NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)
FAST BREAK POINTS
• For the 12th-straight season, the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team is an entrant in the Southland Conference Tournament and will begin its quest for a fourth-straight league tournament title and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth on Thursday night inside the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas, when it faces either Lamar or Southeastern Louisiana at 7:30 p.m.
• ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app will carry all of the quarterfinal and semifinal games of the league tournament. SFA’s first quarterfinal game in the tournament since 2012 will be narrated by David Saltzman and Jim Haller. On Q107.7 FM in Nacogdoches, frequent Katy, Texas, visitor Rob Meyers will provice play-by-play and analysis of every second of the action.
• Among the entrants in the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament, SFA is the only one of the eight
of the eight that has defeated each of the seven other teams in the regular season. The ‘Jacks have active winning streaks against all seven of the other squads vying for the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, too.
• In the history of their program, the ‘Jacks have racked up four championship finishes at the Southland Conference Tournament as well as four runner-up finishes. SFA’s four Southland Conference Tournament titles are tied with Lamar for the most among all of the 2017 participants. Both SFA and Lamar have as many combined SLC Tournament titles throughout their histories as the other six 2017 entrants do combined. In total, New Orleans (0), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1), Houston Baptist (0), Sam Houston State (2), Southeastern Louisiana (1) and Central Arkansas (0) have four Southland Conference Tournament titles between them.
• For the fifth-straight season, SFA has secured a bye into at least the quarterfinal round of the Southland Conference Tournament. The ‘Jacks wrapped up their regular season slate just one game behind 2017 Southland Conference regular season champion New Orleans and in a tie for second-place in the league standings with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Houston Baptist. SFA earned the number-three seed as a result of the tiebreaker system set up by the Southland Conference.
• If the ‘Jacks meet Lamar in the quarterfinal round, 40 combined Southland Conference Tournament wins between the two programs would be represented. Outside of Sam Houston State (17) no other team in the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament has more than seven tourney wins in its program history.
SFA IN THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
• 5 | Stephen F. Austin begins its quest for a fifth-ever Southland Conference Tournament title on Thursday evening in Katy, Texas. The ‘Jacks have captured the league’s championship tournament belt and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on four occasions in the program’s history - 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2016
• 21 | The ‘Jacks have qualified for the Southland Conference Tournament 21 separate times including each of the last 12 seasons. All-time, SFA has notched a record of 20-16 in SLC Tournament games.
• 10 | After not qualifying for the postseason tournament during its first 10 seasons of existance, the ‘Jacks finally broke through in 1991, but it would take three tries before SFA could capture its first win in the league tourney. Ned Fowler became the first SFA coach to notch a victory in the postseason tournament with a 73-72 win over North Texas in the 1995 quarterfinal round.
• 2003 | Year three of the Danny Kaspar era represented the first time the ‘Jacks made it all the way to the SLC Tournament Finals, but SFA fell in the title bout that season and in the ensuing campaign, too, before finally hoisting the SLC Tournament trophy with a 68-57 win over UTSA in the 2009 SLC Tournament Finals.
• 9 | In the 12-straight years SFA has been in the Southland Conference Tournament, the ‘Jacks have advanced to the semifinals in all but two of those campaigns - 2007 and 2011.
• 2010 | Since 2010, the ‘Jacks have advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament finals in all but two seasons. That run includes a current streak of four-straight finals showings.
• 6 | Of their 21 all-time appearance in the SLC Tournament, the ‘Jacks have entered the tournament fray as the number-one overall seed on six occasions including four of the last five seasons. As the number-one seed, the ‘Jacks are 11-2 with one loss each coming in the semifinal and final round.
• Seniors | The ‘Jacks’ lone senior, Dallas Cameron owns a perfect 6-0 record in Southland Conference Tournament games. No current player among the eight teams in the 2017 Southland Conference Tournament field has more than four wins to their credit and Cameron is looking to help the ‘Jacks become the first team since Louisiana-Monroe from 1990-93 to win four straight Southland Conference Tournament crowns.
