SFA travels South to Corpus Christi for Thursday night showdown with Islanders

SFA travels South to Corpus Christi for Thursday night showdown with Islanders

SFA Athletics

NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)

• Fresh off back-to-back Southland Conference wins at home, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team embarks on a southbound journey to Corpus Christi, Texas, to try and obtain its first road win of the 2016-17 campaign when it faces off against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 7:00 p.m. from the American Bank Center. ROOT Sports Southwest will televise the Southland Conference tilt nationally and the game will also be streamed on the Southland Conference YouTube channel. Tom Franklin and Jeff Power are set to provide play-by-play and analysis on the ROOT Sports Southwest Broadcast.

• Locally, Q107.7 FM in Nacogdoches is set to provide the broadcast of the showdown with Rob Meyers and Tyler DePascal handling play-by-play and analysis responsibilities.

• Thursday night's game will be the 22nd installment of the rivalry between the 'Jacks and Islanders and the 10th meeting between the two squads in Corpus Christi. SFA is 7-2 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the American Bank Center.

• On Feb. 14, 2015, the Islanders snapped the longest Southland Conference winning streak in the league's history by upending the 'Jacks by a 71-63 score in the American Bank Center. That loss is one of just three Southland Conference setbacks SFA has suffered since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign.

• After that loss, the 'Jacks won their next nine games, capturing the 2015 Southland Conference Tournament title and the programs third appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

• The four losses Stephen F. Austin has suffered against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi have come by a combined 21 points. All four of SFA's losses in the all-time series have come by eight or fewer points.

• The return of senior three-point specialist Cole Martinez has added another dimension to the Islanders' offense. A product of San Antonio, Texas, Martinez is shooting 50-percent (24-for-48) from long range and put in three of his five tries from that distance in the Islanders' win against Central Arkansas last Saturday.

• There is not a player among the 351 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams that possesses a better steals per game average than the Islanders' Ehab Amin. The senior from Alexandria, Egypt, is averaging a nation-leading 3.63 steals per game and his 58 thefts this season are the second-most in the nation.

• Stephen F. Austin will try to become the first team to defeat the Islanders at home in 2016-17. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is 7-0 at home this season and is winning by an average of 13.1 points per game. The 'Jacks were responsible for the Islanders' only home setback since the start of the 2015-16 season when they took a 66-61 decision in the American Bank Center last season.

• It's likely that the Islanders' Southland Conference Player of the Year candidate, Rashawn Thomas, will be trying to exact revenge on the 'Jacks on Thursday night. Against SFA in Nacogdoches on Jan. 11, #25 was held to his lowest point total (seven) and lowest rebounding total (three) of the season. This season, Thomas is averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

• In the 13-team Southland Conference, no team has displayed a more accurate touch from the field than Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Islanders are putting in 47.4-percent of their field goal tries - the 53rd-highest team field goal percentage in the nation. Most of that offensive damage has come from the interior, however, as the Islanders are sinking three-pointers at a rate of just 4.6 per game. That figure is 10th out of 13 Southland Conference teams and 338th out of 351 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams this season.

• Using a big second half from sophomore TJ Holyfield, the 'Jacks turned an eight-point game at the half into a runaway victory, dispatching Nicholls by an 80-60 tally inside William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday night. The win was the second in a row for the 'Jacks and marked the first time in first-year head coach Kyle Keller's tenure that SFA has claimed victory in consecutive Southland Conference contests.

• Stephen F. Austin's offense operated at its most efficient clip of the season as the 'Jacks hit 55-percent (33-of-60) of their field goals. That percentage stands as SFA's best single-game shooting percentage of the 2016-17 campaign and the 33 field goals the 'Jacks put in also represent a single-game best for 2016-17.

• From three-point territory, SFA connected on nine of its 18 tries for a mark of 50-percent from distance. The 'Jacks' 50-percent showing from downtown stands as the highest percentage in a single game this season for the squad.

• Perhaps the biggest reason for the 'Jacks' high field goal percentages was the passing performance put on by the home team. SFA  totaled a season-high 22 assists in the 20-point triumph which was the highest assist total by the 'Jacks since racking up an equal number in an 85-64 victory at Sam Houston State on March 5, 2016.

• At the conclusion of the first half, Holyfield had played just two minutes and had accumulated two fouls. Through his 16 minutes of time in the second half, the sophomore scored all 17 of his points, grabbed all four of his rebounds and blocked each of his game-high three shots. He averaged 1.1 points per minute of playing time in the second half en route to his game-high point total.

• Of the 'Jacks' nine three-pointers in the game, senior Dallas Cameron put in three of them. Those three long-range swishes tied the Pompano Beach, Fla., product's career-high for three-point field goals made and represented nine of his 11 points on the night.

• SFA took the lead for good when junior Leon Gilmore III put in one of his five first-half baskets at the 17:34 mark of the game to make matters 6-5 in favor of the 'Jacks. Gilmore III put in all 12 of his points in the opening frame, shooting 5-for-8 from the field during that span. His five field goals in the first half were just three shy of the number of field goals Nicholls put in as a team in the half. The Colonels shot 8-for-27 from the field in the opening half.

• In addition to his 12-point game, Gilmore III excelled in the distribution department as well, passing out a game-high five assists. The Houston, Texas, product was one of just two 'Jacks who did not commit a turnover in the conference battle, too.

