charm to obtain a win. SFA is 0-2 in Tip-Off Marathon games with a pair of losses to Northern Iowa coming by a combined 12 points. All-time, SFA is 0-3 on ESPN2, losing their program debut on the network at Stanford in a first-round NIT game on March 19, 2013.
• Over four-fifths of the ‘Jacks’ home court season-openers have resulted in a win. SFA is 74-17 (.813) all-time in home openers and has won 15 of their last 16 games of that classification.
• The last time Stephen F. Austin dropped a game within the walls of Williams R. Johnson Coliseum came on Nov. 15, 2015, when the ‘Jacks fell 79-77 to Northern Iowa in overtime. SFA’s home conference winning streak is even more impressive, however, with their last home league setback came on Feb. 15, 2012, against UT-Arlington by a 51-47 score.
• Even though this is the first time in a non-exhibition game that head coach Kyle Keller will take a seat in the lead chair in William R. Johnson Coliseum, it is not the first time he has set foot in the building as a college basketball coach. Back on March 1, 1997 - a little under 20 years ago - the then-assistant coach Keller and UT-San Antonio rolled into Nacogdoches with the rest of the Roadrunners and secured a 72-53 victory over the ‘Jacks.
• That win was one of only four Southland Conference victories the Roadrunners experienced that season en route to a ninth-place finish in the league. In 1996-97, the Lumberjacks were led by first-year head coach Derek Allister who led the team to a 13-15 mark that included an 8-8 showing in Southland Conference play.
• Not long after the Roadrunners scored their 19-point win over the ‘Jacks, Keller packed his bags and headed to Tyler, Texas to become the head coach of the Apaches for the next two seasons. Also on the bench for UTSA for that game was assistant coach Jeremy Cox who is now SFA’s assistant head coach.
LAST TIME OUT
• Stephen F. Austin met up with an SEC program on the basketball court for the 27th time in program hsitory, but the ‘Jacks’ first-ever trip to Lexington did not result in a victory as the #2/4 ranked Kentucky Wildcats handed SFA an 87-64 loss in the season opener for both teams.
• The only lead the ‘Jacks possessed in the 40-minute tilt came when sophomore TJ Holyfield connected on the first of SFA’s five three-pointers 66 seconds into the non-conference affair. Foul trouble, however, limited the effectiveness of the Albuquerque, N.M., product who finished with more points in the first half (three) than minutes played (two) after getting whistled for a trio of infractions in the first 20 minutes.
• One of the ‘Jacks’ nine new players on their 2016-17 roster, junior Isaiah Traylor slung in a team-best 15 points in the setback. The Tupelo, Miss., product saw 17 minutes of action and hit five of his six attempts at the free throw line. Traylor’s free throw total and his total of free throw attempts represented a team-high.
• Taking the court after getting cleared to practice earlier in the week, junior and Preseason All-Southland Conference Second Team selection Ty Charles got the start and logged 26 minutes while collecting a team-best two steals. The native of Kennedale, Texas, found himself sidelined for the majority of SFA’s preseason with a nagging shoulder injury.
• Another new face, junior Leon Gilmore III, excelled in his first game in a Stephen F. Austin uniform by providing a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double. Hailing from Houston, Texas, Gilmore III received his first appointment to the starting lineup at the NCAA Division I level after playing in eight games for Creighton as a freshman.
• Gilmore III’s 11 rebounds represented a game-best and allowed the ‘Jacks to finish with a 36-28 (+8) advantage on the boards. In the offensive rebounding department, SFA grabbed three more than the Wildcats (14-11) and SFA yanked down five more defensive rebounds (22-17) than their SEC adversaries.
• Friday night’s game marked the start of SFA’s 92nd season of college basketball. With the loss, the ‘Jacks’ all-time record in season openers moves to 55-37 (.598). By playing the #2/4-ranked Wildcats, SFA did battle with a top-five nationally ranked squad for the first time in program history.
• The game also signified the head coaching debut of Kyle Keller, the 12th men’s basketball coach in the history of Stephen F. Austin. All-time, SFA head coaches are 4-8 in their debuts and two of the four coaches with the most wins in program history (Marshall Brown and Harry Miller) each lost their coaching debuts.
