MBB Game Notes: at Lamar

SFA tips off at 6:00 p.m. in Beaumont on Saturday vs Lamar.

Feb. 1, 2013

Game Notes In PDF Format

SFA (17-2, 8-1 SLC) at Lamar (2-19, 0-9 SLC)
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 • 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Montagne Center (10,800) • Beaumont, Texas
Radio: Q107.7 FM • Video: www.LamarCardinals.com • Live Stats: www.LamarCardinals.com

• SFA rebounded from seeing its 11-game win streak and perfect conference come to an end on Saturday vs Northwestern State with a defense-driven 59-39 win over McNeese State on Wednesday in Lake Charles. The win keeps the ‘Jacks still in the driver’s seat of conference race at the midway point. SFA will try and maintain that advantage on Saturday when it travels to Beaumont, looking for the season sweep of the Cardinals.

The Last Meeting
January 3, 2013
Nacogdoches, Texas
`Jacks Steamroll Cardinals
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forced a season high 29 turnovers and built a 30-point halftime advantage before finishing off Lamar, 79-43, on Thursday night at the William R. Johnson Coliseum.

• The ‘Jacks can complete season sweep of Lamar with a winon the road on Saturday, 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.

• Taylor Smith became the all-time leading shot blocker at SFA and picked up his league-leading seventh double-double of the year with 21 points and 18 rebounds and the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks rebounded from its first loss of the season to pick up a 59-39 win over McNeese State at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Smith, who had six blocks and hit 11 of 15 foul shots on the night, just missed becoming the first Lumberjack since 1994 to register 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Instead, his 18 boards and 11 made foul shots were both career highs, and his six rejections gave him 102 for his career, moving him past Matt Kingsley for first in career blocked shots. 

• The ‘Jacks return home for a meeting with Cenral Arkansas before a TV game vs Oral Roberts on February 9th. SFA will then be tested on the road with four straight games away from home.

• The Lumberjacks will be looking to extend their streak of 51 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 19 games of this season

• SFA’s 11-game win streak came to an end on Saturday at Northwestern State. 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.

Taylor Smith became SFA’s all-time shot blocker on Wednessday, moving past Matt Kingsley (102).

• SFA is 31-7 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 picked up its biggest margin of victory in an SLC game in program history when it defeated the Cardinals by 36 points in its first meeting this season on Jan. 5 in Nacogdoches. The teams split last year’s two meetings with SFA winning by 10 points in Beaumont in the regular season before Lamar eliminated No. 2 SFA in the SLC Tournament semifinals, 55-44, on the way to capturing the tournament championship.

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. Still, SFA goes into Saturday’s game at Lamar as one of just nine teams in the nation with two or less losses.

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 51. 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.

CARDINAL RULE: SFA had no issues with downing Lamar in its first meeting this season, 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.

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 nine teams in the country to have used the same starting five in every game. The others include: Syracuse, SMU, Detroit, 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 three wins away from its seventh. All six of those 20-win seasons have come under Danny Kaspar.

TOP OF THE WALL: Taylor Smith has been outstanding as SFA’s last wall of defense this year, and the numbers are showing just that. The senior has rejected six shots in each of his last four 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 60 blocks (3.2 bpg) in 19 games of the season and is just one block shy of 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 3.2 blocks per game currently ranks first in the league and eighth in the nation.

FIRST HALF KNOCKOUT: As the top scoring defense in the country, the Lumberjacks have managed to hold eight of their 19 opponents to under 20 points in the first half this season, taking a lead into the break 15 times; however, SFA did itself one better on Wednesday at McNeese State, holding the Cowboys to just nine points in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 26-9 halftime lead. The nine points scored is the first time an SFA team has held an opponent to single digits in a half since Central Arkansas scored just seven points in a win in Nacogdoches during the 2008-09 season. That mark is tied for the fourth-lowest first-half total in the country this year.

TAYLOR MADE: Senior post Taylor Smith has scored his seventh double-double this season on Saturday with 21 points and 18 rebounds in SFA’s win at McNeese State. He has been named the league’s player of the week twice, and currently leads the Southland in both field-goal percentage (.689) and blocks per game (3.2 bpg), while ranking in the top five in scoring (15.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg). His seven 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.

‘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.

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.

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.

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 15-0 this year when leading at midway point.

DEFENDING THE ARC: A year ago the ‘Jacks allowed opponents to hit 33.3 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 17-2 record after 19 games, SFA is tops in the SLC in defending the three-point line, allowing its opponents to hit just 27.0 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 49.4 points per game through its first 19 contests, holding 13 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 Feb. 1, senior Taylor Smith currently sports a .689 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 (9.2 rpg) and is tops in the league in rebound margin by a wide gap, pulling down 8.4 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 236, trailing only Marshall Brown (345) and Bob Shelton (245). With 12 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.

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.

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.

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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