SFA To Host Tigers
Dec. 1, 2008
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
Good to be Home: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team will continue its longest home stand of the season Tuesday as part of a weeknight doubleheader with the Ladyjacks. The men's team will open the action against Jackson State. The Tigers are 1-5 on the year and coming off their first win of the season. SFA brings a 2-2 mark to the contest and is undefeated in two games at home this year.
Last Game: SFA posted a record-setting defensive performance in the second half of an 83-42 win over Texas College. The Lumberjacks held Texas College to just two made field goals and 11 total points after halftime to collect the 41-point victory -- the largest win margin of the season. At the other end of the floor, SFA snapped out of a two-game shooting funk to hit 54.7 percent from the field and outscored the Steers, 50-10, in the paint. Four different Lumberjacks reached double figures in scoring, led by senior center Matt Kingsley's 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Freshman forward Zach Williams pulled down a career-high nine rebounds, and senior forward Josh Alexander had seven boards to go along with his 10 points. Freshman point guard Jarrod McDaniel handed out seven assists against just one turnover in his second appearance of the season.
vs. Jackson State: SFA's young series with Jackson State is split down the middle at three wins apiece. The teams only began playing one another in 2001-02, Danny Kaspar's second season at SFA. That year, the Tigers took a 59-68 win. Jackson State held a 3-1 edge in the series coming into last season, but SFA defeated the Tigers in both ends of a single-season home-and-home series to even the count. The 'Jacks took a 70-55 verdict in Nacogdoches and came back from Jackson with an 82-67 win in tow.
The Tigers: Jackson State dropped five straight games before picking up its first win of the season, defeating North Carolina Central in the final round of the South Padre Island Invitational. The well-traveled Tigers have yet to play a home game this season, and won't until Jan. 10.
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 136-98 (.581) at SFA and has a 355-150 (.703) overall record in 17-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach. Tevester Anderson is 78-90 (.464) in his seventh year with Jackson State and 181-142 (.560) in 11 years overall.
Up Next: The Lumberjacks will wrap up their three-game home stand when they entertain Texas Wesleyan on Saturday. The game against the Rams is slated for a 6 p.m. tip-off from Johnson Coliseum.
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 has shot worse than 35 percent.
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 29 times in 234 games under Kaspar and are 27-2 in such contests. SFA held eight opponents under 20 points in a half during the 2007-08 campaign and has done so twice this season.
THREE-FOR-ALL: Josh Alexander tied a career-high with seven 3-point field goals in last week's loss at Texas A&M. Alexander was 7-for-10 from downtown and 7-for-12 overall to finish with 21 points. That marked the 11th time in Alexander's career for all his field goals in a game to come from 3-point range. Coming into that contest, the most 3-pointers he had ever hit in a game without scoring from inside the arc was six at Sam Houston Sate last February. With no attempts at the free throw line, that effort marked just the fifth time in Alexander's career for all his points to come on threes. The previous best total in that scenario was the 12 points he scored on 4-of-7 shooting at Missouri in 2006-07.
TWENTY-TWENTY: Josh Alexander's game-high 21 points at Texas A&M marked the 20th time in his four-year career for him to break the 20-point barrier. He scored 20 or more points eight times in 2007-08. Alexander has led the team in scoring 39 times in his career.
OUTSTANDING ASSISTANCE: Through four games, the Lumberjacks have recorded 61 assists on 100 made field goals. That's a ratio of one dime for every 1.64 buckets. Junior point guard Eric Bell had eight assists at Texas A&M and leads the team with 15 for the season. Backup Girod Adams is second with 12 after debuting with seven assists against Howard Payne in the season opener, and freshman Jarrod McDaniel is third with 10 dimes.
MISFIRE: SFA shot just 29.8 percent from the field in its 55-48 loss at Texas A&M. That marked the first time since Feb. 14, 2007 for a Lumberjack team to shoot worse than 30 percent from the field. That game, SFA shot 29.6 percent in a 63-51 loss at Sam Houston State. The only time the 'Jacks shot worse than 35 percent last season was a 34.1-percent showing at Texas Tech, their only non-conference defeat of the year.
WET PAINT: In a weird statistical quirk, SFA's shooting woes in the loss at Texas A&M went from bad to worse the closer the Lumberjacks got to the basket. In the first half, SFA was 4-for-13 from inside the 3-point line and 5-for-12 from outside of it. After halftime, the 'Jacks were completely shut out from inside the arc, going 0-for-13 on 2-point attempts, while knocking down 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range. A&M outscored SFA, 22-6, in the paint.
GRAND OPENING: With the Lumberjacks' 77-38 win over Howard Payne, SFA moved to 6-3 in nine season openers under head coach Danny Kaspar. SFA is perfect at 9-0 in home openers during Kaspar's tenure.