• Exactly 36.8-percent of the Wildcats’ 87 points came off of 28 SFA turnovers. Kentucky scored 32 points off of those throwaways which represented the first time since Feb. 28, 2015, that the ‘Jacks racked up 20 or more turnovers in a game. That day, SFA threw the ball away 24 times in a 102-87 victory at Houston Baptist. The 28 turnovers were the most in a single game for the ‘Jacks in the last eight seasons.
• The ‘Jacks were whistled for 32 fouls - their first game with 30 or more fouls since amassing 31 in their 2010 season-opening win over Howard Payne. Additionally, it represents the most fouls in a game by SFA since Dec. 12, 2008, when they racked up 32 in a 112-111 triple-overtime victory over North Dakota State in Des Moines, Iowa.
• Three of the five starters the ‘Jacks’ put out to start the game were playing in their first NCAA Division I college basketball game. Additionally, Dallas Cameron received his first start at point guard after serving as one of the first options off of SFA’s bench a season ago.
• The ‘Jacks lost their second-straight season opener and both of those games came against opponents who were ranked in the top-25 nationally. Against SEC schools, SFA saw its all-time record slip to 3-24 (.111). All three of those wins have come against Texas A&M, but the ‘Jacks haven’t secured a win against an SEC program since 1970.
• Longwood makes the journey from Farmville, Va., to Nacogdoches, Texas for the second time in program history and is looking to make 2016-17 its first season of .500 or better basketball since 2008-09.
• The Lancers made their 2016-17 debut on Sunday in Farmville, Va., by coming up on the wrong end of an 80-58 score against Maine. In that tilt, Longwood saw the Black Bears outscore it 47-29 in the second half to turn a four-point game at half into a runaway.
• In his first year in charge at Longwood, Jayson Gee’s most notable brush with the national spotlight came in 2009 as an associate head coach at Cleveland State. That season, the Vikings laid claim to the Horizon League Tournament Championship and upset Wake Forest in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. While there, Gee also mentored Norris Cole who woud go on to be the 28th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. Cole is the owner of two NBA championship rings after capturing two titles with the Miami Heat.
• Six of the 13 Southland Conference men’s basketball teams opened their 2016-17 campaign with a loss. Of the seven who scored a win, however, only one of them did battle with an NCAA Division I institution. That team was Nicholls who went up to Chestnut Hill, Mass., and captured a 79-73 win over Boston College by using a 16-1 run to start the game.
• Nearly three-quarters of the ‘Jacks’ offensive production from the 2015-16 campaign is gone following the departure of a five-man senior class. Only 28.4-percent of SFA’s firepower from a season ago returns, leaving a group of nine newcomers to fill the void left.
• Of the 12 statistical categories listed above, SFA returns 50-percent or more in none of them other than blocked shots. Producers of 63.1-percent of SFA’s total number of rejections in 2015-16 return for the 2016-17 campaign.
CHARLES IN CHARGE
• Now that the ‘Jacks’ 2015-16 five-member senior class has received their diplomas and moved on to various other professional walks of life or basketball teams, that leaves only five members of the squad remaining on the 2016-17 roster. Foremost among that quintet is junior guard Ty Charles.
• For the second time in as many seasons, Charles was chosen for a spot on the Preseason All-Southland Conference Second Team. The Kennedale, Texas, product was the lone representative of the ‘Jacks to make an appearance on the two preseason all-league lists.
• Of the 34 tilts the ‘Jacks took part in a season ago, Charles took part in all but one of them and averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. His 2015-16 scoring average was 2.6 points per game better than the one he produced as a freshman and he succeeded in breaking the double-digit scoring barrier on 13 separate occasions last season.
• Three of those instances were outings of the 20+ point variety, including a career-best 25 on 11-of-12 shooting from the field in a Southland Conference victory over Abilene Christian. Eleven of those 13 double-digit scoring efforts were put forth against Southland Conference competition where Charles averaged 10.1 markers per tilt.
