NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
FAST BREAK POINTS
• Returning to the court after a hiatus of 10 days, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team (2-1) travels east across the Texas/Louisiana border for its first battle with Louisiana-Monroe (1-4) since the 2010 season. The teams are set to tip off their non-conference tilt at 7:00 p.m. at Fant-Ewing Coliseum (7,000) in Monroe, La.
• Monday night’s matchup pits a pair of teams against one another who know a thing or two about winning at home. Stephen F. Austin enters Fant-Ewing Coliseum to take on a Louisiana-Monroe squad that has win 14 games in a row on its home floor. The Warhawks home court winning streak currently stands as the 13th-longest in the nation.
• Through his first three game as Stephen F. Austin’s head coach, Kyle Keller has started 2-1. That’s tied for the second-best start by an SFA head coach through his first three games in program history. Brad Underwood, Danny Kaspar, Ned Fowler, Marshall Brown and John O. Stephens each went 2-1 through their first three games as SFA’s head coach. The only Lumberjack bench boss to start his career with a 3-0 mark was Glen Rose who won his first five games as SFA’s head coach before suffering a loss in his inaugural 1948-49 season.
• Nine of the last 10 meetings between the ‘Jacks and Warhawks inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum have been decided by 10 points or fewer. SFA is 5-5 in those games and the last three games between the two teams in Monroe have been decided by a total of seven points.
• Longtime radio voice of the Lumberjacks Rob Meyers will also be embarking on the eastward trek to Monroe, La., to call the action on Q107.7 FM in the Nacogdoches area. Meyers' play-by-play and analysis is also accessible worldwide courtesy of SFA's partnership with the TuneIn app which can be downloaded on all Android and Apple mobile devices.
LAST TIME OUT
• Needing a big-time play late in the game, junior guard Ivan Canete took it upon himself to provide it. His three-point play with 28 seconds to go capped a 12-point night and put Stephen F. Austin ahead for good as the ‘Jacks erased an 11-point second-half deficit in a 75-70 win over Northeastern State.
• Canete’s three-point play was the most important part of a 9-0 run Stephen F. Austin went on in the final 1:06 to turn away an upset-minded RiverHawks squad. Through that stretch, the ‘Jacks went 7-for-7 at the free throw line and finished the game with a 32-for-36 showing from that distance.
• The ‘Jacks found themselves trailing for 25:53 out of the 40 minutes in the non-conference affair. That was the most time SFA spent behind in William R. Johnson Coliseum since trailing for 34:47 in an eventual 66-62 triumph over SWAC adversary Texas Southern on December 5, 2015. Last season, SFA trailed for just 55:05 in its 560 minutes of home court gameplay.
• For the second-straight game, sophomore TJ Holyfield laid claim to team-high honors in the scoring department by notching 17 on a 5-for-8 night from the field. Additionally, the Albuquerque, N.M., product hit all six of his free throw attempts. That effort made him a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity line this season.
• In the third game of his collegiate career, freshman Kevon Harris stepped off the bench and delivered 16 points to help the ‘Jacks secure the win. Hailing from Ellenwood, Ga., the guard/forward drilled three of his seven tries from the field and did not misfire on any of his nine tries from the free throw line.
• Just 16 NCAA Division I men’s basketball players have yet to miss a free throw this season and among that list are Harris and Holyfield. The pair has combined to go 19-for-19 from the charity stripe. Freshman forward Samuli Nieminen has also not misfired from the free throw line as he is a perfect 4-for-4 from that distance this season.
• Canete’s driving layup with 28 seconds to go tied the score of the game for the 15th time on the night. In all, the ‘Jacks’ had 26 ties throughout their 2015-16 home schedule.
• The 32 free throws made by the ‘Jacks were the most made by an SFA team since Nov. 12, 2010, when the squad drilled an equal number on 46 tries in a 114-49 home win over Howard Payne. SFA’s 36 free throw attempts were the most since it attempted 39 in its NCAA Tournament first round game against No. 8-ranked West Virginia on March 18, 2016.
• One of college basketball’s longest home court winning streaks remained intact with the ‘Jacks’ come-from-behind triumph. Stephen F. Austin extended its unbeaten stretch in William R. Johnson Coliseum to 30 games - tying South Dakota State for the land’s third-longest active home court winning streak. Only Kentucky (42 games) and Kansas (44 games) have lengthier home court winning streaks than the ‘Jacks do.
• A big reason why the ‘Jacks were able to stave off the RiverHawks’ upset attempt was due to the defense of Holyfield. The sophomore finished the game with a career-best six blocked shots and so far this season the forward ranks second among all Southland Conference players with an average of three rejections per game.
• Leon Gilmore III accepted a pass from Nathan Bain and finished off an alley-oop dunk for the ‘Jacks’ first points of the game. The forward from Houston, Texas, has all four of Stephen F. Austin’s slam dunks this season.
• Senior guard Dallas Cameron tied his career high by putting in 14 points on 3-of-7 field goal shooting. So far this season, the guard from Pompano Beach, Fla., is the ‘Jacks’ second-leading scorer, producing 11.3 points per game.
GOING TO WAR AGAINST THE WARHAWKS
• Returning to the location where they have won 14 straight games, Louisiana-Monroe takes aim at putting an end to a four-game losing streak when it takes on Stephen F. Austin on Monday night at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
• From 1988 until 2010, the Warhawks and ‘Jacks battled on an annual basis as both teams were a part of the Southland Conference for the majority of that time period.
