Stephen F. Austin Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Southland (31-2, 18-0)


Stephen F. Austin reeled off 28 straight wins, spanning from November 26th to March 15th. Their only losses on the season came on the road against Texas on November 15th and East Tennessee State on November 23rd. First year head coach Brad Underwood, who spent years as an assistant under Frank Martin, has done a great job keeping the Lumberjacks atop the Southland standings.

Big Wins: 12/7 Towson (79-69), 1/4 Sam Houston State (73-56), 2/15 at Sam Houston State (67-60)
Bad Losses: 11/15 at Texas (62-72), 11/23 at East Tennessee State (58-66)
Coach: Brad Underwood (1 season at Stephen F. Austin)

Why They Can Surprise:
SFA has four players who average double digits in the scoring column. Jacob Parker leads the way 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. Fellow frontcourt mate Nikola Gajic averages 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. Those two also account for about three steals and four assists per game. That is not bad at all for a couple of forwards, even if they are just 6-6 and 6-5, respectively. On the perimeter, Desmond Haymon, Thomas Walkup and Deshaunt Walker are the primary scorers. Haymon, a savvy senior, will take the clutch shots for the Lumberjacks. Walkup is not much of an outside shooter, but he has had some big scoring outputs, like when he dropped 17 on Houston Baptist. Walker is the biggest three-point shooting threat on the team. While those five do a bulk of the scoring, the effectiveness of the offense would be nowhere near where it is without point guard Trey Pinkney. The sophomore simply makes things happen and makes sure the offense keeps moving the ball. It seems like every basket this team makes comes off of an assist and it is really tough to defend a squad that has four scorers on the floor who can pass the ball.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Like many teams at this level, size will turn into an issue in March. And to make matters worse for the Lumberjacks, there is not much frontcourt depth either. At 6-9 and 210 pounds, Junior Tanner Clayton is easily the largest option for Coach Underwood in his regular nine man rotation. Clayton is a solid shot blocker and a decent enough rebounder, but has very little offense at this point in his career. But the Lumberjacks do not need him to score. They need him to be the tough guy in the paint and he usually does that. But it is not like this team has not played some good big men during the season. Way back in November against Texas, SFA held Texas centers Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh to just one point on 0-7 shooting. Those two would go on to combine to average about 15 points per game for the Longhorns throughout the 2013-2014 campaign.

Probable Starters:
Trey Pinkney, Sophomore, Guard, 3.0 ppg, 3.5 apg
Desmond Haymon, Senior, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 2.8 apg
Thomas Walkup, Sophomore, Guard, 12.9 ppg, 2.1 apg, 5.0 rpg
Nikola Gajic, Senior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Jacob Parker, Junior, Forward, 14.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Connor Brooks, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Dallas Cameron, Freshman, Guard, 2.5 ppg, 1.3 apg
Tanner Clayton, Junior, Forward, 2.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Deshaunt Walker, Senior, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 1.2 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.5 (47th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.6 (25, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (71, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.3 (257, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (100, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (153, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.8 (146, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (35, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (9, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (71, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NIT        First Round loss to Stanford
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Syracuse
2008    NIT        First Round loss to Massachusetts
1987    NIT        First round win over James Madison
1987    NIT        Second round loss to Arkansas-Little Rock

*all team stats through 3/9


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