• Charles represents the ‘Jacks’ top returning scorer, rebounder, assist producer (2.3/game) and steal-getter (1.4/game) from a 2015-16 that went 28-6, captured a third-straight Southland Conference Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
TJ CLIMBS THE CHARTS
• Other than seniors Trey Pinkney and Thomas Walkup, only one other member of the ‘Jacks’ ranks started all 34 games in 2015-16 - freshman forward TJ Holyfield.
• Getting stronger as the season progressed, Holyfield put the finishing touches on his freshman campaign by pumping in a career-high 15 points in Stephen F. Austin’s NCAA Tournament second round game against Notre Dame.
• Providing a much-needed defensive presence in the low post, the versatile stretch four blocked 50 shots as a first-year player - good for an average of 1.5 per game.
• Those 50 rejections ranks as the third-most in a single season in the ‘Jacks’ history books and put the sophomore in eighth place on SFA’s career blocked shots list. The Albuquerque, N.M., product needs to rack up 14 more to move into fifth place all-time in program history.
THERE WAS DALLAS, FROM FLORIDA
• No man on the ‘Jacks’ roster possesses more on-court experience than senior Dallas Cameron, and the Pompano Beach, Fla., product will be looked to in order to provide leadership to a team that is still finding its footing.
• The only four NCAA Division I college basketball players that have a better winning percentage than Cameron over the last three years all play for Villanova. Cameron has won 86.4-percent of the games he has played in and ranks fifth in SFA’s history with 89 career triumphs.
THE DRIVE FOR FIVE
• The ‘Jacks made Southland Conference history in the 2015-16 campaign by becoming the first team to capture four consecutive outright regular season crowns. Now, Stephen F. Austin seeks to become the 39th NCAA Division I men’s basketball program in history to notch its fifth-straight league title in 2016-17.
• If the ‘Jacks are successful in that particular quest, they would be the ninth NCAA Division I men’s basketball program in the 21st century to lock up five or more consecutive conference crowns. The following teams have already accomplished that feat since the year 2000:
SCHOOL | YEARS | CONF. TITLES | CONF.
Kansas | 2004-pres. | 12 | Big 12
Gonzaga | 2000-11 | 11 | WCC
Murray State | 2009-15 | 6 | OVC
St. Joseph’s | 2000-05 | 5 | A-10
Nevada | 2003-08 | 5 | WAC
Butler | 2006-11 | 5 | Horizon League
Xavier | 2006-11 | 5 | A-10
Harvard | 2010-15 | 5 | Ivy League
NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
• On April 4, 2016, Stephen F. Austin director of athletics Robert Hill introduced Kyle Keller as the head men’s basketball coach of the Lumberjacks following the departure of Brad Underwood.
• Keller is just the 12th head coach in the 92-year history of the Lumberjacks’ men’s basketball program and comes to Nacogdoches following a five-year stint as one of the nation’s premier recruiting talents at Texas A&M.
• With Keller helping to helm things in College Station, the Aggies made a return trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five seasons. Thanks to Keller, the Aggies were able to ink four of the top eight players in the state of Texas in their 2015-16 recruiting class.
• While in the tournament, the Aggies advanced to the program’s third Sweet Sixteen. It was the first time the squad reached that point since 2006-07.
• All told, Keller has amassed no fewer than 26 years of collegiate coaching experience throughout the Southland Conference, the Sun Belt, the Big 12 and the SEC.
• Keller’s assignment as the Lumberjacks’ head man is his first NCAA Division I head coaching stop. From 1997-99, he was the head coach of the Tyler Junior College men’s basketball team in Tyler, Texas.
• The last four Southland Conference Player of the Year winners have worn Stephen F. Austin colors, making the ‘Jacks’ men’s basketball program one of 22 teams in the history of NCAA Division I men’s basketball that have laid claim to four or more consecutive conference player of the year award winners.
• Since the year 2000, five other teams besides Stephen F. Austin have boasted their respective league’s player of the year four or more times.
