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    MBB Game Notes: at Nicholls
    Trey Pinkney had six first-half assists in Saturday's win at Oral Roberts.
    Trey Pinkney had six first-half assists in Saturday's win at Oral Roberts.

    Feb. 13, 2013

    Game Notes In PDF Format

    SFA (20-2, 10-1 SLC) at Nicholls (6-15, 5-6 SLC)
    Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 • 7:00 p.m. (CT)
    Stopher Gym (3,800) • Thibodaux, La.
    Radio: Q107.7 FM • TV: ESPN3 • Live Stats:

    • The Lumberjacks currently hold sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference and open up with the first of four straight road games on Thursday at Nicholls, going for the season sweep of the Colonels.

    The Last Meeting
    Nicholls State49
    January 19, 2013
    Nacogdoches, Texas
    SFA Handcuffs Colonels
    Desmond Haymon had his first career double-double as one of four Lumberjacks in double figures and Stephen F. Austin ran its win streak to 11 in a row with a convincing 72-49 win over Nicholls on Saturday at William R. Johnson Coliseum.

    • Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 with Lyn Rollins providing play-by-play and former Van Chancellor on color analysis. It is the sixth of eight scheduled TV games for the ‘Jacks this season.

    • SFA maintained its sole possession of first place in the Southland Conference and secured its fifth 20-win season in the last six years with a 77-67 win over Oral Roberts on Saturday in front of 4,377 people at the William R. Johnson Coliseum. Taylor Smith paced four Lumberjacks in double figures with 21 points to go along with seven rebounds in playing all 40 minutes of the game. The `Jacks were efficient throughout the night offensively, shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, including hitting six of 13 triples. Each of them was needed as ORU canned six three-point buckets themselves, including three from the league’s leading scorer, Warren Niles, who finished with 19 points, all in the second half. 

    • SFA rounds out its trek through southern Louisiana when it takes on Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday at the University Center in Hammond. The ‘Jacks follow that up with a rivalry game at Sam Houston State the following Wednesday before traveling west for its BracketBusters matchup at Long Beach State on Feb. 23, a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

    • The Lumberjacks will be looking to extend their streak of 54 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 21 games of this season.

    • SFA’s 11-game win streak came to an end at Northwestern State. At the time it was the second-longest active win streak in the country. The ‘Jacks have also won 15 games in a row at William R. Johnson Coliseum, a mark tied for sixth 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 vs McNeese St., moving past Matt Kingsley (102)

    • SFA is 34-7 since the the beginning of the 2011 calendar year.

    • The Lumberjacks enter Thursday's game averaging just 49.7 points allowed per game, the lowest mark in the country. No team in the nation has ended the year allowing an average of less than 50 points per game since the 1992-93 Princeton Tigers.

    Series Notes
    The ‘Jacks picked up a 23-point win over the Colonels in its first meeting this season, but had lost three straight in Thibodaux before a narrow seven-point win at Stopher Gym in 2011. Before that SFA had lost a consecutive games by seven points and one in overtime, two of those in years the ‘Jacks claimed the Southland Conference title.

    SFA WITH THE ELITE: SFA dropped just its second game of the season at Northwestern State, but still ranks at the top of the country with its 20-2 record, joining Gonzaga and Duke as the only three teams in teh nation with just two losses.  

    STREAK BUSTED: An 11-game win streak for SFA came to an end as well 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 15 in a row at William R. Johnson Coliseum, a streak that is tied with Missouri, and Louisiana Tech for the sixth longest home win streak in the country.

    GO WEST YOUNG MEN: As a member of the Southland Conference the Lumberjacks had an automatic tie in to this year’s Ramada BracketBusters event and learned of its opponent and destination on Monday. The ‘Jacks will head to Long Beach, Calif., for a Feb. 22 meeting with Long Beach State, the current leaders of the Big West Conference. The game will be at 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPN U the first regular season game in SFA’s history to be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

    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 22 games of 2012-13 to extend its school-record streak of sub-70 defensive performances to 54. 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.

