Feb. 20, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
Southeastern Louisiana at SFA
Saturday, February 20, 2009 6:00 p.m.
William R. Johnson Coliseum (7,200) Nacogdoches, Texas
Radio: Q107.7 FM Television: None Internet: Yahoo! Sports
Home Stretch: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team will play the first of five remaining regular-season games Saturday, when the 'Jacks host Southeastern Louisiana. SFA enters the season's home stretch as part of a four-team tie for the top spot in the Southland Conference. The Lumberjacks join Nicholls State in the East Division, along with Sam Houston State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the West with an 8-3 record in conference play. SFA is 16-7 overall. The Lions enter Saturday's game with a 9-15 season mark and a 3-8 record in league action.
Last Game: SFA shot 38.2 percent and didn't score a point over the final 3:35 in a 59-56 loss at McNeese State last Saturday. The Cowboys shot 56.4 percent from the field, a season-high for SFA opponents. The Lumberjacks built a 56-50 lead -- their biggest of the game -- on a pair of free throws by Eric Bell with 3:35 left. But McNeese got points on each of its next four possessions, and SFA committed turnovers on two of its last four touches. The Cowboys outscored SFA, 26-20, in the paint and finished with a 33-20 advantage in rebounding. Matt Kingsley led SFA with 22 points and nine rebounds. Josh Alexander added 15 points, and Girod Adams scored 10. John Pichon scored 16 points -- 14 in the second half -- and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Cowboys.
vs. Southeastern Louisiana: SFA is 21-12 all-time against the Lions. The Lumberjacks have compiled a 9-5 record against Southeastern in nine years under head coach Danny Kaspar. SFA has won six of the last 10 meetings, including three straight, and is 3-2 in the last five games. Under Kaspar, the Lumberjacks are 4-2 at home against the Lions.
The Lions: Southeastern Louisiana comes into Saturday's game trying to break out of a five-game losing streak. The Lions are fourth in the SLC East Division and 10th in the overall league standings. Saturday's game against SFA is one of two over the Lions' final five contests that pits them against a team in the top half of the conference standings.
The Coaches: SFA is led by head coach Danny Kaspar. Kaspar is in his ninth season at the helm for the Lumberjacks. He holds a record of 150-103 (.593) at SFA and has a 369-155 (.704) overall record in 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Jim Yarbrough is 58-54 (.518) in his fourth season with the Lions.
Up Next: SFA will host Texas State on Wednesday, Feb. 25, in a 7 p.m. game. The Lumberjacks will then head to Corpus Christi to take on A&M-Corpus, one of the three teams tied with SFA for the SLC lead, on Saturday.
NEWS AND NOTES
ON TARGET: McNeese State shot 56.4 percent from the field in the Cowboys' 59-56 win over SFA. That marks the best shooting percentage by a Lumberjack opponent this season and the first time in Southland Conference play for an opponent to shoot better than its season average against the 'Jacks. The last time an SFA opponent shot better than 56 percent came in the 2006-07 season, when Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hit 59.5 percent in a 70-62 win over the Lumberjacks. SFA had gone 63 straight games without allowing a foe to shoot better than 56 percent.
SHOOTING STRUGGLES: While the Cowboys were filling up the bucket at their end of the floor, SFA stumbled to a 38.2-percent effort at the other end. The Lumberjack have shot worse than 40 percent eight times this season and won only twice in those contests -- their 59-51 win at Northwestern State (35.7 percent) and their 43-41 home win over McNeese (30.2 percent).
RANK AND FILE: SFA was not ranked in the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. This marks the first time in over a year for the Lumberjacks not to appear in the poll. SFA spent 25 consecutive weeks in the poll after breaking in during December of the 2007-08 season. SFA began this season at No. 11, the first time in the poll's 10-year history for SFA to enter the season as a ranked team and the highest entry to the poll for a Lumberjack team to date. In December, SFA was ranked No. 10, marking the earliest move into the top 10 for the `Jakcs since the poll began. SFA spent a program-best 15 consecutive weeks ranked in last year's Mid-Major Top 25. The `Jacks climbed as high as No. 6, including a first-place vote, on Feb. 25 of last season, and finished the season ranked 14th.