SCHOOL | YEARS | # of CONSECUTIVE CONF. POY WINNERS | CONFERENCE
Gonzaga | 2000-07 | seven straight | WCC
Stephen F. Austin | 2012-16 | four straight | Southland Conference
Stony Brook | 2012-16 | four straight | America East Conference
Texas Southern | 2012-16 | four straight | SWAC
Nevada | 2003-07 | four straight | WAC
Vermont | 2001-05 | four straight | America East Conference
• Putting the Lumberjacks in more rarified air is the fact that the last four Southland Conference Coach of the Year award winners have also sat at the helm of Stephen F. Austin.
• Aside from the Lumberjacks’ stretch of four straight years boasting their league’s coach of the year, there have been just four other occasions in the history of NCAA Division I men’s basketball that has transpired.
SCHOOL | YEARS | # of CONSECUTIVE CONF. COY WINNERS | CONFERENCE
Stephen F. Austin | 2012-16 | four straight | Southland Conference
Gonzaga | 2000-06 | six straight | WCC
Kentucky | 1968-72 | five straight | SEC
Davidson | 1962-66 | four straight | Southern Conference
West Virginia | 1957-61 | four straight | Southern Conference
TAKING THE ‘L’ OUT OF THE COLISEUM
• Since it opened its doors as the Lumberjacks’ home venue at the start of the 1974 campaign, the William R. Johnson Coliseum has gained a reputation as one of the toughest buildings for visiting opponents to play in throughout all of college basketball.
• Stephen F. Austin has won 28-straight games within the walls of that facility - the fourth-longest active home court winning streak in the nation at the moment. Only Kansas (42 games), Kentucky (37 games) and South Dakota State (29 games) possess longer home court win streaks than the ‘Jacks.
• The last time SFA didn’t win at the Coliseum was when Northern Iowa captured a 79-77 overtime victory during ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon on November 18, 2014.
• When looking only at Southland Conference contests, the ‘Jacks’ dominance on their home floor stretches back even farther. No team in the nation owns a longer in-conference winning streak than the 29-game one SFA has constructed against SLC foes and the last time a league opponent defeated Stephen F. Austin at home occurred back on February 15, 2012, when UT Arlington exited William R. Johnson Coliseum with a 51-47 win.
• Once the 2016-17 season gets underway, the ‘Jacks will put the nation’s longest road winning streak on the line. Stephen F. Austin has won its last nine road tilts, beating out Iona’s seven game stretch of triumphs away from home for the land’s lengthiest.
• As a matter of fact, no teams in all of college basketball has registered more road wins over the past five seasons than the ‘Jacks. Stephen F. Austin has won 51 road contests in that span, putting it three games up on MVC institution Wichita State for the nation’s lead.
ROAD WINS SINCE 2011-12
1. Stephen F. Austin | 51
2. Wichita State | 48
3. Robert Morris | 47
T4. Bucknell | 46
T4. Albany | 46
COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S ELITE
• Already the second-winningest NCAA Division I men’s basketball program in the state of Texas since the year 2000, Stephen F. Austin has further distinguished itself as one of the nation’s best teams over the course of the past three seasons.
• Defending national champion Villanova is the only NCAA Division I men’s basketball program that has a better total winning percentage than the ‘Jacks in the last three seasons. In that span, SFA has posted a record of 89-14, good for a winning percentage of .864.
• Since the 2011-12 season, Stephen F. Austin has gone 136-31 - a record that breaks down to a winning percentage of .814. That represents the third-highest winning percentgage in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball during that stretch.
• The nation’s best in-conference winning percentage since 2012-13 belongs to the ‘Jacks, too. Stephen F. Austin’s 59-1 record against Southland Conference opposition works out to a .981 winning percentage
• Only seven NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams have won 25 or more games in each of the past four seasons: Arizona, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, Wichita State and Stephen F. Austin.
• Stephen F. Austin’s 89 wins over the last three seasons are the sixth-most in the nation.
• Stephen F. Austin’s 136 wins over the last five seasons are the 11th-most in the nation.
COMING UP NEXT
• Stephen F. Austin has six streaks of two straight home games this season and the first of those will come to an end on Friday night. The ‘Jacks play host to NCAA Division II adversary Northeastern State, who make the journey from Tahlequah, Okla., to play SFA for the first time ever. That tilt between the RiverHawks and ‘Jacks will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.