SFA Heads To Southeastern Louisiana
Jan. 11, 2008
- SFA at Southeastern Liousiana Lions
January 12, 2008 3:00 p.m.
University Center (7,500) Hammond, La.
Radio: KTBQ (107.7 FM) Television: None Web: Yahoo! Sports
Time to Rebound: After suffering their first loss in 11 games, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks will try to bounce back Saturday when they take on Southeastern Louisiana in their second Southland Conference game of the season. SFA is 12-2 on the season and 0-1 in league play after falling at Nicholls State Thursday in the SLC opener for both teams. Southeastern Louisiana is 9-5 overall and 1-0 in conference action.
Last Game: SFA saw its best start to a season in 26 years end Thursday in a 58-57 overtime loss at Nicholls State. The Lumberjacks used a 10-0 run over the final 2:22 of regulation to tie the score at 50 and send the game to overtime. SFA opened the extra period by scoring seven straight points, but the Colonels pumped in eight unanswered, including a buzzer-beating tip-in by Ryan Bathie that won the game for Nicholls State. Junior forward Josh Alexander scored 18 points, breaking the 1,000-point barrier along the way, and pulled down 10 rebounds for his seventh career double-double. Sophomore Eric Bell and junior Nick Shaw added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
vs. Southeastern Louisiana: SFA is 19-12 all-time against the Lions. The Lumberjacks have split with Southeastern over the last 10 meetings, but the Lions have won four of the last five. Under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks are 3-3 against Southeastern on the road, and the Lions have won each of the last three meetings in Hammond. Overall, SFA is 7-5 against Southeastern under Kaspar. The Lumberjacks won last year's meeting, 66-49, in Nacogdoches.
The Lions: Southeastern Louisiana is 9-5 overall and 1-0 in Southland Conference games. The Lions hold a perfect 7-0 record at home in the University Center this season. Southeastern is coming off a 61-58 road win over preseason SLC favorite Sam Houston State on Wednesday.
The Coaches: SFA is led by head coach Danny Kaspar. Kaspar is in his eighth season at the helm for the Lumberjacks. He holds a record of 120-91 (.569) at SFA and has a 339-143 (.703) overall record in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach. Southeastern Louisiana is coached by Jim Yarbrough. In his third year with the Lions, Yarbrough has a 41-31 (.569) record at Southeastern and a 138-73 (.654) overall coaching record in seven seasons.
Up Next: SFA will play its first home Southland Conference games next week when the Lumberjacks entertain Lamar and McNeese State. The game against the Cardinals is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. SFA will meet the Cowboys Saturday in a 6 p.m. tip.
News and Notes:
FAST START: SFA opened the season with a 12-1 record, the best start to a season since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks. The fantastic start was the best 13-game mark for the program since the 1981-82 season, when the Lumberjacks opened the season with seven straight wins and went on to post a 14-1 record before finally recording their second loss of the season in the 16th game.
RANK AND FILE: SFA was ranked No. 10 in Monday's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, marking the Lumberjacks' first-ever appearance in the Top 10. This is SFA's fifth straight week in the rankings after entering the poll at No. 25 on Dec. 10, following the Lumberjacks' upset win at Oklahoma. SFA has moved up in the poll each week since joining the rankings, jumping to 22nd, 16th, then 11th last week, before cracking the Top 10 Monday.
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: SFA received a vote in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll in each of the last two weeks of December. This marked the first time since the 2003-04 season for the Lumberjacks to earn a vote in a national Top 25 poll. That year, SFA earned one vote in the Associated Press poll.
3-D: SFA's defense has been dominant this season. The Lumberjacks have held opponents to an average of 53.9 points per game, which leads the Southland Conference and ranks third in the nation. While good defense has long been a mark of Danny Kaspar-coached teams, the Lumberjacks have never finished higher than 12th in the national rankings in terms of scoring defense. This season, the Lumberjacks have held nine opponents to fewer than 60 points and have yet to allow any team to break 70. SFA ranks 19th in the country in field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 38.2 percent shooting from the field. Perhaps most importantly, though, the Lumberjacks don't allow the opposition many second chances. SFA gives up just 29.2 rebounds per game, best in the conference, and the Lumberjacks rank 39th in the nation in rebounding margin, at plus-6.4 boards per game.
KING OF THE (scoring) COLUMN: Junior center Matt Kingsley has led the Lumberjacks in scoring in six of the first 14 games this season, including four performances with 20-plus points. His 26-point showing at Jackson State was a season high. Kingsley is second in the Southland Conference scoring race with 16.1 points per game. Kingsley reached double digits in scoring in each of the first 11 games this season, blasting his previous career-best streak of five straight double-figure games, set late last season.
DIAL "1" FOR ASSISTANCE: Sophomore point guard Eric Bell (jersey number 1) leads the Southland Conference in assists and ranks 14th in the nation with 6.1 assists per game. He posted a career-high 11 assists at Northern Illinois. That marked the first double-digit assist effort for a Lumberjack since Marcus Clark dished out 10 in a game during the 2005-06 season. Bell also leads the Southland and ranks 38th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.13.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT: Junior forward Josh Alexander has hit a hot streak that has the Shreveport, La., native on pace for a record year in 2007-08. Alexander is 39-for-71 (.549) including a 24-of-48 (.500) showing from 3-point range in the Lumberjacks' last six games. He has scored 17 or more points five times in that span, including a season-high 22 twice. Alexander broke the 1,000-point barrier with his 14th point in Thursday's game at Nicholls State, when he scored a game-high 18 points. If he continues his current scoring pace, he could rank as high as 11th on the school's all-time scoring list by the end of the season. Alexander is also just 19 3-point field goals away from setting a school record for career 3-point baskets.
