Howard Payne at Stephen F. Austin
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 7:00 p.m. (CST)
Johnson Coliseum (7,200) Nacogdoches, Texas
Radio: None TV: None Online: SFA All-Access
Record (last season): 23-9
Last 5/Streak: 3-2/L1
Coach: Danny Kaspar
At SFA: 181-113
SID: Brian Ross
Record (last season): 6-19
Last 5/Streak: 2-3/L3
Coach: Troy Drummond
At HPU: 13-37
SID: Abram Choate
TIP-OFF TIME: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team will tip off a season of high expectations Friday night, when SFA hosts Howard Payne. The 'Jacks are coming off a 23-9 campaign in 2009-10 that saw them finish second in the Southland Conference. SFA returns four of five starters from that squad and is picked to win the Southland in preseason polling of coaches and sports information directors.
LAST SEASON: SFA posted a third straight 20-win season a year ago and reached the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament for the fourth time in program history. SFA went 11-5 in Southland play to win the SLC East Division and finish second overall in the league race. SFA held its opposition to 59.8 points per game, finishing 10th in the nation in scoring defense. That marked the third consecutive year for the Lumberjacks to finish among the country's top 10 defensive teams. Eddie Williams was named to the Second-Team All-Southland list, and Jereal Scott earned honorable mention. Both players are back for 2010-11 and are the Lumberjacks' top two returning scorers.
THE YELLOW JACKETS: Howard Payne is coming off a 6-19 season in 2009-10 that saw the Yellow Jackets post a 6-15 record in American Southwest Conference play. Howard Payne is picked to finish sixth in ASC preseason polling. The Yellow Jackets bring back 10 players from last season, including junior guard Brandon Irwin, the ASC preseason player of the year.
vs. HOWARD PAYNE: SFA is 46-30, all-time, against the Yellow Jackets. Most of the series took place during the Lumberjacks' Division II days when both teams were members of the Lone Star Conference. Friday's meeting is just the fourth between the teams since SFA became a Division I member. All three of the previous games have come during Danny Kaspar's tenure at SFA, and the Lumberjacks have won by an average margin of 34 points.
COVERAGE: Friday's game will be available via SFA All-Access on SFAJacks.com. Rob Meyers has the play-by-play call.
UP NEXT: The Lumberjacks host Longwood Monday night. The game against the Lancers is set for a 7 p.m. start from Johnson Coliseum. Longwood opens the season at No. 7 Kansas Friday night.
NEWS AND NOTES
SEASON OPENERS: SFA is 6-4 in season-opening games under head coach Danny Kaspar. The Lumberjacks have compiled an 11-13 record in season openers as a Division I program (since 1986-87 season). Under Kaspar, the Lumberjacks are 5-0 when opening the season at home and 10-6 in home season openers overall as a Division I program. SFA is 1-4 under Kaspar when opening on the road and is just 1-7, in all, as a Division I program when playing the season opener on the road. The Lumberjacks' only season-opening road win in the last 23 seasons was an 82-72 verdict at Tulsa to start the 2005-06 campaign.
HOME OPENER: SFA knocked off Jackson State, 62-61, in the 2009-10 home opener. Head coach Danny Kaspar's teams are 10-0 in home openers at SFA. The last time an SFA team failed to win its home opener was a 67-55 loss to Texas A&M in 1998.
SAFE AT HOME: In nine-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled a 114-29 (.797) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA is 310-120 (.721) all-time in the Coliseum. SFA finished with a 13-2 record in home games last season, marking the fifth straight campaign and the seventh time in eight years for the Lumberjacks to post double-digit wins at home.
EXPERIENCE: SFA has five returning players -- including four starters -- from last season. But with three of the five being junior college transfers in their second year with the Lumberjacks, SFA has only eight years of Division I basketball experience on the 2010-11 roster. That figure is tied for the 10th-fewest years of D-I experience in the nation. Eastern Washington has the fewest combined years of collegiate experience in the nation at four.
FRESH FACES: SFA has eight newcomers on the roster for the 2010-11 season. That figure is tied for the fifth-highest number of first-year players during Danny Kaspar's tenure as head coach.
TOP GUNS: SFA's leading scorers last season were Eddie Williams (13.3 ppg) and Jereal Scott (12.8 ppg). When both players broke double figures in scoring, the Lumberjacks went 15-4. SFA's only losses when both Williams and Scott scored more than 10 points came against Texas Tech, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana and UTSA.
STEADY EDDIE: A back injury forced guard Eddie Williams to miss SFA's game against Texas College last season. That marked the first time in his three-year career for Williams to miss action. He had played in all 76 games -- including 32 in each of his first two seasons -- coming into the contest against the Steers. He has now played in 95 total games with 54 starting appearances as a Lumberjack.
MILESTONE WIN: With the Lumberjacks' 60-53 win over A&M-Corpus Christi in the 2009-10 Southland Tournament semifinals, head coach Danny Kaspar earned his 400th career win.
SITTIN' ON 20: With its victory against A&M-Corpus last year, SFA broke the 20-win barrier for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in Danny Kaspar's 10 years as head coach. Prior to Kaspar's tenure, the only 20-win season in the program's history at the Division I level was the 22-8 record put up by the 'Jacks in the 1986-87 campaign, the program's first as a D-I team.
FAST START: SFA entered Southland Conference play with double figures in the win column last season for just the second time in the program's Division I tenure. The Lumberjacks' only other 10-win pre-conference slate came in 2007-08, when they went 12-2 before opening league play.