MBB Game Notes: at McNeese State

The 'Jacks will go for the season sweep of McNeese State on Wednesday in Lake Charles.

Jan. 29, 2013

Game Notes In PDF Format

SFA (16-2, 7-1 SLC) at McNeese State (8-10, 2-6 SLC)
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2013 • 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Lake Charles Civic Center (7,450) • Lake Charles, La.
Radio: Q107.7 FM • TV: None • Live Stats: www.McNeeseSports.com

• SFA saw its 11-game win streak and perfect conference come to an end on Saturday when Northwestern State pulled out a 61-57 win at Prather Coliseum; however, the ‘Jacks still sit in the driver’s seat of conference race as it approaches the midway point. SFA will try and maintain that advantage on Wednesday when it travels to Lake Charles, looking for the season sweep of the Cowboys.

The Last Meeting
McNeese State43
January 5, 2013
Nacogdoches, Texas
Kaspar Gets 450th Win With Victory Over McNeese
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks got its third double-double from Taylor Smith in four games and used a 14-2 run late in the game to break things open on its way to a convincing 71-43 win over McNeese State on Saturday at William R. Johnson Coliseum in what served as head coach Danny Kaspar's 450th career win.

• The ‘Jacks can complete season sweeps of both McNeese State and Lamar with wins this week on the road, which would give them an 8-2 start to the season in road contests. No SFA team has started better than 7-3 in its first 10 road games in the Danny Kaspar era, and an 8-2 road start would be the best at SFA since the 1972-73 team went 9-1 in its first 10 road games.

• James Hulbin hit a three-point bucket with 13.7 seconds left and Northwestern State finishes the game on an 11-0 run to snap Stephen F. Austin’s 11-game win streak with a 61-57 win on Saturday at Prather Coliseum. In a game that pitted the nation’s top offense against the nation’s top defense, SFA held a 57-50 lead with more than four minutes to play, but was held scoreless on its way to the finish line, despite holding the lead for the majority of the second half. SFA still managed to hold the Demons, who came in averaging 85.0 points per game, to its lowest scoring output of the season at just 61 points; however, the loss negated a pair of double-doubles for both Taylor Smith and Desmond Haymon

• SFA travels to Beaumont on Saturday to wrap up the season seies with Lamar before coming home for matchups with Central Arkansas and Oral Roberts before hitting the road again.

• The Lumberjacks will be looking to extend their streak of 50 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 18 games of this season

• SFA’s 11-game win streak came to an end on Saturday. At the time it was the second-longest active win streak in the country. 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 30-7 since the the beginning of the 2011 calendar year.

• The Lumberjacks enter Thursday's game averaging just 50.0 points allowed per game, the lowest mark in the country.

Series Notes
SFA has won 10 of the last 12 meetings against the Cowboys, with both losses coming in Lake Charles. The Cowboys have only managed to muster 70 points vs the ‘Jacks once in the last 10 games, not doing so since a 72-70 loss in 2006 in Nacogdoches.

BOUNCING BACK: SFA is 15-6 over the last two seasons in games following a loss. However, SFA has been much better at bouncing back when at athome as since 2007-08, the ’Jacks are 27-0 in home games following defeats. The last time SFA dropped two straight games with the second loss coming at home was the 2006-07 season, when the ’Jacks fell at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, then lost at home to UTSA in the regular-season finale.

SFA LASTS WITH THE ELITE: SFA dropped just its second game of the season on Saturday at Northwestern State, dropping the ‘Jacks from a very short list of one-loss teams left in the country. Going into Saturday’s game, only SFA, Michigan and Kansas were left as one-loss teams in the nation.

STREAK BUSTED: An 11-game win streak for SFA came to an end as well on Saturday at the hands of the Demons, a streak that was the second-longest active win streak in the country at the time. Still, SFA has also won 13 in a row at William R. Johnson Coliseum, a streak that is tied with Missouri 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 18 games of 2012-13 to extend its school-record streak of sub-70 defensive performances to 50. 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.

