'Jacks Continue NCAA Tournament Run With UCLA
March 22, 2014
• The Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team captured the attention of the entire U.S. on Friday, Mar. 21, upsetting fifth-seeded VCU 77-75 in overtime on TruTV, the program’s first victory in the NCAA Tournament. The Lumberjacks advance to the third round of the big dance and will take on fourth-seeded UCLA on Sunday on TBS at 6:10 p.m. (CT).
• SFA opened defense of its 2013 Southland Conference title and never let up, going 15-0 in league play to clinch the 2014 outright championship with three games remaining. The ‘Jacks then followed with three victories to close the conference season 18-0 and picked up two more to in the conference tournament to claim the tournament title and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
• SFA became the first Southland team to win 29 games in the regular season and then became the first 30-plus win team in Southland Conference history with two win in Katy, host site of the league’s tournament, and one in the NCAA Tournament. The 29 wins matched the 1985 Louisiana Tech team that finished 29-3 after reaching the “Sweet 16.” The ‘Jacks finished a perfect 15-0 at home for a second consecutive year, running its home-court win streak to 33 games which is tied with No. 6/8 Duke for the best in Division I. The team’s 28-game overall win streak obliterated the former conference record of 19 set by Louisiana Tech in 1992-93 & 1993-94 and ranks second in the nation, behind only No. 2 Wichita State. SFA leads the nation with 14 road wins, 17 including neutral site, this season and their current 12-game road win streak is also tied with Wichita St. for the national lead.
The Last Time Out
Entering NCAA Tournament
‘JACKS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: SFA is be making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first in the third round. The Lumberjacks, who advanced passed VCU 77-75 in overtime on Friday, are 1-1 all-time in the big dance, falling 59-44 to Syracuse in 2009 in Miami.
SFA VS. UCLA: The postseason meeting with UCLA and the Lumberjacks will be the second-ever meeting between the two teams on the hardwood. The winner of Sunday’s match-up will advance to the Sweet 16. The two teams met in the 1995-96 season, with the Bruins taking a 109-88 victory.
ON TBS: The third round in San Diego will be broadcast on TBS on Sunday, Mar. 23, at 6:10 p.m., CT. Andrew Catalon will be on the call, joined by Mike Gminski (color) and Otis Livingston (sideline).
SUCCESS IN KATY: Since the Southland Conference Tournament moved to Katy, Texas, for the 2007-08 season, the Lumberjacks have seen their fare share of success. SFA is 10-5 in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, reaching the tournament finals six times, with two championships, and only bowing out after one game just once in 2011. Katy is also the site of SFA’s two SLC Tournament wins, coming in the 2009 and 2014 season when it won both as the No. 1 seed.
NCAA TOP 10 BEST STARTS: Head coach Brad Underwood, a Coach of the Year candidate according to ESPN’s Seth Greenberg, picked up his 28th win at the helm in a 83-72 victory over Oral Roberts (Mar. 6) to crack into the NCAA’s top 10 best career starts. Underwood, with four more wins, is now in sole possession of third in the NCAA’s top 10 best career starts at the Division I level. Underwood passed Steve Prohm (Murray State - 31-2, 2012) and Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh - 31-5, 2004) with the won over VCU. Bill Guthridge recorded the best head coaching start, finishing 34-4 at North Carolina in 1998 (see page 5 for complete list).
ALL-SLC TOURNAMENT: After clinching the Southland Conference Tournament championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, SFA had two players recognized for their efforts in Katy. Sophomore Thomas Walkup was named the tournament MVP and senior Desmond Haymon joined him on the all-tourney squad.
ALL-DISTRICT: Junior forward Jacob Parker was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District VII team announced Tuesday, Mar. 11, based on voting from its national membership of 900-plus. Then 24 hours later the Bixby, Okla., native was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 23 first team. Senior Desmond Haymon also pocked up an all-district honor from the NABC, garnering second team honors. Players named to the NABC all-district teams are automatically eligible for All-America honors.
PARKER NAMED SLC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior forward Jacob Parker was been named the 2013-14 Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors, the conference office announced Monday, Mar. 10, in conjunction with the release of the all-conference basketball teams. Parker helped lead the Lumberjacks to their second consecutive Southland regular-season championship and their fourth overall in program history. The forward from Bixby, Okla. (Bixby H.S.), finished the regular season averaging 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds to pace SFA. Parker is the fourth ‘Jack to win the award and is the second consecutive winner for SFA. Taylor Smith won the award last season, while Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley won the award in consecutive seasons in 2008 and 2009.
