NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton was the color commentator on ESPN2 for the SFA/Stanford NIT game on March 20, 2012.
July 29, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Now that the school year is over, and before we begin the 2013-14 academic year, SFA athletics wanted to take a look back at the Top 25 Moments from the 2012-13 season.
After a grueling loss to Northwestern State in the Southland Conference Tournament title game, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball quickly turned their attention towards the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and a quick turnaround to Palo Alto, CA for a showdown with the Stanford Cardinal.
SFA (27-5), who was the No. 5 seed in the region, nearly pulled off the upset but Desmond Haymon's jumper just before the buzzer fell short and the Cardinal put an end to one of the most historic seasons in SFA history by escaping the Lumberjacks, 58-57 at Maples Pavilion.
The game, which was aired on ESPN2, was SFA's second ever appearance in the NIT and was a program-best 11th televised game this year and featured seven lead changes. The `Jacks held a 32-31 lead at the half, and closed the game scoring seven of the game's final 10 points, but despite making one more field goal than the Cardinal and canning 10 of 12 foul shots, Stanford's seven triples was just too much.
Taylor Smith was nearly unstoppable in the game's opening minutes and finished with a game-high 18 points on seven of nine shooting from the floor to go with seven boards and a block.
Antonio Bostic added 15 points, including six points in the second half before leaving late in the game with a shoulder injury, and Hal Bateman had 12 points and seven dimes, hitting all six of his foul shots.
All was not lost on this March 20 night on the West Coast. Despite another heartbreaking loss for the 'Jacks, a national audience on ESPN2 was treated to not only a scrappy effort from an undersized SFA team, but also heard the pouring admiration from NBA Hall of Famer and color commentator Bill Walton.
The UCLA legend had nothing but glowing remarks for the 'Jacks and the Southland Conference and left many to believe it was an SFA broadcast. Below are just a few of Walton's one-liners that stood out.
(On Taylor Smith)
Taylor Smith's anticipation. He's not a tall guy. Maybe 6'6″. Got really long arms. Got really powerful broad shoulders. Fabulous footwork ... But that posture he has, that regal center, yeah! `I'm Paul Bunyon! I'm coming to California to chop these trees down!"
(On Stephen F. Austin)
"All the way from Texas, they have come here to take down the California tree and it has worked magnificently!"
(On a Taylor Smith dunk)
"Throw it down, big man! Big time! Chop it down!"
(On Nacogdoches, Texas)
"So much going on there in Nacogdoches! Oh my gosh! Don Henley! Started his dream right there so many years ago! Don Henley, one of the most brilliant songwriters, musicians, performers ever! Now with The Eagles, along with Joe Walsh, Glenn Frye, Timothy Schmidt! They have a fabulous documentary on them right now, `The History of The Eagles.' The Eagles are playing this Saturday night, the 23rd at the MGM Grand where we just were for the Pac-12 Conference. The Age of Innocence is over! Oh my gosh! Hotel California! Thank you, Don Henley! Thank you, Glen, Joe, Timothy! Incredible contribution here!"
(As SFA kept the ball game close late)
"This is where dreams come true, where legends are made!"
Keep checking back with sfajacks.com for more SFA Top 25 Moments.
No. 6 - Lumberjacks win third-ever SLC men's all-sports trophy
No. 7 - Cross Country/Track and Field wins Southland triple crown
No. 8 - Football keeps the Chief for a fourth-straight season
No. 9 - Men's indoor track and field rallies in final three events to win SLC crown
No. 10 - Randi Plentl/Danielle Burchett make late race passes to lock up SLC title
No. 11 - Lumberjacks snap Sooners 36-game non-conference home winning streak
No. 12 - Mitchell McLeroy fires seven-under 65 at Crown Classic
No. 13 - Chase Greening's near no-hitter against McNeese State
No. 14 - Track and Field Coach Phil Olson Sweeps SLC Coach of the Year Honors
No. 15 - Cordell Roberson has record-setting day against rivals
No. 16 - Ladyjack soccer sets single-season record with 17 wins
No. 17 - Track and field sends program record nine athletes to NCAA Championship meets
No. 18 - Lumberjack baseball plays under lights for first time since 1995, Greening K's 17
No. 19 - Men's hoops holds McNeese St. to nine first-half points
No. 20 - Ladyjacks win critical double-overtime battle at Southeastern Louisiana
No. 21 - Bowling Finishes Season Ranked No. 9 In The Nation
No. 22 - Volleyball Takes Down Indiana For First-Ever Big 10 Victory
No. 23 - Ladyjack Golf Fires Record Round At Onion Creek
No. 24 - Softball Defeats Nationally Ranked North Carolina
No. 25 - Ladyjack Tennis Rallies To Beat Nationally Ranked Foe