• Kyle Keller | In his first season as the ‘Jacks’ head coach, Kyle Keller is hoping to become just the third SFA bench boss to win a Southland Conference Tournament game in his first try. The only two SFA head coaches who won their first-ever games in the Southland Conference Tournament were Derek Allister (1996-00) and Brad Underwood (2013-16).
• Quarterfinals | In the 15 Southland Conference Tournament quarterfinal games the ‘Jacks have played, they have posted a record of 8-7 in them. SFA has won four of its last five quarterfinal matchups in the Southland Conference Tournament including the most recent one - a 68-46 victory seventh-seeded Sam Houston State in the 2012 Southland Conference Tournament.
• Three | The 2017 Southland Conference Tournament marks the first time that Stephen F. Austin has earned a number-three seed in the annual race for the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Before this season, the only two seeds the ‘Jacks had never entered the tournament as were third and seventh.
• On Monday afternoon, sophomore TJ Holyfield found out he had been chosen to represent the ‘Jacks on the All-Southland Conference Second Team. He is the first SFA sophomore to earn All-Southland Conference honors since Thomas Walkup locked up a spot on the Third Team at the end of the 2013-14 regular season.
• All the Albuquerque, N.M., product did through his second season of collegiate basketball was lead SFA in both scoring (11.8 points per game) and rebounding (7.2/game) and those numbers were good for the 24th and seventh respectively in the 13-team Southland Conference. The sophomore hit double-digits in the scoring column in 21 games and has put in at least 12 points in nine of his last 11 outings. • Just five players in the Southland Conference bettered Holyfield’s 54-percent shooting clip from the field and the sophomore continued to be a reliable low-post defender for the ‘Jacks. Holyfield led the team with 37 blocked shots and averaged 1.3 per game - the sixth-highest average in the league. Those 37 rejections represent the 10th-most in a single season in program history and for his career Holyfield has accumulated 87 blocks - the fifth-most among all players who have played for the ‘Jacks.
• Holyfield posted double-doubles in seven of the 29 games he took part in through the 2016-17 regular season with his most recent coming against Northwestern State last Thursday (March 2). In that tilt, Holyfield tied his career high in scoring by dropping in 21 points and hauled in 16 rebounds - the most in a single game by an SFA player since Taylor Smith amassed 18 on Jan. 30, 2013, in a league victory at McNeese.
A BREATH OF FRESH(MAN) AIR
• Over the past six games, the ‘Jacks have been relying on the steady play of freshman Kevon Harris off the bench to make sure they don’t suffer a drop-off on offense when going to their reserves.
• In five of his last six outings, the Ellenwood, Ga., product has put in at least 12 points and in his last six games Harris is averaging 12.5 points per game on the strength of 59.5-percent field goal shooting. That makes him SFA’s third-leading scorer through that same span of contests.
MORE FROM GILMORE
• Another SFA player who has been playing his best basketball of the season through recent weeks is junior forward Leon Gilmore III.
• Two of Gilmore III’s four highest scoring outputs of 2016-17 have come in the ‘Jacks’ last two games. Against Northwestern State on March 2, the Houston, Texas, product submitted the first 20-point game of his career and finished with a team-high 22 points in SFA’s first home Southland Conference loss since February of 2012.
• Gilmore III followed that up with a team-high 16 points against Sam Houston State in SFA’s regular season finale inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. He connected on seven of his 10 tries from the field and hammered down a pair of highlight-reel dunks for the home team.
DON’T CROSS CAMERON INDOORS
• By winning his 100th-career collegiate basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 28, senior guard Dallas Cameron became one of 28 current NCAA Division I men’s basketball players who have won 100 or more games in their careers.
• In all, Cameron has posted a record of 106-27 (.797 winning percentage) through his collegiate career, joining former Lumberjack greats Jacob Parker, Trey Pinkney and Thomas Walkup as the only players in the history of the program who have won 100 or more games. With two more wins, Cameron would tie Parker as the player in the program hsitory with the third-most career wins.