TRIPLE-DOUBLE: For the first time in nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, three Lumberjacks pulled down double-figure rebounds. Matt Kingsley, Josh Alexander and Nick Shaw grabbed 10 boards apiece in SFA's 59-51 win at Northwestern State, as the Lumberjacks out-rebounded the Demons, 39-37.
TWENTY-SOMETHING: Josh Alexander scored a game-high 21 points at Northwestern State. He came into the game having averaged 6.5 points per game in the four previous contests. That included a string of three straight games without reaching double digits in scoring, matching the longest such run of his career. Alexander's last 20-point effort had come Dec. 12, when he dropped a season-high 24 against North Dakota State in a triple-overtime win. The 14 games between that performance and his 21-point effort at Northwestern State were one game short of tying for the longest such streak of his career, when he went 15 games between 20-point outings as a sophomore.
TEN BELOW: In 10 of 11 Southland Conference games to date, SFA has held its opposition below its season average for field goal percentage. Seven of those 10 foes have been squeezed to worse than 40 percent shooting. The 37.0 percent SFA opponents are shooting this season in conference play leads the league. Overall, the Lumberjacks pace the SLC and rank fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 37.2.
DOUBLING UP: Coming into SFA's game with Nicholls State on Jan. 17, Matt Kingsley had posted seven career double-doubles, but had never recorded double-doubles in consecutive games. He rectified that with 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Colonels to follow a 16-point, 11-rebound outing at Central Arkansas the game before. Three weeks later, Kingsley repeated the back-to-back double-double feat with 12 points and 11 boards against McNeese State, followed by 17 points and 11 rebounds in the rematch with Nicholls State. Kingsley now has 10 career double-double performances.
HIGH-LOW: December's 112-111 triple-overtime win against North Dakota State marked the most combined points (223) in a Lumberjack game in nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar. In January, SFA and McNeese combined for the fewest points in a game under Kaspar, as the Lumberjacks took a 43-41 win. SFA has played in 14 games over the last nine seasons that had a combined point total of fewer than 100 points. The 84 points against McNeese are the lowest combined total since SFA took a 43-40 win over Angelo State in the 1982 Lone Star Conference Tournament. The Lumberjack head coach in that game was Harry Miller, one of Kaspar's mentors in the coaching world.
CUTTIN' IT CLOSE: SFA's 43-41 win over McNeese State was just the fifth game this season with a final margin of two points or fewer. Only seven of the Lumberjacks' games this year have been decided by fewer than 10 points. SFA is 4-1 this season in games decided by two points or fewer. Last season, only two games had margins of two points or fewer, and SFA lost both contests.
THREE OF A KIND BEATS A FULL HOUSE?: The Lumberjacks' top three individual scorers -- Matt Kingsley, 25; Benson Akpan, 12; Eddie Williams, 11 -- in SFA's 73-45 win over Northwestern State combined to outscore the Demons, 48-45, on their own. This marks the sixth time this season and the second time in SLC play that SFA's top three scorers tied or beat the opponent's final score.
HIGHS IN THE SINGLE DIGITS: SFA held Northwestern State without a double-digit scorer in the Lumberjacks' 73-45 win, marking the second time this season SFA has posted such a performance. The `Jacks also held Jarvis Christian without a double-figure scorer.
ON THE DOWN-LOW: SFA scored a season-high 52 points in the paint against Northwestern State. The Lumberjacks are 12-1 when they score at least 28 points in the paint. SFA is outscoring the opposition down low by an average of 7.5 points per game.
SPRAINED ARCHES: SFA held Northwestern State to an 0-for-11 showing from 3-point range in their first meeting this year. That marks the first time this season for the `Jacks to hold the opposition without a 3-point field goal. The last time an SFA foe came up empty from 3-point range was the 0-for-4 performance by San Diego last season. The `Jacks have limited two opponents to one 3-pointer this season. SFA is first in the SLC and ranks 4th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 28.5.
ALL IN: All 15 SFA players touched the floor in SFA's home win over Northwestern State, marking the second time this season that every Lumberjack in uniform has seen playing time. The first came in SFA's win over Austin Peay.
ASKING FOR SECONDS: SFA pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in its 60-49 win at Southeastern Louisiana and outscored the Lions, 15-9, in second-chance points. Southeastern managed just five offensive boards, tying for the fewest given up by SFA this season. For the season, SFA holds a 231-209 edge over its opponents in offensive rebounding.