ON A ROLL ON THE ROAD: SFA's recent 10-game winning streak included five straight victories in non-conference road games and a neutral-site win. This marks the first time in program history for the Lumberjacks to win five straight road games against Division I, non-conference opponents. It's the first time since the 1981-82 season for SFA to win more than three straight out-of-conference road games against any level of competition.
PERFECT IN THE WRJ: The Lumberjacks are out to a 6-0 start in home games at the William R. Johnson Coliseum. The last time a Lumberjack team won more than three in a row at home to start a season was in 2003-04, when SFA went 16-0 at home as part of a 31-game home winning streak that dated to the previous season and was the longest active streak in the nation by the time it was finally broken.
BOARDOM: SFA has outrebounded its opponent in 10 of 14 games this season, winning all but one of those contests. The Lumberjacks pulled down 41 rebounds in the win over Louisiana-Monroe, two games after the Lumberjacks' 43-board effort against Jackson State. SFA posted a season-high 49 rebounds against Huston-Tillotson, besting the Rams by 22 boards, then put up 43 rebounds against Paul Quinn and finished with 42 against Wiley. The Lumberjacks pulled down 40-plus rebounds only four times in all last season and surpassed 43 boards only twice.
SAFE AT HOME: In seven-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled an 81-25 (.764) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum, including a 6-0 home mark this season. SFA is 277-116 (.705) all-time in the Coliseum. The 'Jacks went 10-5 (.667) at home in 2006-07. SFA defeated UT-Tyler, 63-47, in the 2007-08 season opener. Kaspar's teams are a perfect 8-0 in home openers at SFA.
EARLY SIGNINGS: SFA signed three recruits during the fall's early signing period. The Lumberjacks added shooting guard Walt Harris, small forward Zach Williams and power forward Lu Griffin. Harris and Griffin are top-flight junior college players -- Harris from McLennan J.C. and Griffin from South Plains J.C. -- while Williams, a Dallas Skyline product, is a Top 15 prep recruit for his class in the state of Texas. The trio has been ranked tops in the Southland Conference among early signing classes by The Hoop Scoop, with a league-best average player rating of 3.0. Rivals.com rates Harris and Williams as the best shooting guard and small forward, respectively, signed in the Southland Conference this fall.
Scouting the Lions:
ABOUT THE LIONS: Southeastern Louisiana brings a 9-5 record into Saturday's contest. The Lions opened the season by winning five of their first six games, including a four-game win streak. It took a two-point overtime loss at Alabama to break the streak, but Southeastern has since won four of its last six games, including each of the last two. The Lions returned just one starter from last season and were picked to finish fourth in the Southland Conference East Division in both preseason polls. But Southeastern opened SLC play Wednesday night by going on the road and toppling preseason favorite Sam Houston State, 61-58.
LAST GAME: In a wild game that saw seven ties and 13 lead changes, Southeastern Louisiana knocked off Sam Houston State, 61-58, Wednesday in Huntsville, Texas. The Lions held Sam Houston to 36 percent from the field, including a 1-for-11 effort from 3-point range. Two of those missed 3-point shots came in the game's closing seconds, when the Bearkats had two attempts to tie the game. The Lions' inside scoring was strong. Senior forward Kevyn Green scored 15 points to lead Southeastern. He was joined in double figures by 10 points from sophomore center Patrick Sullivan. After going to halftime down, 29-28, the Lions shot 52 percent in the second half. Southeastern was 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
KEY NUMBERS: Southeastern Louisian ranks third in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 58.1 points per game. The Lions are one of only three teams in the league to hold their opponents below 60 points per contest this season. They do it by leading the SLC in field goal percentage defense at .365. Southeastern is no slouch at the other end of the floor, either. The Lions' .469 field goal percentage ranks second in the conference. Southeastern also ranks second in the league in rebounding margin at plus-8.0 boards per contest. If the Lions have a soft spot, it could be in turnover margin, where they stand eighth in the SLC at minus-1.29.
LEADERS: Southeastern's leading scorer, senior forward Kevyn Green, ranks 10th in the Southland Conference with 13.8 points per game. Junior forward Warrell Span is second on the team, averaging 12.0 points per game. Sophomore center Patrick Sullivan leads the Lions and ranks seventh in the SLC in rebounding with 7.4 boards per contest. Freshman forward David Ndoumba is close behind at 13th in the league with his 6.1 rebounds per game. Sullivan is also one of the top shooters in the league, as his .563 field goal percentage ranks sixth in the conference. Senior guard Dekyron Nicks leads the Lions in assists and is fourth in the SLC with 4.1 per game.
For the complete release, click the "Southeastern Louisiana Game Notes" link in the side bar of the Men's Basketball home page.
-- SFA --