UNDERWOOD NAMED SLC COACH OF THE YEAR: First-year head coach Brad Underwood took home SFA’s second consecutive coach of the year award. SFA finished the regular season 29-2 record and undefeated in league play at 18-0. Underwood’s squad became the first in the Southland to navigate a perfect 18-game schedule and is the first undefeated league champion since Arkansas State in 1967. No team in the league’s 51-year history had gone undefeated in more than an eight-game schedule. Under Underwood’s tutelage, the Lumberjacks became the first Southland team to win 29 games in the regular season, matching the 1985 Louisiana Tech team that finished 29-3 after reaching the Sweet 16. Underwood follows former SFA coach Danny Kaspar, who won the award last season, and is the fourth Lumberjack recipient of the honor. Kaspar was a two-time Southland coach of the year (2008 and 2013) and Ned Fowler claimed the honor in 1991.
ALL-SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE: SFA led all schools with three selections - one each team - to the All-Southland Conference teams. Junior forward Jacob Parker was tabbed the SLC Player of the Year and was named to the first team, while guards Desmond Haymon and Thomas Walkup picked up second and third team honors, respectively. Walkup was also named the league’s all-defensive team. The conference honors are the first for all three players.
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: After 11 weeks without a vote, SFA received one vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll released on Jan. 20. It was the first time this season and second in the last two years in which the ‘Jacks received votes in the poll. SFA received its first votes, receiving three, in the AP Top 25 entering Week 15. The ‘Jacks received votes in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll last season for the first time since getting votes in both the AP and Coaches Polls during its 2007-08 SLC title season. Entering Week 20, SFA is receiving 46 points in the AP and 13 in the Coaches Poll.
MID-MAJOR TOP 25: SFA currently checks in at No. 2 for a fourth straight week in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, its highest-ever in program history. The ‘Jacks are and remain to be the only Southland Conference school to make an appearance in the poll this year. The last time SFA was in the poll was the 2012-13 season, reaching as high as No. 5 prior to the NIT, its previous benchmark. The ‘Jacks ranked fifth in final SB Nation Mid-Major Madness Power 15 Poll of the regular season.
RPI: Except for one week this season, SFA’s RPI has ranked in the top 100 in the country. The Lumberjacks enter the week at 57, their highest RPI mark, surpassing the old mark of 69.
PERFECT IN CONFERENCE: With the win over Central Arkansas in the season finale, SFA closed out the season out their conference schedule undefeated for just the third time in program history. The ‘Jacks finished the season 18-0 in conference to become the third team to do so this season, joining No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Wichita State and just the 18th team to go unbeaten in a league schedule of 18 games or more in NCAA history. SFA also finished 18-0 (29-1 overall) in the Lone Star Conference in 1969-70 and 10-0 (22-8 overall) in the Gulf Star Conference in 1886-87 (see page 5 for complete list).
32 WINS & COUNTING: With the win over VCU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, SFA extended it record of most wins in the Division I era to 32, also becoming the first Southland Conference member in the league’s 51-year history to eclipse 30-plus wins in a single season. The previous mark by the ‘Jacks was 26 regular season wins in 2012-13. SFA also tied its most wins in a single season, joining the 1971-72 squad that finished 31-3.
MOST VICTORIES IN SLC HISTORY: SFA, at 18-0 and 29-2 overall set two new Southland Conference records with their 85-61 win over UCA in the season finale. The ‘Jacks become the first in the SLC to win 18 conference games in a single season and are also the first program to record 29 wins the regular season. SFA’s 29 wins ties for the most in conference history, joining the 1984-85 Louisiana Tech team that went 29-3 with an appearance in the Sweet 16. The ‘Jacks have also won a league record 23 consecutive conference games dating back the 2012-13 season.
ALL-TIME WINNINGEST PLAYERS: Senior Desmond Haymon became SFA’s all-time winningest player in the Division I era, in a 75-62 victory over Southeastern Louisiana Haymon passed Eddie Williams (91) with his 92nd victory of his career and added two more to close the regular season at 94 victories (now at 96). Seniors Nikola Gajic and Deshaunt Walker became SFA’s two all-time winningest players in a two-year span with an 85-78 victory over Northwestern State in Katy. The two picked up their 58th win (27 - 2012-13; 31 - 2013-14) in their Lumberjack career. Gajic and Walker passed the mark set between the 1971-72 (31-3) and 1972-73 (25-3) campaigns with an 85-61 win over Central Arkansas in the regular season finale and senior night. In the win over UCA, Gajic and Walker also became the first two players in program history to close their careers undefeated at home.
