GAME TIME: Nearly halfway through the SLC season, SFA finds itself near the top of the league standings with a 5-2 mark and has a chance to improve up on that record and sweep the season series with Texas State when it hosts the Bobcats on Wednesday at William R. Johnson Coliseum. The `Jacks took a win in San Marcos on Jan. 4 in the conference opener for both teams when Hal Bateman buried a buzzer beater to snap the Bobcats' 16-game home win streak.
LAST GAME: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks got 18 points from Antonio Bostic and led by as much as 19 points to stay in the upper tier of the Southland Conference with a 64-49 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday at the American Bank Center. SFA held the Islanders to just 15 points in the first half and withstood an early second-half run to earn its eighth win over TAMUCC in its last nine meetings. The `Jacks owned the glass, outrebounding TAMUCC 39-27, and turned the ball over just seven times in putting together one of its most complete games of the season against a team who had pulled off two double-digit comeback victories in its last two games.
THE BOBCATS: The Bobcats have not rebounded from their league-opening loss to the `Jacks, dropping six of their first seven SLC games and currently stand as just one of two Southland teams with a single victory. Most recently they had league-leading UT-Arlington on the ropes in San Marcos, but could not hold onto a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play. They lead the league in offense at 79.1 ppg, but are allowing 76.5, which ranks 10th of 12 Southland teams.
vs. TEXAS STATE: SFA is 98-68 all-time against the Bobcats with SFA holding a convincing 17-3 edge during Danny Kaspar's tenure as head coach. The `Jacks have won 13 of the last 14 meetings overall dating back to 2002, but have had to use three-pointers in the final seconds in each of its last two wins over Texas State, including one from Darius Gardner in overtime of the game in Nacogdoches in 2011.
COVERAGE: Saturday's game can be viewed online via SFA all-Access at www.sfajacks.com
UP NEXT: SFA will be the lone Southland school on the road on Super Bowl Sundaym traveling to Lake Charles, La., for a matinee game with the Cowboys at the Lake Charles Convention Center.
SUB-SEVENTY: SFA has held each of its first 20 opponents under 70 points this season, setting a new school record for the longest streak of sub-70 defensive performances to open up a season. In fact, SFA is the only team remaining in the country to have not allowed 70 points in a game to a single opponent.
A CAREER TO REMEMBER: Senior Jereal Scott is the lone member of SFA's 2008 NCAA Tournament team on the roster, and as he reaches the end of his Lumberjack career it is easy to see that his name will be sprinkled throughout the record book when he is done. Scott recently eclipsed 1,100 points for his career and if he remains on his current pace will finish up in the top five all-time scorers in Division I history at SFA. He also needs just 33 more made free throws to become the 11th all-time at SFA with 300 for his career, a mark that he should reach by season's end.
HOT-HANDED HAYMON: In the second half and overtime of SFA's win over Sam Houston, Desmond Haymon proved to be the perimeter threat the Lumberjacks needed. He was just 1-for-5 with two points in the opening 20 minutes, but was 5-for-8 with three 3-point buckets after coming out of the locker room for 16 points and finished with a career-best 18 in the scoring column.
HOMEWRECKERS: The Lumberjacks may only have four wins away from Johnson Coliseum this season, but two of them have stung the opponent deeper than normal. SFA picked up its first road win at UTEP on Nov. 26 with a 53-35 verdict over the Miners, holding UTEP to its lowest point total at home since the school opened up the Don Haskins Center in 1976. Most recently, SFA went to San Marcos and stole a 66-65 win at Texas State, snapping the Bobcats' 16-game home win streak, which spanned more than a calendar year and was one of the top 10 such streaks in the country.
HAL-UTATIONS:Hal Bateman had scored just four points on four free throws before the final minute of SFA's win at Texas State, but the junior point guard hit three critical free throws to give SFA its first lead of the game with under a minute to go. Then, after the `Cats had retaken the lead, Bateman dribbled the length of the court to hit just his second three-point bucket of the season with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game for a one-point SFA win.
HALF WAY THERE: The `Jacks have not been the best at playing from behind this year, but have also been pretty solid when playing from out in front. That could not be more evident than the fact that the `Jacks are 10-0 this season when taking a lead into the half. Conversely, SFA is 1-9 when trailing at the half with its lone come-from-behind win being at Texas State to open league play.
TAYLOR MADE: Junior post Taylor Smith went just 3-for-7 in Wednesday's win over Sam Houston, but still stayed atop the Southland with a league-leading field goal percentage of .719, with the next closest to him being Sam Houston's Steven Werner, a former teammate of Smith at McLennan CO, who sits with a .682 percentage. No Lumberjack has led the Southland in field goal percentage since Ron Banks did so in 2001 (.593), while no player in the Southland has shot greater than 70 percent for the year since Nothwestern State's Jethro Owens did so in 1991 (.714).
