MBB Game Notes: at Northwestern State

Hal Bateman and the 'Jacks currently lead the SLC with a 7-0 conference mark.

Jan. 24, 2013

Game Notes In PDF Format

SFA (16-1, 7-0 SLC) vs Northwestern State (11-6, 5-2 SLC)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 • 3:00 p.m. (CT)
Prather Coliseum (3,900) • Natchitoches, La.
Radio: Q107.7 FM • TV: None • Live Stats: www.NSUDemons.com

• Something has got to give on Saturday in Natchitoches, when the nation's No. 1 scoring defense (SFA, 49.4 ppg) goes up against the nation's top scoring offense (Northwestern State, 85.0). The teams have met 111 times on the hardwood, making the the rivalry with the Demons the secondmost storied rivalry for SFA among Southland opponents, only behind 194 meetings against Sam Houston State.

The Last Meeting
Northwestern State52
March 3, 2012
Nacogdoches, Texas
SFA Downs Demons On Senior Night
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks learned of their fate entering next week's Southland Conference Tournament even before tipping off on Saturday, then proceeded to knock off Northwestern State, 62-52, behind 18 points from Antonio Bostic in the regular-season finale at William R. Johnson Coliseum.

• SFA's win over Nicholls gave SFA a 7-0 start in league play, marking the best start to league play for the `Jacks since the 2002-03 team started 10-0. The `Jacks 16-1 overall start has also eclipsed the 2007-08 team's 12-1 start as the best start for an SFA squad since the progam moved to Division I at the beginning of the 1987-88 season and a win on Saturday would give SFA its best start overall since the 1985-86 team also started the year with a 17-1 mark.

• Desmond Haymon had his first career double-double as one of four Lumberjacks in double figures and SFA ran its win streak to 11 in a row with a convincing 72-49 win over Nicholls at William R. Johnson Coliseum. With the win the `Jacks remained the lone Southland Conference team unbeaten in league play and will go into next week as one of just six unbeaten teams remaining in the country. SFA dominated the paint against the Colonels, 40-18, a team who was coming off a convincing 93-78 win of its own on Thursday at Northwestern State. But aside from Fred Hunter's 22 points, no other Colonel was able to muster more than Jeremy Smith's 10. 

• SFA will close out the month of January on the road with a Wednesday meeting at McNeese State before closing out its season series against Lamar on February 2 in Beaumont.

• The Lumberjacks will be looking to extend their streak of 49 consecutive games of holding opponents under 70 points. SFA went all of 2011-12 without allowing 70 points to an opponent and has done so in the first 17 games of this season

• SFA's current 11-game win streak is the 4th longest active streak in the nation. The `Jacks have also won 13 games in a row at William R. Johnson Coliseum, a mark tied for 12th best in the country.

• Stephen F. Austin and Wisconsin are the only two programs in the nation to be ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense each of the last five seasons.

• SFA's win over McNeese State was Danny Kaspar's 450th of his career.

• SFA is 30-6 since the the beginning of the 2011 calendar year.

• The Lumberjacks enter Thursday's game averaging just 49.4 points allowed per game, the lowest mark in the country.

Series Notes
SFA has won six of the last eight meetings against the Demons, inclduing three of the last four at Prather Coliseum. The Demons are the last team to score 70 points against the `Jacks, scoring exactly 70 in a 70-65 win on March 5, 2011 in Natchitoches. Still, the `Jacks have held Northwestern State below 70 points in eight of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2007.

SFA AMONG THE ELITE: After Michigan fell on at Ohio State, there were no unbeaten teams remaining in college basketball; however, entering Friday there are just five one-loss teams remaining across the country with the Lumberjacks' 16-1 record putting them in that group. Here is a list of the five remaining one-loss teams in college basketball: Syracuse (18-1), Michigan (17-1), Kansas (17-1), Arizona (16-1), and SFA (16-1).

GOING STREAKIN': The `Jacks have won 11 games in a row and will be going for its 12th victory in a row on Saturday against Northwestern State. The 11-game streak is the fourth longest current win streak in the country and is the longest streak by the `Jacks since they won 13 in a row during the 2002-03 season.  SFA has also won 13 in a row at William R. Johnson Coliseum, a streak that is tied with five other teams for the 12th longest home win streak in the country.