HISTORY: Senior forward Josh Alexander is already the career leader in points, rebounds and field goals in SFA's Division I era. He also ranks in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding on the all-time list. With his first bucket against Nicholls State, Alexander went over 1,500 for his career, making him the first player in SFA's Division I era and just the sixth Lumberjack all-time to record 1,500 points and 500 rebounds. Alexander has accumulated 1,601 points and 641 rebounds in four seasons.
MOVIN' ON UP: In a five-game stretch earlier this season, senior center Matt Kingsley jumped five slots on the list of career scoring leaders at SFA. He was 20th all-time heading into the Drake Hy-Vee Classic but came away from the Arkansas Jim Thorpe Classic 16th and moved into a tie for 15th with 1,151 career points following SFA's game at Texas Tech. Kingsley currently ranks 10th all-time with 1,349 career points.
BETTER HALF: SFA held Texas College to 11 points in the second half of the Lumberjacks' 83-42 win. This ties for the lowest one-half point total given up to an opponent in nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar and is the best second-half point total allowed in that time span. The `Jacks have held opposing teams below 20 points in a single half 34 times under Kaspar and are 32-2 in such contests. SFA held eight opponents under 20 points in a half during the 2007-08 campaign and has done so seven times this season.
BENCHED: The SFA bench outscored the Nicholls State reserves, 11-0, in the Lumberjacks' 55-40 home win. The Colonels' top two scorers combined for 29 points with the other three starters accounting for 11 points, but none of the four substitutes who touched the floor found the scoring column. This marks the first time this season for SFA to hold the opposition's bench scoreless.
QUADRUPLE-DOUBLE: Four different Lumberjacks reached double figures in scoring in SFA's win over Central Arkansas. That marked the seventh time this season for the Lumberjacks to accomplish that feat. SFA is 12-2 in games when at least three Lumberjacks reach double digits in scoring.
WIDE-OPENER: SFA's 75-73 win over Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference opener marked the highest combined point total of the season for a game that ended in regulation. The 73 points allowed are the most given up by SFA outside of its 112-111 triple-overtime win against North Dakota State. The game also marked the just the second time this season for the Lumberjacks to give up 60 or more points in regulation and win. SFA is now 3-4 in such situations this year.
WELL, FOR STARTERS...: Four SFA starters reached double digits in scoring, and the starting lineup accounted for all but six points in the Lumberjacks' 75-73 win over Sam Houston State. Josh Alexander played all 40 minutes -- the second time this season he's played every minute of a game -- and Nick Shaw and Eddie Williams each logged 39 minutes. The only subs to take the floor in the contest were Girod Adams, Walt Harris and Benson Akpan.
MIS-FIRE: SFA held Jarvis Christian to 22.4 percent shooting in the Lumberjacks' 69-46 win. That marks the lowest shooting percentage of the season for an SFA opponent.
BLOCK PARTY: The Lumberjacks contributed to Jarvis Christian's poor shooting by blocking a season-high 10 shots. This marks the first time in nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar for an SFA team to record double-digit blocked shots. Matt Kingsley posted a career-high five blocked shots, and Benson Akpan tied a season-best with three blocks.
SCORE!: The 93 points SFA put up in its 93-54 win over Austin Peay are the most scored in regulation by a Lumberjack team this season and the most points in regulation against a Division I opponent since SFA beat Centenary College, 94-57, in the 2005-06 campaign.
HIGH POINT: The 111 points scored by North Dakota State are the most given up by a Lumberjack team in nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar. The previous best for an opponent during the Kaspar era was the 92 scored by Arizona State in the season opener of the 2001-02 season, Kaspar's second at SFA. The 78 points the Bison scored in regulation are the most allowed by SFA in a regular-season game since the Lumberjacks beat Northern Illinois, 86-78, in 2006-07.
SCORING SPREE: The 223 combined points SFA and NDSU scored is the highest combined total in an SFA game since the Lumberjacks' 123-103 loss to San Francisco in the 1994-95 season.
LOW POINT: In eight-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, SFA has held 34 opponents to 50 points or fewer. SFA held the competition below that level nine times in 2007-08. The previous best under Kaspar was four games in a single season with fewer than 50 points. So far this season, the Lumberjacks have held eight opponents to fewer than 50 points. Five of the top nine performances for points allowed have been recorded this season.
