'Jacks eye fourth-straight Southland Conference win in Saturday night battle at Incarnate Word

'Jacks eye fourth-straight Southland Conference win in Saturday night battle at Incarnate Word

SFA Athletics

• Now that its Southland Conference winning streak has been extended to three games, the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team takes aim at back-to-back road wins for the first time in the Kyle Keller coaching era when the 'Jacks enter McDermott Convocation Center to do battle with Incarnate Word at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app will carry the Southland Conference tilt nationwide and providing play-by-play and analysis are Lincoln Rose and Jim Haller.

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

• Incarnate Word is one of three current Southland Conference teams that the 'Jacks have never lost to. Since the series started in 2014, SFA has gone 5-0 against the Cardinals with 20.2 points serving as the average margin of victory.

• During the 'Jacks' three-game Southland Conference winning streak, they have jumped up to third place in the league standings. SFA is one game back of second-place Sam Houston State and 1.5 games behind league-leading New Orleans.

• SFA's record is at the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 3, 2016. With a victory against the Cardinals on Saturday night, the 'Jacks would move over .500 for the second time this season and the first time since Nov. 18, 2016.

• The 'Jacks are the only team in the Southland Conference who do not have a player among the top 25 scorers in conference-only games. Ivan Canete checks in with the 26th-best scoring average (11.8 points per game) in Southland Conference games only.

• Seeking back-to-back Southland Conference wins for the first time this season, the Cardinals are a perfect 2-0 in league play when doing battle on their home court of the McDermott Convocation Center. The Cardinals' pair of league wins have come by a combined nine points and have helped the squad construct a 7-2 record when playing at home.

• Three of the top 11 scorers in the Southland Conference play for Incarnate Word. Shawn Johnson (15.6 ppg) and Simi Socks (15.0 ppg) rank eighth and ninth in the league in terms of scoring while Jalin Hart (14.8 ppg) ranks 11th and completes the Cardinals' three-headed scoring monster.

• Abilene Christian is the only team in the Southland Conference that has a better three-point shooting touch than the Cardinals. Incarnate Word is connecting on 37.1-percent of its three-point tries this season with Shawn Johnson leading the way in that category. He averages 2.6 three-pointers per game and is shooting 44.4-percent (44-for-99) from long distance.

• Outside of Nicholls and the Colonels' league-leading mark of 6.4 blocked shots per game, no team in the league is better at rejecting shots than the Cardinals. Incarnate Word averages 5.2 blocked shots per game and is led by Devin Wyatt's 2.4 blocks per game. Shawn Johnson ranks seventh in the Southland with 1.4 blocked shots per game, too.

• Accuracy from three-point range and blocked shots are all well and good, but it has not helped the Cardinals' scoring defense. Incarnate Word's opponents are scoring the basketball at a rate of 81.2 points per game. That gives Incarnate Word the 12th-lowest scoring defense in the 13-team Southland Conference. The Cardinals' foes are hitting 45.4-percent of their field goal attempts, too, placing Incarnate Word's field goal percentage defense eighth out of 13 Southland Conference squads.

• Thomas Walkup made history by becoming the first Stephen F. Austin men's basketball player in 43 years to post a triple-double and the 'Jacks hammered the Cardinals 84-58 in San Antonio on Feb. 29, 2016. 

• The Monday night battle helped SFA move to 23-5 and 16-0 in Southland Conference action. Clide Geffrard put in a game-high 18 points and was one of four 'Jacks who posted a double-digit scoring performance. 

• Walkup finished with 12 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and a career-best 10 assists to notch the only triple-double of his career. 

• Breaking the hearts of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi fans everywhere, junior Ivan Canete helped the 'Jacks obtain their first road win of the 2016-17 campaign by getting a crucial steal and layup in the final 20 seconds before completing his 15-point night with a pair of free throw makes with less than 10 seconds remaining. Those points helped lift SFA to a 61-58 triumph over the Islanders.

