The Lumberjack basketball team will play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against Nicholls State University and at 4:30 p.m. Saturday against New Orleans University. Both games will be in William R. Johnson Coliseum, and Saturday’s game will be a doubleheader.
Last week, the Lumberjacks remained first in the Southland Conference after defeating Abilene Christian University 71-61 and Sam Houston State University 81-76. The Jacks hold a 19-3 overall record, a 10-1 conference record, a .864 winning percentage and a six-game winning streak.
Nicholls is now tied for second in the conference with the Bearkats with a 14-8 record, an 8-3 conference record and a .636 winning percentage. The Colonels were defeated in overtime in their last matchup 74-80 against McNeese State University.
“We can continue to separate ourselves from everyone in the league,” said Kyle Keller, SFA head men’s basketball coach. “Our guys have done a great job of putting ourselves in a position to do some special things this year. We’re coming in on a team who’s done really well this year, and we need to continue to win each game [to] separate ourselves from everybody else. We only have nine games left, six at home and three on the road.”
The Colonels have a field-goal percentage of .433 and a three-point percentage of .324. They also average 36.3 rebounds, 12.6 assists, 10.6 steals and 3.7 blocks per game. Redshirt senior Dexter McClanahan leads the team averaging 14.3 points per game and a .395 field-goal percentage.
“As the season goes further along, the games become more important, especially if you’re competing for a conference championship,” Keller said. “As we’re down here to the last third of the season, and it gets smaller, these games become more and more important.”
The University of New Orleans is ranked No. 11 in the conference with a 7-15 overall record, a 3-9 conference record and a .318 winning percentage. The Privateers come off an 84-73 win against Southeastern Louisiana University on Saturday.
UNO averages 76.2 points per game with a .461 field-goal percentage and a .340 three- point percentage. The team also averages 31.7 rebounds, 15.3 assists, 8.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.
Senior guard Bryson Robinson leads the Privateers offense with 18 points per game and a .407 field-goal percentage. On defense, sophomore forward Gerrale Gates averages six rebounds per game with a total of 119 rebounds this season with a total of 13 steals and 12 blocks.
“[The home crowd] gives us great energy,” Keller said. “They might jump a little higher. They might jump a little faster. We feed off our crowd, there’s no question. I think our team is really selfless. They’re fun to watch. We’re in the top 10 in scoring. We lead the country in forced turnovers. They don’t play for themselves. They play for others, and they play for the student body and for the crowd.”
Keller asks the student body to continue to support the men’s basketball team for the final six home games of the season. He says the returning players and staff have learned from last year’s challenges, and all they want to do is to continue the successful tradition SFA men’s basketball has.
“We’ve got one of the best winning percentages at home in college basketball. That’s a tribute to our student body,” Keller said. “We’re just so grateful and humbled every time we come out here that the student body shows up, and we need them six more times this year.”