SFA has won each of its last four games heading into Saturday's regular-season finale.
March 2, 2012
Game Notes in PDF Format
Stephen F. Austin vs Northwestern State
March 3, 2012 • 6:00 p.m. CT
William R. Johnson Coliseum (7,203) • Nacogdoches, Texas
Radio: Q107.7 FM • TV: None • Online: www.sfajacks.com
Record: 18-11 (11-4)
Last 5/Streak: 4-1/W4
Coach: Danny Kaspar
At SFA: 217-135
SID: Ben Rikard
Record: 16-14 (8-7)
Last 5/Streak: 2-3/W1
Coach: Mike McConathy
At NWLA: 200-202
SID: Doug Ireland
GAME TIME: The Lumberjacks will look to wrap up the No. 2 overall seed in the upcoming Southland Conference Tournament and finish the regular season on a five-game win streak when it hosts Northwestern State in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
LAST GAME: Three Lumberjacks finished in double figures and Stephen F. Austin moved into sole possession of second place in the Southland Conference with a 58-47 win over Sam Houston State on Wednesday at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum. The `Jacks closed out its first sweep of the Bearkats since the 2003-04 campaign and were paced by 14 points Darius Gardner. SFA continued to shoot well from the field, following up its season-best shooting night on Saturday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by hitting 20 of its 41 shots (48.8 percent) on Wednesday, including 63.2 percent in the opening half. Desmond Haymon and Taylor Smith each joined Gardner in double figures with 12 points apiece, while Haymon led all players on the glass with eight rebounds. Gardner added to his night with a trio of assists and a pair of rebounds while Antonio Bostic dished out five assists on the night in playing all 40 minutes once again for SFA. Three of Gardner’s long-distance buckets came in the opening half with his nine points proving to be the difference in SFA’s 29-20 edge at the break. Still, the `Jacks got six points from Smith in outscoring Sam Houston 14-6 in the paint in shooting 63.2 percent in the game’s opening period.
THE DEMONS: The Demons put an end to their five-game conference losing streak in a loud way on Wednesday when the knocked down 11 triples and blasted Nicholls, 92-61, in their home finale. They were near the top of the SLC standings with a 7-2 record midway through the season before their recent skid, winning just the bracket their Bracket Busters game vs Campbell in the last three weeks. The Demons are fifth in the SLC in scoring with 71.3 points per game and sport one of the most well-rounded players in the league in senior post William Mosley, who is averaging 11.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game this season.
vs. Northwestern State: SFA trails the all-time series vs Northwestern State 60-50, and had won four straight in the series before the Demons’ win last year over the ‘Jacks. SFA is 10-10 vs the Demons in Danny Kaspar’s tenure as head coach.
COVERAGE: Saturday’s game can be viewed via SFA Alll-Access at www.sfajacks.com
UP NEXT: The ‘Jacks open up the Southland Conference Tournament on Wednesday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas. SFA will not know neither its opponent, nor its game time until seeding is finalized following Saturday’s league results.
SUB-SEVENTY: SFA has held each of its first 29 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. The last team to score 70 on the ‘Jacks -- Saturday’s opponent, Northwestern State, when they did so in a 70-65 win over SFA last year in Natchitoches.
TOURNAMENT SCENARIOS: SFA enters Saturday night with a magic number of just one to clinch the No. 2 overall seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament. The ‘Jacks could clinch the seed on its own with a win over the Demons, or could still claim it should Lamar knock off McNeese State in Beaumont. Should the ‘Jacks fall to the Demons and the Cowboys beat Lamar, SFA would be the No. 3 seed in the tournament and would be matched up once again with Northwestern State who has already locked up the tournament’s No. 6 seed.
TAYLOR MADE: Junior post Taylor Smith went 6-for-9 in Wednesday’s win over Sam Houston State, and leads the Southland with a league-leading field goal percentage of .714, with the next closest to him being Sam Houston’s Steven Werner, a former teammate of Smith at McLennan CC. 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).
SENIOR NIGHT FOR SCOTT: Senior Jereal Scott will be playing his final game at William R. Johnson Coliseum on Saturday, one that will be remembered at SFA. He needs just 11 more points to tie Marcus Clark for fifth at SFA in points scored in the Division I era, after he already became the eighth player int the D1 era at SFA to eclipse the 1,000- point plateau earlier this season.
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 17 straight home wins against the East. SFA is 20-1 at home against East Division teams, and has a 32-8 overall mark against teams in that division.