45-MINUTE MAN: In Wednesday's overtime win over Sam Houston State, junior guard Antonio Bostic was the only man on either squad to never see the sideline during the game. Bostic played all 45 minutes of the game, marking the most minutes played by any Lumberjack since Josh Alexander played all 55 minutes in a 112-111 SFA win over North Dakota State in triple OT in the 2008-09 season at the Drake Hy-Vee Classic. Bostic leads SFA and ranks sixth in the SLC with 31.7 minutes per game.
SIDELINE SOLUTION: The SFA bench has been huge for the `Jacks all season, but has stepped up its game since starting Southland play. SFA's reserves have outscored its opposition in 16 of 20 games this year, and six of seven in league games. SFA is getting 28.7 points per game in Southland games to date, which is nearly half of SFA's 61.9 per-game total.
CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS: SFA may not have a single player in the Southland Conference top 10 in rebounding, with Taylor Smith's 5.9 rebounds per game leading the team, but as a team no group has been better in the SLC on the boards than the `Jacks. SFA is tops in the SLC with a +7.3 rebound margin through 20 games with Lamar a distant second with +6.0 per game. Of SFA's 20 opponents, only two have managed to pull down more rebounds than the `Jacks while two have drawn even on the glass. In each of SFA's seven league games to date they have outrebounded each opponent.
BATTLING BACK: SFA trailed 15-2 just minutes into its game at Texas State, and went into the locker room down 34-27 before battling back to take a 66-65 win at the buzzer. It was the first time this season that SFA has won a game when trailing at the half after previously being 0-7 when behind after 20 minutes of play.
BRACKET BUSTER BUDDIES: The `Jacks learned of their opponent for this year's Sears Bracket Busters event, finding out on Monday evening that High Point will be making the trip to Nacogdoches on Feb. 18 for SFA's final non-conference game of the year. SFA has never taken on High Point, while the Panthers have never played a game in the state of Texas.
LOW-BALLED: SFA held Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to just 49 points in Saturday's win, but it was the 46 points A&M-Corpus Christi put up in its win over SFAin 2011 that tied for the fewest points by a Lumberjack opponent in an SFA loss over the last 11 seasons. In 11 years under Danny Kaspar, the 'Jacks have held the opposition below 50 points 56 times and lost only five times.
LOW POINT: The 40 points SFA scored against Sam Houston State in last season's match-up with the Bearkats set a Johnson Coliseum record for fewest points scored by the 'Jacks. The previous record was 41 in a 52-41 loss to Southeastern Louisiana in February of 1995.
BOUNCING BACK: SFA is 12-6 over the last two seasons in games following a loss. Over the last four seasons, the 'Jacks are 23-0 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.
KING FOR A NIGHT: After going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line, Jonathan King finished SFA's game at Central Arkansas with a career-high 19 points and also matched his season high with eight rebounds for the third time this year. It was a rare feat not only for King, but also SFA, as his night was the first time an SFA player had been perfect from the field with at least seven field goal tries in a game since Ben Hunt was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field at ULM on Jan. 5, 2002.
DISTANCE LEARNING: SFA has had its struggled from beyond the arc this season, and that was most evident during a three-game stretch before the Christmas break in Oregon when SFA combined to go 3-for-36 in three straight losses to Prairie View A&M, North Carolina Central and Oregon. But since then SFA has finally begun to receive some distance production, hitting at least four threes in six of its last eight games.
CLAMPING DOWN: SFA held Southeastern Louisiana to just 36 points in its win over the Lions, holding its third opponent of the season under the 40-point mark. It was also the first time since 2008 that SFA has held a Southland opponent under the 40-point plateau, and is the lowest point total by a Southland opponent for the `Jacks in the Danny Kaspar era. HOME DEFENSE: SFA held its opponents to 50 points or fewer in nine of 16 games at home last season, and allowed just 51.6 points per game at home in 2010-11. In nine games at home this year SFA is allowing just 52.1 points per game, including just 36 points to Southeastern Louisiana and UT-Tyler.
SAFE AT HOME: In 10-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 133-34 (.796) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 329-125(.724) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA has recorded six straight seasons and eight campaigns in nine years with double-digit wins at home.
SOUTHLAND OPENERS: In Danny Kaspar's 12 seasons at SFA, the `Jacks are now 6-6 in Southland Conference openers after knocking off Texas State. The 'Jacks had dropped three of their last four league-opening games and had lost five straight times when opening Southland play on the road. SFA is now 3-5 under Kaspar in Southland openers away from home. The last time a Lumberjack team had won a league-opening road game was a 2002-03 verdict at former Southland member ULM.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER: Since the Southland Conference began divisional play in 2006-07, SFA has won three of a possible six division championships. The 'Jacks won the Southland West in 2008 and won the East Division title in 2009 and 2010.
BEAST AGAINST THE EAST: In five-plus years of divisional play in the Southland Conference, SFA has only lost one home game to a team from the Southland East Division. That was a 67-57 decision against Northwestern State in 2006-07, the first year of divisional action. Since then, the 'Jacks have reeled off 16 straight home wins against the East. SFA is 19-1 at home against East Division teams, and has a 31-8 overall mark against teams in that division.
