2008 NIT Capsule: Stephen F Austin
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
Southland (26-5, 13-3)
Big Wins: 12/8 at Oklahoma (66-62), 12/15 at San Diego (56-50), 2/21 Sam Houston State (79-57)
Bad Losses: 1/10 at Nicholls State (57-58), 1/24 at Sam Houston State (56-58), 3/1 Texas Arlington (65-75)
Last NCAA Appearance: 1987,
Coach: Danny Kaspar
Eric Bell, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 ppg, 5.7 apg
Gerald Fonzie, Senior, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Josh Alexander, Junior, Guard, 16.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
Nick Shaw, Junior, Forward, 6.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Matt Kingsley, Junior, Forward, 15.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Eddie Williams, Freshman, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 1.4 apg
Scott Weaver, Senior, Forward, 2.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Benson Akpan, Junior, Forward, 4.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Stephen F. Austin won a share of the Southland Conference crown with tough defense. Only Wisconsin allows fewer points per game than the Lumberjacks and Coach Danny Kaspar’s squad only allows the opposition to shoot 39.1 percent from the floor. The low point total is in part due to the rebounding presence at SFA. When the opposition finally gets a shot off, you can be sure the Lumberjacks will not make it easy for them to get another opportunity any time soon.
The best rebounder, and player for that matter, on the team is Josh Alexander. Not only does Alexander crash the boards, he also hits over three shots per game from beyond the arc and averages 16.0 points per game. Forward Nick Shaw and center Matt Kingsley are solid on the glass, but it is Kingsley ability to score in the paint that makes him special. At 6-9 and 225 pounds, Kingsley has the body to be a force in the paint against teams that sport bigger centers than he usually saw in the Southland Conference.
Why They Can Disappoint:
If SFA begins to slip behind in a game, they usually have a difficult time coming back. The team as a whole does not shoot a lot of three’s, although Alexander and Gerald Fonzie are certainly big time threats from long range. Yet, this is a not a quick offense that will score in bunches. With their less than stellar free-throw shooting, every point seems hard to come by. However, that is not always the case and as long as Alexander and Kingsley are feeling it, the Lumberjacks are dangerous.
Who To Watch:
Last year at this time Eric Bell was running the point at McLennan Community College. Now the 5-3, yes 5-3, DeSoto, Texas native is leading his team into the postseason. Bell averages 6.0 points per game, but it is his tenacious defense and ability to find his way through the big guys that makes him so dangerous. Stephen F. Austin has plenty of size and depth up front with Scott Weaver and Benson Akpan. Weaver started 28 games last year before being relegated to the bench this season and having experienced and talented big men on the bench is never a bad thing.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.5 (202nd in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.2 (2, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (110, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.1 (14, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (165, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (73, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.9 (237, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.3 (66, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (167, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (22, 1)
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