'Jacks Head To SMU Holiday Classic
Dec. 29, 2007
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
SFA at SMU Holiday Classic
Dec. 29-30, 2007 4:35 p.m. (both days)
Moody Coliseum (8,998) Dallas, Texas
Radio: KTBQ (107.7 FM) Television: None Web: Yahoo! Sports
Holiday Classic: The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team will try to run its winning streak to eight straight games Saturday when it opens play in the SMU Holiday Classic. The Lumberjacks (9-1) are scheduled to take on Paul Quinn College Saturday, then play host team SMU Sunday. Both contests are scheduled for 4:35 p.m. tips. Paul Quinn is 6-5 on the season. SMU enters the weekend with a 5-5 record.
Last Game: SFA dominated Huston-Tillotson, 79-33, behind a record-setting defensive effort last Friday. The Lumberjacks held the Rams to 22 percent shooting, and the 33 points allowed set a new Southland Conference mark, according to league officials. SFA shot 54.2 percent behind an 8-of-10 performance by Josh Alexander. Alexander scored a game-high 19 points, despite playing just 16 minutes. Center Matt Kingsley scored 14 points, and freshman guard Eddie Williams added 12 points. The Lumberjacks outrebounded Huston-Tillotson, 49-27, their largest margin on the boards this season.
vs. The Opponents: SFA leads the all-time series with Paul Quinn, 3-0, while the Lumberjacks trail by the same margin in their series against the Mustangs.
The Tigers: Paul Quinn brings a 6-5 record into the weekend's action. The Tigers have won four of their last six games and recorded an 84-81 victory over Southern early in the season. Paul Quinn averages 92.2 points per game, led by 23.6 from Damien Chisholm.
The Mustangs: SMU is 5-5 this season. After a rough 0-4 start, the Mustangs have come on strong of late, winning five of their last six games. SMU is coming off a 57-49 win over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 20. The Mustangs average 66.5 points per game behind Jon Killen's average of 11.1 points per contest.
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 117-91 (.563) at SFA and has a 336-143 (.701) overall record in 16-plus seasons as a collegiate head coach. Paul Quinn is coached by Tim Bellmon. SMU's head coach is Matt Doherty.
Up Next: SFA's next scheduled game is a Jan. 5 home date with Wiley College. The contest is slated for a 4 p.m. tip from the William R. Johnson Coliseum. The Lumberjacks will then open Southland Conference play with a pair of road games at Nicholls State (Jan. 10) and Southeastern Louisiana (Jan. 12).
News and Notes
FAST START: SFA's 9-1 record this season is the best start to a season since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks and is the best 10-game mark for the program since the 1981-82 season, when the Lumberjacks opened the season with seven straight wins and went on to record a 14-1 record before finally recording their second loss of the season in the 16th game.
RANK AND FILE: SFA was included in Monday's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, marking its third straight week in the rankings. After cracking the poll at No. 25 on Dec. 10, the Lumberjacks moved up to No. 22 last week and were ranked No. 16 in Monday's poll. Southland Conference foes Sam Houston State (6) and Texas-Arlington (19) are also ranked, marking the first time in the nine-year history of the mid-major poll for three SLC teams to be ranked at the same time.
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: SFA received a vote in Monday's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, marking 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.
ON A ROLL ON THE ROAD: SFA's current seven-game winning streak includes four straight victories in non-conference road games. This marks the first time in program history for the Lumberjacks to win four straight road games against Division I, non-conference opponents. It's the first time since the 1981-82 season for SFA to win four straight out-of-conference road games against any level of competition.
DOUBLE-UP: SFA posted just three double-doubles all of last season -- Josh Alexander had two, and Matt Kingsley recorded one. The Lumberjacks have already surpassed that mark this year with four double-doubles -- each from a different player. Kingsley posted the first with 22 points and 13 rebounds against Jackson State on Nov. 13. Nick Shaw then scored 17 points and pulled down 16 rebounds against Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 21, and Eric Bell had 18 points with 11 assists at Northern Illinois three days later. Alexander finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds at Jackson State on Dec. 1.
KING OF THE (scoring) COLUMN: Junior center Matt Kingsley has led the Lumberjacks in scoring in five of the first 10 games this season, including three performances with 20-plus points. His 26-point showing at Jackson State was a season high. Kingsley leads the Southland Conference scoring race with 18.0 points per game. Kingsley has reached double digits in scoring in all 10 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 ranked 13th in the nation as of the last NCAA national statistics update. Bell has averaged 6.8 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.
PERFECT IN THE WRJ: The Lumberjacks are out to a 5-0 start in home games at the William R. Johnson Coliseum. SFA opened the 2006-07 season with wins in its first three home contests before dropping the fourth. 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.
FOUR OF A KIND: The Lumberjacks have had four players hit double digits in scoring in a single game four times in the last nine contests -- against Jackson State, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern and at Oklahoma. The quadruple-double against Jackson State marked the first time four SFA players hit double digits in a single game since Jan. 11 of last season, when SFA took a 73-72 overtime victory at Lamar.
BOARDOM: SFA has outrebounded its opponent in seven of 10 games this season by an average margin of 9.1 boards per contest. 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. The Lumberjacks pulled down 40-plus rebounds only four times in all last season and surpassed 43 boards only twice.
NON-CONFERENCE REMATCHES: SFA's win against Jackson State earlier this year marked the second meeting between the two teams this season and the first time since the 2003-04 season for the 'Jacks to sweep a non-conference doubleheader. SFA had not played a non-conference home-and-home series since the 2004-05 season, when the Lumberjacks split with Alabama A&M as each team won at home. The year before, SFA played home-and-home series against both Alcorn State and Centenary. The 'Jacks swept Alcorn State and split with Centenary.
SAFE AT HOME: In seven-plus seasons under head coach Danny Kaspar, the Lumberjacks have compiled an 80-25 (.762) record in the William R. Johnson Coliseum, including a 5-0 home mark this season. SFA is 276-116 (.704) 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.
For the complete release click on the "SMU Holiday Classic Game Notes" link in the side bar of the Men's Basketball home page.
-- SFA --