CLAMPING DOWN: SFA returned to William R. Johnson Coliseum on Dec. 30 to take a 57-point win over UT-Tyler, holding the Patriots to just 36 points in the victory. The 36 points was the lowest for a Lumberjack opponent since SFA held ULM to 36 points last season, a mark that is the second-lowest defensive showing in the Danny Kaspar era and that was matched less than 10 days later when SFA held Southeastern Louisiana to just 36 points as well. The lowest in the era was when SFA held Huston-Tillotson to just 33 points during the 2007-08 season.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH: The Lumberjacks have had their struggles from beyond the arc this season, launching three-pointers at just a 26.5 percent clip through 19 games. That mark is hindered by an 0-for-8 performance from three-point land in SFA's three-point loss in Eugene, Ore., to Prairie View A&M. It was the first time since an 0-for-8 outing in a win over Alabama A&M in the 2004-05 season that SFA has not made a three-point field goal in a game, a span of 214 games.
HI, MY NAME IS ____: SFA has just four returning players -- including two starters -- from last season. But with two of the four being sophomores, SFA has only six years of Division I basketball experience on the 2011-12 roster. That figure is tied for the fourth-fewest years of D-I experience in the nation.
HAVE A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS: The `Jacks had 24 assists on 29 made baskets in its 74-48 win over Alabama State. The 24 assists are the most assists by a Lumberjack team in a single game since it had 24 dimes on March 2, 2006 at Sam Houston State. Junior point guard Hal Bateman had eight assists in the game vs the Hornets, marking just the fourth time in the past three seasons SFA has had a player with eight assists in a single game.
HOME NON-CONFERENCE: After knocking off UT-Tyler, SFA has now won 32 of its last 34 home, non-conference games, dating to the 2006-07 season. Before it's 58-56 loss to Florida International, the only other SFA loss during that stretch was a two-point defeat against Texas Tech in 2009-10. The Lumberjacks are now 61-5, overall, in home, non-conference games in 12 seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar.
CLASSIC RESULTS: SFA's loss to FIU was its first in three years of the Etech Lumberjack Classic. The `Jacks are now 5-1 in the Classic and have hosted the event each year since the 2009-10 season. The 'Jacks are now 11-1, all-time, in home, regular-season tournaments. SFA went 4-0 in two years of hosting the Tall Pines Classic in 1975 and 1976, and the 'Jacks picked up two wins in the Stephen F. Austin Tournament in 1963.
BURYING THE MINERS: The Lumberjacks held UTEP to just 35 points in a 53-35 win on Saturday in El Paso. It was the lowest point total for UTEP at home since the Don Haskins Center opened in 1976, eclipsing its previous low of 41 set in 1980. The 35 points was also the lowest opponent point total for SFA vs a Division I team since becoming Division I itself entering the 1986-87 season, and the second-lowest opponent total overall in the Danny Kaspar era, falling just short of the 33 points allowed to Huston-Tillotson in 2007-08.
KASPAR GETS 200:Danny Kaspar closed out the 2010-11 season just one win shy of 200 for his career at Stephen F. Austin, but it did not take him long to register that win this year as the `Jacks got him the win in front of a home crowd with a season-opening, 84-43, win on Friday vs Centenary. He is already third all-time at SFA in head coaching wins, trailing only Marshall Brown (345) and Bob Shelton (245).
BELOW FIFTY: SFA held 10 opponents below 50 points last season, and have held five opponents under 50 this season, most recently allowing just 36 points to Southeastern Louisiana on Jan. 7. In 12 seasons under Danny Kaspar the Lumberjacks have held an opponent to 50 points or fewer on 56 occasions, losing just five of those games.
TOURNAMENT TEAM: Over the last four seasons, SFA is 10-5 in seven regular-season, tournament-format events. The Lumberjacks won two games at the Drake Hy-Vee Classic in 2008-09 and split a pair of contests at the Arkansas Jim Thorpe Classic later that season. In 2009, SFA swept two games each in the Etech Lumberjack Classic and the St. Mary's Shamrock Classic, then picked up two wins in the 2010 Etech Classic. The `Jacks split two games at this year's Etech Lumberjack Classic in Nacogdoches and dropped three at the Global Hoops Showcase in Eugene, Ore.
DEFENSE FIRST: The Lumberjacks led the nation in scoring defense at 56.7 points per game allowed in 2010-11. SFA has finished the year ranked among the top 10 in scoring defense in each of the last four seasons, including No. 2 rankings in 2008 and 2009. The best defensive season by a Lumberjack team in the Division I era was 2008-09, when SFA held the opposition to 56.1 points per game. This year they are right back where they have been accustomed, leading the SLC and ranking sixth in the nation in scoring defense at 54.9 points per contest.
START ME UP: The Lumberjacks saw a pair of freshmen get action in it's season-opener vs Centenary in guard Micah Delph and forward Jacob Parker; however, it was the 6-6 Parker that, despite a stat line that did not sparkle, turned the most heads. Parker found himself on the floor at the opening tip, making him the first Lumberjack freshman since Marcus Clark in 2002 to be in the starting lineup for the season opener. He started each of SFA's first five games before giving way to transfer Jonathan King.