• For the second time in as many games, the 'Jacks' got their field goals to drop in at a rate of 50-percent or higher. One game after posting their season-high for single game shooting percentage, SFA put in exactly 50-percent of their tries from the field.

• In addition to his offense, the defense of Canete was another pivotal part of the 'Jacks' win. The Lake Worth, Fla., product registered a career-best six steals in the tilt, becoming the first Lumberjack to notch five or more thefts in a game since Thomas Walkup amassed five against Incarnate Word on Feb. 29, 2016.

• Those steals allowed the 'Jacks to beat the Islanders at their own game. Coming into the Thursday night battle, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ranked seventh in the nation by averaging 10 steals per game.

• Stephen F. Austin staked the home-standing Islanders to a 6-0 lead and the 'Jacks were held scoreless through the game's first 5:45. Dallas Cameron ended SFA's offensive drought with a fast-break layup with 14:15 to go in the opening frame.

• The 'Jacks captured the lead for the first time when freshman Aaron Augustin drilled a three-pointer from the far corner. That three-point hit was the second bucket of an 11-0 surge by the visiting team over a span of 3:41.

• Ty Charles and Isaiah Traylor each contributed a long-range hit to the scoring run and SFA's defense held up its end of the bargain by limiting the Islanders to just one field goal during a stretch of 5:19.

• SFA's lead grew to eight by the time the halftime horn sounded. Canete connected on a long two just as time expired in the first frame.

• On three occasions in the second half, SFA's edge ballooned to 10 points. The last time the 'Jacks enjoyed a double-digit advantage in the game was when Jovan Grujic scored an uncontested layup after an offensive rebound to make matters 46-36 with 9:59 to go.

• Using the strength of Kareem South, the Islanders took their only lead of the second half when the freshman canned a deep three-pointer that capped a 15-4 run by the home team and made the score 51-50 with 4:20 remaining.

• The Islanders' second-half lead lasted just 20 seconds, however, as Ty Charles laced a downtown shot on the 'Jacks' very next possession to put the visitors on top the rest of the way.

• The trio of Canete, Charles and Leon Gilmore III combined to score the final 12 points for the 'Jacks. Five of the points from Gilmore III came from the free throw stripe where the junior finished with a game and career-high eight attempts.

• None of the Islanders' five bench players put in a single point, giving the 'Jacks a 23-0 edge in bench scoring. It marked the first time in 2016-17 that SFA held an opponent to zero bench points and that bested SFA's previous low of two opponent bench points in a game which the 2015-16 squad held a pair of opponents to.

• The 'Jacks finished with the same amount of rebounds as the Islanders (24) and junior Josh Huntley tied a career-high by pulling down a game-best six caroms. SFA's 24 rebounds against the Islanders is the lowest single-game total pulled down by the 'Jacks in the 2016-17 campaign.

• With the victory, the 'Jacks extended their winning streak over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to five games. In the all-time series between the two squads, SFA holds an 18-4 (.818) edge.

• Before Jan. 2, 2017, Stephen F. Austin had won 25 straight games in the month of January. Now, following back-to-back Southland Conference losses in the month of January, the 'Jacks have won three straight games in the month.

• Stephen F. Austin owns the second-longest winning streak in the Southland Conference after their win in Corpus Christi on Thursday night. SFA's three-game stretch is second only to Sam Houston State's five-game streak.

• Below is a full breakdown of where Stephen F. Austin's points came from in their Southland Conference triumph over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi:
Two-pointers | 42.6% (26-61)
Three-pointers | 34.4% (21-61)
Free throws | 22.9% (14-61)
Points in the paint | 32.8% (20-61)
Points off turnovers | 34.4% (21-61)
Second chance points | 13.1% (8-61)
Starters points | 62.3% (38-61)
Bench Points | 37.7% (23-61)

• SFA will puts its 41-game winning streak in Southland Conference home games on the line on Wednesday night when it hosts Central Arkansas.

• The 'Jacks have never lost to Central Arkansas in the history of the program. SFA holds a 14-0 all-time record against the Bears.

• ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app will carry the Southland Confernece showdown nationwide.