    LEADING THE PACK: With a 20-2 record it is logical to think that the ‘Jacks have played from ahead most of this year, but it is staggering when you break it down. SFA has led at the half of 18 of its 22 games and won 18 games by double digits, but of 440 minutes played in the second half, SFA has only trailed for 23:03 of them, which is just 5.6% of all minuts played in the second period. Oddly enough, 20 of those minutes came in a road loss at A&M.

    ‘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 Northwestern State (No. 91), while Oral Roberts just missed the RPI Top 100 at 103.

    RANK AND FILE: SFA got an early Christmas present on Christmas Eve, breaking into the 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. 11 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.

    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 six teams in the country to have used the same starting five in every game. The others include: SMU, Detroit, Creighton, Arizona State, and Murray State.

    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.  Recently the ‘Jacks matched that margin in its 72-36 win over Central Arkansas on Thursday.

    SITTIN’ ON 20: The ‘Jacks picked up their 20th win of the season on Saturday when they knocked off Oral Roberts. It marks the seventh 20-win season for SFA since becoming a Division I program in 1988, all 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 28 shots in his last five games. Smith, who was a two-time league defensive player of the year at McLennan CC before coming to SFA, has 67 blocks (3.2 bpg) in 21 games of the season, surpassing Emanuel Jackson’s 61 blocks in 1999-00 as the season record in the Division I era at SFA. 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 seventh in the nation.

    FIRST HALF KNOCKOUT: As the top scoring defense in the country, the Lumberjacks have managed to hold eight of their 22 opponents to under 20 points in the first half this season, taking a lead into the break 18 times; however, SFA did itself one better 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 was 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.

    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 40 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 45.8 points per game in 12 home games this season.

    SAFE AT HOME: In 12-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 148-35 (.792) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 344-126 (.840) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA has recorded eight straight seasons and 11 campaigns in last 12 years with double-digit wins at home after its win over Nicholls pushed the ‘Jacks to 12-0 at home this season, which is the best home mark for SFA since going 15-0 at home in 2003-04.

    TAYLOR MADE: Senior post Taylor Smith scored his seventh double-double this season with 21 points and 18 rebounds in SFA’s win at McNeese State. He has been named the league’s player of the week three times after taking the award again this past week, and currently leads the nation in field-goal percentage (.704) and is tops in the SLC in blocks per game (3.1 bpg), while ranking in the top five in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg). But he has been even better in league play, avearging a double-double vs SLC teams with 17.0 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooitng .746. His seven double-doubles on the year is just one behind Oral Roberts’ Damen Bell-Holter 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, its 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 two wins over Oral Roberts (61-50, and 77-67) this season, by an average margin of victory of 9.75 points.

    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 18-0 this year when leading at midway point.

    VOTES OF CONFIDENCE: After two weeks without a vote, the ‘Jacks once again received a pair of votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll released on February 11. It was the the second time this year SFA has received votes in the poll, and the first year 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. 2 in this week’s UPS TPI report.

    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 20-2 record after 22 games, SFA is tops in the SLC in defending the three-point line, allowing its opponents to hit just 26.9 percent of its threes.

    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 49.7 points per game through its first 22 contests, holding 15 of its opponents below 60 points. No team in the country has managed to average allowing less than 50 points per game since the 1992-93 Princeton Tigers.

    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. 11, senior Taylor Smith currently sports a .704 field goal percentage, which leads the nation, while Hal Bateman’s 6.1 assists per game ranks 18th 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 (8.9 rpg) and is tops in the league in rebound margin by a wide gap, pulling down 8.0 rebounds per contest more than its opponent.

    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 238, trailing only Marshall Brown (345) and Bob Shelton (245). With nine 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.

    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 11 times since 2007-08 the ‘Jacks have kept an opponent under 40 points.

    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 16th in the nation and leads the Southland Conference with 6.1 assists per game. The school record at SFA is 6.3 set by Winston Harrison in 1981-82.