SAME 'OL, SAME 'OL: In addition to defense, consistency has been the name of the game this season for SFA, and it begins with the starting five. The ‘Jacks opened the season with the starting five of Hal Bateman, Antonio Bostic, Desmond Haymon, Jacob Parker and Taylor Smith and have not varied since the season opener. Entering Wednseday’s game at McNeese State, SFA is one of just 11 teams in the country to have used the same starting five in every game. The others include: Syracuse, VMI, SMU, Detroit, Loyola-Chicago, Toledo, Creighton, Arizona State, Belmont and Murray State.

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.

TAYLOR MADE: Senior post Taylor Smith has scored his sixth double-double this season on Saturday with 10 points and 12 rebounds in SFA’s loss at Northwestern State. He has been named the league’s player of the week twice, and currently leads the Southland in both field-goal percentage (.692) and blocks per game (3.0 bpg), while ranking in the top five in scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). His six double-doubles on the year is tied with McNeese State’s Desharick Guidry for tops in the Southland.

DEFYING LOGIC: It stands to reason to think that a team which both outrebounds and outshoots its opponent has amplified chances to pull out a victory. Such has been the case for this year’s SFA squad, leading the Southland in both field-goal percentage and rebound margin; however, Saturday’s loss to Northwestern State defied that logic as the ‘Jacks both outshot (41.7% to 36.8%) and outrebounded (43 to 35) the Demons and still fell in defeat. It was just the sixth time in 175 games since the 2007-08 season SFA has outshot and outrebounded an opponent and still been defeated.

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. 77.  SFA is one of two SLC schools to check in on the RPI Top 100, joined by Oral Roberts (No. 98). With its win over the ‘Jacks, the Demons climbed 36 spots in the RPI, just missing the RPI Top 100 at 101.

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 eventually moved as high as No. 10 before Saturday’s loss at Northwestern State dropped it to No. 12 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.

BLOCK PARTY: Taylor Smith has been outstanding as SFA’s last line of defense this year, and the numbers are showing just that. The senior has rejected six shots in each of his last three games, becoming the first 'Jack in the Division I era to do so. Smith, who was a two-time league defensive player of the year at McLennan CC before coming to SFA, has 54 blocks (3.0 bpg) in 18 games of the season and is closing in on Emanuel Jackson’s 61 blocks in 1999-00 as the season record in the Division I era. Only one Lumberjack has ever led the league in blocks -- Tim Holloway in 1989-90. Smith’s 3.0 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.

DEFENDING THE ARC: A year ago after 18 games the ‘Jacks were just 9-9 and allowing opponents to hit 34.6 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 16-2 record after 18 games, SFA is second in the SLC in defending the three-point line, allowing its opponents to hit just 27.7 percent of its threes.

VOTES OF CONFIDENCE: This week the ‘Jacks picked up a few more notches on its belt when it received a pair of votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll on January 21. It was the first time SFA had 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 first UPS Team Performance Index, also released on Jan. 21, which measures efficiency and teamwork to highlight teams that are well balanced across America. SFA came in at No. 3 in this week’s UPS TPI report.

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 been no different as SFA is leading the nation in scoring defense again, allowing just 50.0 points per game through its first 18 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. 18, senior Taylor Smith currently sports a .692 field goal percentage, which is second in the nation, while Hal Bateman’s 6.5 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).

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 13 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.

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.

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.

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.

CLAMPING DOWN: The Lumberjacks were at their defensive best on vs Southeastern in the second half, holding the Lions to just 4-for-24 (16 percent) shooting from the field in holding them to just 15 points in the final 20 minutes. Oddly enough, the ‘Jacks seriously put the clamps on the Lions a year ago as well in the second half, holding Southeastern to just 3-for-16 shooting from the field in holding the Lions to just 36 points, marking the first time since 2008 that SFA had held a Southland opponent under the 40-point plateau. It was the lowest point total by a Southland opponent for the `Jacks in the Danny Kaspar era, and the eighth of 10 times since 2007-08 the ‘Jacks have kept an opponent under 40 points.

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.

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.

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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