• The 'Jacks' 20-point triumph came despite a smaller than average percentage of points at the free throw line from SFA. The Colonels were cited for just 14 personal fouls during the tilt - a season-low for fouls in a game by an SFA opponent. As a result, the 'Jacks made just seven trips to the free throw line and put in five of those tries. Both of those numbers were single-game season lows for SFA.

• All but one of the six bench players the 'Jacks used in addition to their five starters put in points in the one-sided affair. Ty Charles led SFA's bench effort with nine points to go along with a team-high six rebounds and a career-high four steals.

• Almost one-third of the Colonels' points came at the free throw line. Nicholls attempted 30 free throws in the game and hit 19 of them, becoming the third of SFA's five Southland Conference opponents so far this season to attempt 30 or more free throws in a game.

• Holyfield hammered down three dunks in the game, matching the 'Jacks' season-high for slam dunks in a game by a single individual this season. SFA is 1-2 this season in games where one player has three dunks.

• The 'Jacks' win over Nicholls was their ninth-straight against the Colonels and ties the longest winning streak by either team in the all-time series. Nicholls' winless stretch in William R. Johnson Coliseum had been extended to 17 years, too. The last time Nicholls won a game in Nacogdoches was back on Dec. 28, 2000. 

• SFA extended the nation's longest in-conference home winning streak to 41 games with their triumph over Nicholls.

• Below is a full breakdown of where Stephen F. Austin's points came from in their Southland Conference triumph over Nicholls:
Two-pointers | 60.0% (48-80)
Three-pointers | 33.8% (27-80)
Free throws | 6.2% (5-80)
Points in the paint | 50.0% (40-80)
Points off turnovers | 26.2% (21-80)
Second chance points | 16.3% (13-80)
Starters points | 65.0% (52-80)
Bench Points | 35.0% (28-80)

• Now that the 'Jacks have won back-to-back Southland Conference games for the first time in the tenure of first-year head coach Kyle Keller, the team has taken the first step in putting together the program's fifth winning streak of 10 or more Southland Conference games in program history.

• Stephen F. Austin owns three of the 12 longest winning streaks in Southland Conference games in the history of the league. Below are the dates of each of the 'Jacks' four Southland Conference winning streak of 10 or more games.
• 32 games | Feb. 20, 2013 until Feb. 14, 2015 (longest in SLC history)
• 26 games | Feb. 16, 2015 until Jan. 2, 2017 (second-longest in SLC history)
• 11 games | Feb. 22, 2012 until Jan. 26, 2013 (ninth-longest in SLC history)
• 10 games | Dec. 28, 2002 until Feb. 5, 2003

• Through the past three games, the three-point shooting of junior guard Isaiah Traylor has been trending upward in drastic fashion.

• Heading into the 'Jacks' Southland Conference game at Abilene Christian on Jan. 7, 2017, the Tupelo, Miss., product had connected on only 26-percent (12-for-46) of his tries from long range.

• Starting with a 4-for-8 showing in Abilene against the Wildcats, Traylor's long range shooting has started to stretch the floor for the 'Jacks. In his last three games, the junior has hit nine of his 17 tries from three-point range, good for a 52.9-percent success rate.

• That has caused his season three-point percentage to rise 7.3-percent - from 26 to 33.3.

• In Southland Conference games, Traylor is hitting 42.3-percent of his tries from beyond the arc which is the 10th-best average among all league players.

• Junior and SFA newcomer Ivan Canete is making a bid to become the first newcomer to lead the 'Jacks in scoring since Josh Alexander did so in the 2005-06 season.

• Canete currently leads the 'Jacks in scoring at 12.4 points per game - putting him five-tenths of a point ahead of sophomore TJ Holyfield for the team lead.

• One of the best pure shooters in the Southland Conference, Canete is knocking on the door of the 50-40-90 club, which is to say shooting 50-percent or higher from the field, 40-percent or higher from three-point range and 90-percent or higher from the free throw line.

• The Lake Worth, Fla., product has put in exactly 50-percent (70-of-140) of his field goals, 45.8-percent (33-of-72) of his three-point field goal tries and 84.1-percent (37-of-44) of his free throw attempts.

• Canete ranks fourth among all Southland Conference players in terms of free throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage so far this season. 

• Although the 'Jacks do not have a player in among the top 20 scorers in the Southland Conference, that has hardly kept them from winning games.

• Six different 'Jacks have led the team in scoring through their 17 games this season. Junior Ivan Canete has been the leading scorer in six of SFA's 17 contests while TJ Holyfield has served as the top scorer in four of them.

• In terms of rebounding, the 'Jacks have seen six different individuals lead the team in that department through their 17 games this season. Topping that list is Holyfield, who has grabbed the most rebounds for SFA in seven of its 17 games.

• A Saturday night duel in San Antonio pits SFA against one of the three Southland Conference teams who have never defeated the 'Jacks. Stephen F. Austin will put its 5-0 all-time record against Incarnate Word on the line at the McDermott Convocation Center at 7:30 p.m. in a Southland Conference tilt.

• All but one of the 'Jacks' five games against the Cardinals have been decided by 14 or more points. The sixth all-time meeting between the two programs will be broadcast nationwide on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.