• ULM returns to Monroe, La., after playing four games in three states in which they traveled a grand total of 5,259 miles to get there. The Warhawks fell to No. 23-ranked Texas, Colorado, Seattle and Bryant with the last two games taking place in Cheney, Wash.
• Those losses have come after the Warhawks opened their 2016-17 campaign with a 96-63 win over NCAA Division III foe Centenary College in Monroe, La., on Friday, Nov. 11.
• No team in the Sun Belt Conference can boast about a better assist-to-turnover ratio than the Warhawks. ULM leads the 12-team league with a mark of 1.4 thanks in large part to an assists-per-game average of 15.8. Preseason All-Sun Belt Third Team performer Nick Coppola racks up the majority of the Warhawks’ assists with a per-game average of 5.8 which leads the team and ranks third among all Sun Belt players.
• Most impressive about Coppola’s passing prowess is his aversion to turning the ball over. The senior has committed only a pair of turnovers against 29 assists for an assist-to-turnover ration of 14.5 that ranks second among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players.
• Stepping out beyond the three-point arc is one of the primary ways ULM likes to put in points. The Warhawks are swishing triples at a Sun Belt-leading clip of 9.2 per game with junior Jordon Harris leading the way in that department with a 42.6-percent accuracy rate.
• In each of their first three games, the ‘Jacks have made it a point to win the rebounding battle.
• SFA has been +8 (Kentucky), +12 (Longwood) and +2 (Northeastern State) on the boards through its first trio of 2016-17 tilts. The ‘Jacks’ +12 mark against Longwood served as the team’s biggest edge on the glass since a +15 finish in a Southland Conference road win at Northwestern State on March 3, 2016.
• In each of its seasons since 2012-13, Stephen F. Austin has posted a record against non-conference opponents above .500. Including its 2-1 mark this season, the ‘Jacks have produced a 39-12 (.765) record against non-conference foes in that span.
• A 74-58 victory at Northwestern State on January 16, 2014, was the starting point of a string of eight straight wins in games played within the state of Louisiana for Stephen F. Austin. The last time the ‘Jacks lost a game in Louisiana was on Feb. 16, 2014, when they came up on the wrong end of a 54-50 decision at Southeastern Louisiana.
• Prior to that triumph in Natchitoches, the ‘Jacks had been winless in five straight road games in Louisiana. Before that five-game losing streak, SFA notched a 64-57 win at Nicholls on Feb. 9, 2011, for its last win in the Pelican State until the 2013-14 campaign.
• A big reason why the ‘Jacks have started the 2016-17 campaign with a 2-1 record has been because of their accurate touch at the free throw line.
• In all, 32.1-percent of the ‘Jacks’ points this season have come from the free throw line. SFA is averaging 22 free throw makes per game this season and ranks ninth nationally with a team free throw percentage of 80.5-percent.
CLOSE, BUT STILL A VICTORY CIGAR
• A season ago, many of the final scores for the ‘Jacks were not close and in games decided by 10 or fewer points SFA manufactured a record of 4-4. This season,
• In 2016-17, two of SFA’s three games have been decided by 10 or fewer points and the ‘Jacks are 2-0 in those tilts. Out of the 80 total minutes in SFA’s two wins this season, the ‘Jacks have led for 31:51, or just under 40-percent of total game time.
THE SUNRISE CONNECTION
• One of the tethers which connects Stephen F. Austin with Louisiana-Monroe is the fact that both squads have a player who was prepped at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas.
• Both of those players - SFA’s sophomore forward Nathan Bain and ULM’s sophomore forward Travis Munnings - played for Sunrise Christian Academy. Additionally, both Bain and Munnings call Freeport, Bahamas, home.
• Munnings has been one of the driving forces for the Warhawks this season as he leads the team in both scoring (13.2 points per game) and rebounding (9.6 rebounds per game).
A DECADE TO REMEMBER
• With the 2010s almost 60-percent complete, the ‘Jacks have found themselves listed among college basketball’s elite in that time span.
• Since the 2010-11 season, Stephen F. Austin owns a record of 156-53 which is the best among all NCAA Division I institutions in the state of Texas.
• Breaking that 156-53 mark down even further reveals SFA is in the midst of some elite company. Their winning percentage of .784 through that span is tied with San Diego State and Louisville for the seventh-highest among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams.
DOING MORE WITH LESS
• Through their first three games, the ‘Jacks have racked up 205 points, good for an average of 68.3 points per game. Since 2010-11, that’s the third-lowest point total SFA has racked up through its first three games of a season.
• Despite the low point total, the ‘Jacks have tied the mark for the best start through three games in that span.
• The pair of wins the ‘Jacks possess during their first three games have come by 10 or fewer points. Prior to this season, the last time a Stephen F. Austin team won back-to-back games that had a margin of 10 points or less was during the 2014-15 season. On December 29, SFA captured a 61-57 win over Cal State Northridge before turning around and grabbing an 80-75 win at McNeese on January 3.
COMING UP NEXT
• The second of the ‘Jacks’ two regular season meetings with an SEC opponent is scheduled to take place on the first day of December when Stephen F. Austin makes the journey to Fayetteville, Ark., to tangle with Arkansas for the first time since 2009. The Lumberjacks and Razorbacks will tip off at 8:00 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena and the non-conference clash will be aired on the SEC Network.