INSIDE WILLIAM R. JOHNSON COLISEUM: Stephen F. Austin closed the regular season with a share of the nation’s longest active home court win streak at 33 games. Both SFA and then No. 4 Duke picked up its 33rd victory on Mar. 8. The ‘Jacks, 15-0 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum this season, went all of the 2012-13 season without dropping a match at home en route to the Southland Conference regular season title. The last loss for the ‘Jacks at home came against UT-Arlington (2/15/12) in the 2011-12 season.
SAFE AT HOME: In 13 seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar and already 31 games under first-year head coach Brad Underwood, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 166-35 (.826) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 360-126 (.745) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA has recorded nine-straight seasons and 12 campaigns in the last 13 years with double-digit wins at home. The ‘Jacks finished undefeated at home for a third time in program history and for second consecutive season with a 85-61 win over Central Arkansas in the season finals. SFA also finished 15-0 at home last season and in the 2003-04 season.
ROAD WARRIORS: With the win at Southeastern Louisiana, SFA closed its Southland Conference road slate undefeated at 9-0, the first time the `Jacks have done so in the Division I era. The last conference team that was truly recognized for going undefeated on the road was Arkansas State in 1966-67 when it was 8-0 SLC and 4-0 on road. In 1972-73 Louisiana-Lafayette finished 6-0 (12-0 SLC), but all wins were later forfeited due to NCAA sanctions. Louisiana Tech is listed as 8-0 in league play in 1971-72, but it technically was 6-2 in conference and 3-1 on the road. It was later awarded two league wins (one road win) when ULL forfeited all eight-league games that season.
SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: SFA clinched its second consecutive outright Southland Conference championship and first under head coach Brad Underwood in its 103-63 victory at New Orleans. The ‘Jacks scored 100 points for the first time since they did so against Howard Payne in 2010 and the first against a league opponent since dropping 110 against Texas-Arlington in the 1994-95 season.
HIGHLIGHT REEL: Tied 68-68 in the waning seconds, junior Jacob Parker stole a Northwestern State pass and sealed the 22nd-straight victory for the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team with a dunk with 0.3 seconds remaining in a 70-68 win over Northwestern State on Saturday night in front of a near-capacity crowd of 7,148 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. The play was No. 3 on Sportcenter’s Top 10 that night, featured in Sportcenter’s fantastic finishes and the No. 2 play on Fox Sport 1’s top plays of the night.
1,000 POINTS: Senior guard Desmond Haymon, 28 points shy of 1,000, dropped 30 points against Lamar (2/13/14) to go over the four-digit mark to be come SFA’s most recent member of the 1,000-point club. Haymon currently sits with 1,142 points in his career.
FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS: Already with 32 wins at the helm of the Lumberjacks, head coach Brad Underwood is the program’s all-time winningest head coach in their first year at SFA. With the 74-58 victory at Northwestern State (Jan. 16), Underwood passed Glen Rose (1948) and John O. Stephens (1952), who both recorded 15 wins back in their respective first seasons.
WALKUP NAMED SLC POW: Sophomore guard Thomas Walkup was named the Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league office announced after playing a pivotal role in keeping the Lumberjacks unbeaten in league play. Walkup recorded a career-high 27 points, the margin of SFA’s 77-50 victory at Houston Baptist, finishing 11-of-13 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line Thursday night. The native of Pasadena, Texas (Deer Park H.S.), then followed with the first double-double of his career, with 21 points and 10 rebounds, in a 80-70 victory at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi on Saturday. Walkup finished 7-of-13 from the floor with two made three-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws along with his 10 boards.
SOUTHLAND OPENERS: SFA’s 85-65 win over Lamar marked its third-straight Southland Conference opening victory. SFA, 1-0 in league openers and in league home openers under first-year head coach Brad Underwood, were 7-6 in openers under Danny Kaspar. The ‘Jacks were also 4-1 under Kaspar in Southland openers at home and 3-5 in league road openers.