BLOCK PARTY: With 10 rejections in its win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the ‘Jacks matched its highest single-game block total since 2007, thanks in large part to big man Taylor Smith. The 6-6 junior swatted away a career-best seven Islander shots in the gam, setting a new high-water mark for single-game blocks by a Lumberjack 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 14 games at home this year SFA is allowing just 53.1 points per game, including just 36 points to Southeastern Louisiana and UT-Tyler.
AN “A” FOR EFFICIENCY: It was hard to have a better night offensively than SFA had on Saturday vs Texas A&M-Corpus Chrisit, especially in tne second half. SFA shot a season-high 61.1 percent from the field in the game and 79.4 percent in the second half alone. It was the highest single-game field goal percentage for the ‘Jacks since they shot 63.0 percent vs Jackson State in 2007, and just the second time since 2006 that it has shot at least 75.0 percent for a half.
A DOUBLE DOUBLE-DOUBLE: The ‘Jacks had just four double-doubles on the year entering Saturday after totaling 12 in 2010-11. SFA added two double-doubles to that total vs Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as Jonathan King had 14 points and a career-best 10 rebounds and Taylor Smith flirted with the first SFA triple-double since 1973, picking up 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.
LOW-BALLED: SFA held Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to just 41 points in it’s win over the Islanders on Saturday, 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 12 years under Danny Kaspar, the ’Jacks have held the opposition below 50 points 57 times and lost only five times.
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 16-1 this season when taking a lead into the half. Conversely, SFA is 1-10 when trailing at the half with its lone come-from-behind win being at Texas State to open league play. The only loss in that stretch came on Feb. 15 when it squandered a 13-point halftime lead to league-leading UT Arlington.
CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS: SFA may not have a single player in the Southland Conference top 10 in rebounding, with Taylor Smith’s 6.0 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 +7.0 rebound margin through 27 games with Lamar a distant second, ranking SFA 11th in the nation in that category. Of SFA’s 28 opponents, only three have managed to pull down more rebounds than the ‘Jacks - most recently McNeese State in Sunday’s loss. It is the only time in 14 league games SFA had been outrebounded.
SAFE AT HOME: In 10-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 136-35 (.794) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 332-126 (.724) all-time in the Coliseum. Its win over High Point gave SFA ist 10th home victory this season, meaning SFA has now recorded seven straight seasons and nine campaigns in last 10 years with double-digit wins at home.
45-MINUTE MAN: In both of SFA’s overtime wins over Sam Houston State and Nicholls, 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 each 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. He has played at least 40 minutes in seven of his last nine games and is third in the league in minutes per game with 33.9.
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 fourth in the nation in scoring defense at 54.8 ppg
DISTANCE LEARNING: Despite ranking at the bottom of the SLC in 3-point shooting, the ‘Jacks have been better from distance since entering league play. SFA is shooting at a 32.0 percent clip, including hitting a season high eight triples on 17 tries in its win at UTSA.
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.
BOUNCING BACK: SFA is 14-6 over the last two seasons in games following a loss. Over the last five seasons, the ’Jacks are 25-0 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.
HELPFUL HAND: SFA dished out 24 assists in its win over High Point, with 10 of those coming from junior guard Antonio Bostic. The junior’s previous career high in assists was just five going into the game, and he became the first ‘Jack to hit double figures in assists since Eric Bell had 11 dimes in a win at Northern Illinois on Nov. 24, 2007. Bostic also totaled 11 points in his effort, giving him his first career double-double.
EXTRA SPECIAL: The ‘Jacks are 2-0 in overtime games this season after knocking off Nicholls in OT, making SFA 6-1 in its last seven overtime games dating back through the 2008-09 season. Despite the extra five minutes, SFA was still able to hold the Colonels to just 58 points to mark the fourth time since the 1983-84 season that the ‘Jacks have held a team under 60 points in an overtime game.
FIVE & DIMES: As part of SFA’s efficient night on the offensive end vs Texas State, the ‘Jacks also got plenty of help from multiple sources. That includes three ‘Jacks with at least five assists apiece as part of SFA’s 21 total assists against the ‘Cats. Hal Bateman (6), Antonio Bostic (5) and Darius Gardner (5) each had at least five assists, marking the first time an SFA team had three players with at least five dimes in the same game since Feb. 16 1998 when David Henry (6), Tysmon Jolivett (6) and Aaron Radl (5) pulled it off in a three-point loss to Nicholls
HOMEWRECKERS: Of SFA’s six wins away from Johnson Coliseum this season, 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.
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.
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.
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. Oddly enough, teammate Taylor Smith did him one better on Saturday vs High Point when he went a perfect 8-for-8 vs the Panthers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.