NO SHOT: The Lumberjacks dominated Texas College in the second half of their 83-42 victory. The Steers were just 2-for-22 from the field -- both 3-pointers -- in the final 20 minutes for a second-half shooting percentage of .091. That's the lowest single-half average of the season, and it left Texas College with a .308 shooting percentage for the game, the third time in four contests an SFA opponent had shot worse than 35 percent.
SAFE AT HOME: In nine seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 98-27 (.784) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 294-118 (.714) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA defeated Howard Payne, 77-38, in the season opener. Kaspar's teams are 9-0 in home openers at SFA. The Lumberjacks are 10-0 at home this season, marking the fourth straight season and the sixth time in seven years for SFA to post double-digit wins at home.
WORKING OVERTIME: SFA's triple-overtime win against North Dakota State is the longest game in SFA's 23 years as a Division I program and the longest contest played by an SFA team since the Lumberjacks took a quadruple-overtime win against Southwestern, 101-99, in 1983. SFA is now 28-33, all-time, in overtime games. The Lumberjacks are 6-4 in their last 10 overtime contests.
REMEMBERING A LUMBERJACK LEGEND: In memory of Marshall Brown, who passed away over the summer, the Lumberjacks will wear a black band on the left shoulder of their game jerseys during the 2008-09 season. Brown coached men's basketball at SFA from 1959-1978 and is the school's all-time winningest coach with 345 career victories.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
FOR THE RECORD: Southeastern Louisiana comes into Saturday's game with a 9-15 overall record and a 6-7 mark in Southland Conference play. The Lions are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and have dropped six of their last seven decisions, dating to a 60-49 defeat in their first meeting with SFA. Southeastern's only win during that stretch was a 75-64 verdict at Central Arkansas on Jan. 28. The five-game skid is the Lions' worst of the season, but they've only been outscored by an average of 3.2 points per game during that stretch. The worst defeat in Southeastern's current losing streak was a 66-61 loss at UTSA on Feb. 7.
LAST GAME: Southeastern Louisiana is coming off a 70-66 home defeat against UT-Arlington on Wednesday. The Lions shot just 38 percent and were outscored, 44-17, in the paint. UTA outrebounded Southeastern, 43-28. The Lions trailed by seven at halftime but stayed in the game by knocking down five 3-pointers in the second half while holding UTA without a 3-point basket after halftime. Southeastern had four players in double figures -- led by 20 from center Patrick Sullivan -- but only five Lions, total, broke into the scoring column. Damon Forest's 13 points off the bench provided the only scoring by Southeastern reserves.
LAST MEETING: SFA's 60-49 win on Jan. 24 marked Southeastern Louisiana's first home loss of the season. The 49 points are a season-low for the Lions and marked the sixth time of the season -- to that point -- for SFA to hold an opponent to fewer than 50 points. The game was tight early, but SFA held Southeastern to just two field goals over the final 8:54 of the first half to turn what was a 13-13 tie into a 29-18 halftime advantage. The 'Jacks would lead by as many as 16 points in the second period. Senior Josh Alexander scored 15 points to lead SFA. Classmate Nick Shaw scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, and sophomore Eddie Williams added 10 points. Warrell Span came off the bench to lead the Lions with 14 points.
KEY NUMBERS: Southeastern's plus-3.3 points per game scoring margin ranks seventh in the SLC. The Lions are sixth in the league in both scoring offense (71.5 ppg) and scoring defense (68.2 ppg). Southeastern ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage at .473, and the Lions' 3-point shooting percentage (.350) ranks fourth in the SLC. But Southeastern allows a league-worst .358 shooting percentage from 3-point range. The Lions rank ninth in the SLC in turnover margin at minus-0.7.
LEADERS: Junior center Patrick Sullivan leads the Lions and ranks 22nd in the SLC with 12.0 points per game. Sullivan is seventh in the conference in rebounding with 6.8 boards per contest, and his .594 shooting percentage ranks second in the SLC. Sullivan is third in the league with 2.3 blocked shots per outing. Freshman guard Brandon Fortenberry is fourth in the league in assists with 4.4 dimes per game.
Click here for complete game notes in .pdf format.
-- SFA --