BIG 12: In eight seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, SFA is 2-6 against teams from the Big 12 Conference. The 'Jacks have played at least one Big 12 foe in all but two seasons of Kaspar's tenure -- 2001-02 and 2004-05. SFA's two wins were at Baylor (79-57) in 2003-04 and at Oklahoma (66-62) last season. Last week's game at Texas A&M marked the first of two contests against Big 12 opponents this season. SFA will also take on Texas Tech on New Year's Day.
RANK AND FILE: SFA was ranked No. 11 in the Preseason CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. This marks the first time in the poll's 10-year history for SFA to enter the season as a ranked team. In addition, the No. 11 ranking is the highest entry to the poll for a Lumberjack team to date. The 'Jacks are currently ranked 12th in the mid-major poll. SFA spent a program-best 15 consecutive weeks ranked in last year's Mid-Major Top 25 after debuting at No. 25 on Dec. 10. The 'Jacks climbed as high as No. 6, including a first-place vote, on Feb. 25, and finished the season ranked 14th.
STEADY EDDIE: Sophomore Eddie Williams made his first career start against Howard Payne, getting the nod at shooting guard. He played 25 minutes and tied career highs for points (16), field goals (7) and steals (3). In addition to his impact on the defensive end, Williams provided a spark in transition, as 10 of his 16 points came on fast breaks. He has started all four games this season.
THREE OF A KIND: Seniors Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley tied with sophomore Eddie Williams for the high-point total in SFA's opener against Howard Payne. Each of the three accounted for 16 points. Combined, they would have outscored the Yellow Jackets, 48-38, on their own.
BOARDED UP: Four different Lumberjacks have pulled down at least five rebounds in two games this season. Josh Alexander (5), Nick Shaw (6), Girod Adams (5) and Jereal Scott (6) did it against Howard Payne, and Alexander (7), Zach Williams (9), Benson Akpan (6) and Aaron Smith (5) completed the feat against Texas College. That happened just five times all of last season and only once in non-conference play. Five 'Jacks pulled down five or more rebounds against Huston-Tillotson on Dec. 21.
SHOOTING STRAIGHT: SFA opened the 2008-09 season with a .518 shooting percentage against Howard Payne. That figure is the best in a season opener under head coach Danny Kaspar.
FOR THE RECORD: Jackson State comes into Tuesday's game with a 1-5 record. The Tigers opened the season with five straight losses before picking up their first win of the year with a 69-49 verdict over North Carolina Central on Saturday. Jackson State's five losses were against LSU, Texas A&M, Illinois, North Texas and A&M-Corpus Christi. All six of Jackson State's games have been road or neutral-site contests. The Tigers aren't scheduled to play a home game until Jan. 10.
LAST GAME: Jackson State held North Carolina Central to 29.4-percent shooting in a 69-49 win Saturday in the final round of the South Padre Island Invitational. The Tigers built a 36-16 halftime advantage by holding NC Central to a 4-for-21 showing from the field in the first half. Meanwhile, Jackson State posted its second-best shooting performance of the season, knocking down 44.4 percent from the field. The Tigers were 16-of-17 at the free throw stripe, a season-best .941 performance. Four Jackson State players reached double digits scoring, led by 14 from senior Darrion Griffin.
LAST MEETING: SFA and Jackson State squared off twice last season with the Lumberjacks winning both meetings. In the second game, an 82-67 road win, center Matt Kingsley scored SFA's first 10 points of the contest and finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting, leading a Lumberjack team that shot a season-best 63 percent. Departed guard Gerald Fonzie went 5-for-8 from 3-point range and finished with 19 points. Forward Josh Alexander posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Grant Maxey, a returner on this year's Jackson State squad, led the Tigers with 18 points.
KEY NUMBERS: The Tigers are third in the Southwestern Athletic Conference with 70.2 points per game, but allow 76.5 points per contest, which ranks seventh in the SWAC. Jackson State has outrebounded its opponent in all but two games this season and holds a plus-2.3-board edge that stands second in the conference. The Tigers lead the SWAC with their .771 free throw percentage and have shot better than .850 three times this season.
LEADERS: Jackson State has two players -- junior forward Grant Maxey and senior guard Darrion Griffin -- who rank in the top 10 among the SWAC's leading scorers. Maxey is third in the league with 16.8 points per game, while Griffin ranks sixth with his 15.2 average. Maxey also leads the Tigers and ranks second in the league with his 9.0 rebounds per game. Griffin leads Jackson State and stands seventh in the SWAC in both assists (3.2 apg) and assist-turnover ratio (1.1).
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-- SFA --