SUB-SEVENTY: SFA held each of its 32 opponents under 70 points in 2011-12, and has done the same in each of its first 10 games of 2012-13 to extend its school-record streak of sub-70 defensive performances to 49. The last team to score 70 on the `Jacks was Northwestern State, when they did so in a 70-65 win over SFA in 2010-11 in Natchitoches, La.

SITTIN' ON 20: The 'Jacks have six 20-win campaigns since becoming a Division I program in 1988 and are just four wins away from its seventh. All six of those 20-win seasons have come under Danny Kaspar.

SMITH DOUBLES UP: Senior post Taylor Smith scored his fourth double-double in five games with 23 points and 12 rebounds in SFA's win over Central Arkansas. Just three games prior he put up 25 points and 14 rebounds at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a game which helped him win his second consecutive Southland Conference Player of the Week honor. Currently he leads the Southland in both field-goal percentage (.702) and blocks per game (2.8 bpg), while ranking in the top five in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). He has five double-doubles on the year, tied with McNeese State's Desharick Guidry and Oral Robert's Damen Bell-Holter for tops in the Southland.

SOONER STATE SWEEP: The `Jacks have crossed the Red River into Oklahoma three times this year, and each time they have headed back south it has been with a victory in its back pocket. SFA has recorded road wins at Tulsa (57-41), at Oklahoma (56-55) and at Oral Roberts (61-50) this season, by an average margin of victory of 9.67 points.

'JACKS IN THE RPI: When the latest NCAA RPI report came out on Monday, the Lumberjacks found themselves with the highest RPI of any team in the Southland Conference at No. 69.  SFA is one of two SLC schools to check in on the RPI Top 100, joined by Oral Roberts (No. 90).

CARDINAL RULE: SFA had no issues with downing Lamar, blasting the Cardinals by 36 points in a 79-43 win. What was more impressive was the fact that the the 36-point margin of victory was SFA's largest margin of victory in a conference game since SFA joined the Southland Conference for the 1987-88 season.

HOME DEFENSE: SFA is known for its defensive prowess, but it is even moreso evident when playing at William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA has held its opponents to 50 points or fewer in 20 of 39 games at home in the last three seasons, allowing just 51.6 points per game at home in 2010-11 and 53.1 points per game in 2011-12. It is allowing just 44.6 points per game in 10 home games this season.

RANK AND FILE: SFA got an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve, breaking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Top 25 for the first time this season. The `Jacks checked in at No. 25 and after wins over Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls last week, found itself up to No. 10 in the latest poll released on Monday. The `Jacks are the only Southland Conference school to make an appearance in the poll this year, but still have not reached its Mid Major Top 25 peak as it did when it received a first-place vote and peaked at No. 6 in the poll during the 2007-08 season.

SAFE AT HOME: In 12-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 146-35 (.806) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 342-126 (.730) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA has recorded eight straight seasons and 10 campaigns in last 11 years with double-digit wins at home after its win over Nicholls pushed the `Jacks to 10-0 at home this season.

OU SERIOUS?: SFA's win at Oklahoma snapped a 36-game home win streak over non-conference opponents for the Sooners. Oddly enough, the last win at the Lloyd Noble Center by a Sooner non-conference opponent was in 2007 when the `Jacks escaped Norman with a 66-62 win.

DEFENDING THE ARC: A year ago after 16 games the `Jacks were just 9-7 and allowing opponents to hit 33.8 percent of their shots from behind the arc, a mark which was near the bottom of the SLC. This season things have been drasticsally different. In addition to sporting an 15-1 record after 14 games, SFA is second in the SLC in defending the three-point line, allowing its opponents to hit just 29.0 percent of its threes, which is the best in the Southland.

'JACKS MOVE UP IN MID-MAJOR TOP 25: SFA got an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve, breaking into the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Top 25 for the first time this season. The `Jacks checked in at No. 25 and after wins over Lamar and McNeese State last week, found itself up to No. 15 in the latest poll released on Monday. The `Jacks are the only Southland Conference school to make an appearance in the poll this year. The last time SFA was in the poll was the 2008-09 season, reaching as high as No. 11.

VOTES OF CONFIDENCE: This week the `Jacks picked up a few more notches on its belt this week when it received a pair of votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, the first time SFA has received votes since getting votes in both the AP and Coaches Polls during its 2007-08 SLC title season. The `Jacks were also ranked No. 1 in the UPS Team Performance Index released on Monday, which measures efficiency and teamwork to highlight teams that are well balanced across America. That rating had SFA coming in ahead of teams such as Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Syracuse.