• The only two seniors in college basketball who have bettered Cameron’s career in-conference winning percentage are John Robert Simon and Zach Bush at Wichita State. Cameron has won 91.5-percent of the conference games he has played in throughout his career (65-6) which is the second-best in-conference winning percentage by any current four-year senior in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball. In addition to his near-perfect career conference winning percentage, Cameron is one of only five four-year seniors from around the nation who have lost just one home conference game in their careers. He joins the senior class of the Kansas Jayhawks and Ian Baker from New Mexico State as the only players of that classification in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
MAGNIFICENT IN MARCH
• March has been a month synonyous with postseason success for SFA since the program’s days as an NAIA institution, and that trend has continued well into the 21st century.
• Since the 2008-09 season, SFA has gone 29-7 against Southland Conference competition in the month of March. That works out to a winning percentage of .806.
SCOUTING LAMAR | ROSTER| SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• Following a five-year absence, Lamar returns to Katy, Texas, as an entrant in the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time since it captured the league’s automatic berthin the NCAA Tournament by winning the SLC Tourney in 2012. The Cardinals have amassed some 19 wins in the Southland Conference Tournament in program history - the fourth-most among all current league teams.
• One of the five players on the 2016-17 All-Southland Conference First Team, junior forward Colton Weisbrod continues to be the unquestioned star of the Cardinals. Through a sensational first season in Beaumont, Weisbrod registered 10 double-doubles - one shy of the most among all Southland Conference players - and posted eight outings of 20 or more points. At the conclusion of the regular season, Weisbrod ranked sixth in the Southland Conference in scoring (15.8 points per game) and third in the 13-team league in rebounding (8.4/game)
• Directing the nation’s 65th-best scoring offense (78.3 ppg) is junior point guard Joey Frenchwood who leads the Southland Conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.89. Frenchwood’s prowess in the ball security department has helped Lamar become the least turnover-prone team in the 13-team league in 2016-17. The Cardinals commit a league-low 13.3 turnovers per game and rank first in the Southland in both scoring margin (+6.5) and free throw attempts (740).
• The expectations by the Southland Conference coaches and sports information personnel before the 2016-17 season began were that the Cardinals would post a 12th-place finish in the 13-team league. Those expectations have been exceeded by Lamar who enters Katy as the number-six seed for the Southland Conference Tournament. Winners of three of its last four games, the Cardinals are led by head coach Tic Price who has posted a 23-40 all-time record against the other Southland Conference Tournament attendees including a 3-7 mark this season.
SCOUTING SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• If it’s the Lions the ‘Jacks are to face in their Southland Conference Tournament quarterfinal bout, SFA will have to contend with the league’s best scoring defense. Southeastern Louisiana is allowing only 67.9 points per game to the opposition which translates to the 71st-best scoring defense among all 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams.
• By making the cut for the Southland Conference Tournament as the seventh-seed, Southeastern Louisiana has guarenteed itself at least a record of .500 for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign even of the Lions lose their first-round matchup against Lamar. In their last game of the regular season, Southeastern Louisiana handed 2016-17 SLC champion New Orleans a 63-58 loss at Lakefront Arena on March 2.
• An All-Southland Conference Third Team performer at the end of the 2016-17 regular season, Marlain Veal is the Lions’ primary scoring option. The sophomore ranks 10th in the Southland Conference in scoring and also leads SLU in both assists (4.5/game) and steals (1.8/game).
• Veal, however, is just one of three Lions who average more than 11 points per game for a Southleastern Louisiana offense that ranks 11th in the Southland Conference. Both Davon Hayes (12.3 ppg) and Moses Greenwood (11.6 ppg) possess double-digit scoring averages.
• One of the headliners for the Lions’ strong defense is senior Dominic Nelson who ranks third in the Southland Confernece with two blocked shots per game. Nelson also adds 6.5 rebounds per contest to a Southeastern Louisiana glass game which averages 12.1 offensive rebounds per tilt (second in the league). With Nelson on their side, the Lions are out-rebounding league foes by an average of four per game which is the second-highest rebounding margin in the 13-team league.
COMING UP NEXT
• Should the ‘Jacks best either Lamar or Southeastern Louisiana in the quarterfinal round of the Southland Conference Tournament and advance to the semifinals for the 14th time in program history, number-two seed Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will be waiting for them. SFA is 3-0 all-time against the Islanders in the Southland Conference Tournament and has won its last five games versus their adversaries from Corpus Christi.