HAYMON’S HEROICS: Senior guard Desmond Haymon’s 36 points against Cal State Northridge mark the second time a ‘Jack has scored 30-plus this season and is the first for an SFA player at home since Jereal Scott dropped 30 against Texas College (12/17/11) in the 2011-12 season. It is also the first time a ‘Jack has scored more than 35 points in a game since 2004. Haymon finished 12-of-17 from the floor, draining four shots from beyond the arc, and 8-of-13 from the charity stripe. Of his 36 points, 30 of those came in the second half. In the second half, the native of Pickens, Miss., shot 10-of-13 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.
WALKER NAMED SLC POW: Senior guard Deshaunt Walker was been named the Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league office announced after leading the Lumberjacks with 22 points in 22 minutes off the bench in a 87-53 statement road victory at North Texas on Dec. 15 inside the Super Pit. The native from Silver Springs, Md. (Spring Brook H.S.) was an efficient 7-of-9 from the field, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, and made all three of his free throws. He finished two points shy of his career-high while also adding three assists and a steal.
HAYMON NAMED SLC POW: Senior guard Desmond Haymon was named the Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after helping Stephen F. Austin to a pair of wins and being named the most valuable player of the Etech Lumberjack Classic. Haymon recorded 18 points, with 14 coming in the second half, in a 79-69 win against Towson (Dec. 6). He then followed with a game-high 21 points in win over James Madison (Dec. 7) to keep SFA unblemished at home.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR PARKER: Junior forward Jacob Parker, who went through both his freshman and sophomore year without scoring a double-double, has flourished under first-year head coach Brad Underwood’s new system. Parker, with 10 double-doubles, recorded double-doubles in four of SFA’s first seven games. The native of Bixby, Okla., has sense added five more in conference play and one in the Southland Conference Tournament championship game. He currently ranks seventh in rebounding and 12th in scoring in the Southland Conference.
PARKER NAMED SLC POW: Junior forward Jacob Parker was named the Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week after recording consecutive double-double performances and helping the Lumberjacks to a 1-1 record in the team’s first two games of the First Bank and Trust Company Roundball Showcase. Parker recorded a career-high 31 points and 11 rebounds in SFA’s come-from-behind 80-73 victory over Marshall in overtime (Nov. 21). Parker’s 31 points marks the first time a ‘Jack has scored 30 points or more since Jereal Scott put up 30 against Wiley College in 2011. The native from Bixby, Okla., followed up with 19 points and a career-high with 12 boards against East Tennessee State (Nov. 23).
SFA SPOILS HOME DEBUT FOR KASPAR: Sophomore Thomas Walkup recorded a career-high 14 points and junior Jacob Parker recorded the first double-double of his career, as the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team knocked off Texas State 64-57 to spoil the debut of former head coach Danny Kaspar Tuesday (Nov. 12) night inside Strahan Coliseum. In his 13 years in Nacogdoches, Kaspar posted a 246-141 (.636) overall record and guided the ‘Jacks to seven 20-win seasons, three Southland Conference regular-season titles, two NIT appearances and a berth in the 2009 NCAA Championship tournament.
UNDERWOOD WINS DEBUT: Junior Jacob Parker and senior Nikola Gajic both recorded career-highs and the Stephen F. Austin men’s basketball team placed three Lumberjacks in double-figures, as head coach Brad Underwood picked up his first win at the helm in a 90-64 victory over UT-Tyler Friday, Nov. 8 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. The win comes one week after SFA beat Arkansas Tech in its exhibition opener on Nov. 1.
SFA PICKED THIRD/FOURTH IN SLC POLLS: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team was picked third and fourth in the Southland Conference preseason polls conducted by coaches and sports information directors, league officials announced Wednesday morning. SFA, the defending 2012-13 SLC regular season champion, was picked fourth in the coaches’ poll and in a two-way tie with Sam Houston State in the SID poll, receiving one first place vote.
HAYMON, PARKER NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-SLC TEAMS: Senior Desmond Haymon and junior Jacob Parker were each named to the preseason All-Southland Conference teams for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team, conference officials announced on Wednesday. Haymon was SFA’s lone representative on the preseason first team, while Parker earned second team recognition.
UNDERWOOD NAMED HEAD COACH: Brad Underwood was named the 11th head coach of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball program on April 23, SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Record in NCAA Tourney: SFA is 1-1
Last time in NCAA Tournament - (2013-14 Season - Mar. 21, 2013, San Diego, Cailf.)