LOW-BALLED: SFA held Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to 46 points in an Islander win over in 2011 that tied for the fewest points by a Lumberjack opponent in an SFA loss over the last 13 seasons. In 13 years under Danny Kaspar, the 'Jacks have held the opposition below 50 points 63 times and lost only five times.

DEFENSE FIRST: The Lumberjacks finished third in the nation in scoring defense at 54.7 points per game allowed in 2011-12, a new school record. SFA has finished the year ranked among the top 10 in scoring defense in each of the last five seasons, including leading the nation in 2011 with 56.7 points per game and No. 2 rankings in both 2008 and 2009. This year has started off no different as SFA is leading the nation in scoring defense again, allowing just 49.4 points per game through its first 17 contests, holding 12 of its opponents below 60 points.

AMONG NATION'S BEST: As a team the 'Jacks are right at the top of the country in scoring defense, but the 'Jacks also have a pair of individuals who are near the top of the country's statistical rankings as well. As of the latest NCAA statistical report released on Jan. 21, senior Taylor Smith currently sports a .702 field goal percentage, which is second in the nation, while Hal Bateman's 6.6 assists per game ranks 15th in the country.

CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS: SFA did not have a single player in the Southland Conference top 10 in rebounding in 2011-12, but this year sports the league's No. 2 rebounder in Taylor Smith (8.7 rpg) and is tops in the league in rebound margin by a wide gap, pulling down 7.5 rebounds per contest more than its opponent, just one year after leading the Southland in rebound margin (+7.1 rpg).

HAL DO YOU DO?: Senior point guard Hal Bateman dished out a career-high 11 assists in SFA's season-opening win over Howard Payne, the most for a Lumberjack since Eric Bell had 11 dimes in a road win at Northern Illinois during the 2007-08 season. Three games later he doled out another 10, making him the first `Jack since Marcus Clark in 2004-05 to have multiple games in the same season with 10+ assists. In addition, he ranks 15th in the nation and leads the Southland Conference with 6.6 assists per game. The school record at SFA is 6.3 set by Winston Harrison in 1981-82.

KASPAR KOUNTER: Danny Kaspar picked up his 200th win at SFA in last year's season opener vs Centenary currently stands third all-time at SFA in head coaching wins with 235, trailing only Marshall Brown (345) and Bob Shelton (245). With 15 games left on the slate, it's still very possible that Kaspar moves past Brown for second on the all-time list at SFA by season's end. Also, SFA's win over McNeese State gave Kaspar his 450th career win between his time at SFA and Incarnate Word, second among active Southland Conference to Northwestern State's Mike McConathy.

BLOCK PARTY: Taylor Smith averaged 1.31 blocks pe rgame in less than 20 minutes of play as a junior, but this year that number is expected to skyrocket, and through four games he has not disappointed. Smith, who was a two-time league defensive player of the year at McLennan CC before coming to SFA, has 48 blocks (2.8 bpg) in the first 17 games of the season. Smith is now chasing Emanuel Jackson's 61 blocks in 1999-00 as the season record in the Division I era, and only one Lumberjack has ever led the league in blocks -- Tim Holloway in 1989-90. Smith's 2.8 blocks per game currently ranks first in the league.

HALF WAY THERE: The 'Jacks were not at their best when playing from behind in 2011-12, but were exceptional when playing from out in front. That was most evident by the fact that the 'Jacks went 19-1 a year ago when taking a lead into the half. Conversely, SFA was 1-11 when trailing at the break. This season had followed suit with the 'Jacks getting victories after taking a halftime lead into the locker room in each of its first seven wins before overcoming a four-point halftime deficit to rally and knock off Oklahoma. SFA is 14-0 this year when leading at midway point.  

IT'S BEEN A WHILE: Not since the 1957-58 season had the `Jacks pulled off what they managed to pull off in its season opener vs Howard Payne. SFA held HPU to just 30 points on the night, the least amount scored by an SFA opponent since Sam Houston State put up 30 in a 40-30 loss to the `Jacks in the 1957-58 season. Against the Yellow Jackets, SFA allowed just 15 shots to fall from the floor, none from beyond the arc and HPU missed its only free throw of the game.



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