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Big test awaits ‘Jacks Thursday against talented GCU squad

Day day Hall
Day day Hall(SFA Athletics)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 9:57 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - When Stephen F. Austin joined the Western Athletic Conference there were two games in basketball that fans circled on their calendar: Grand Canyon and New Mexico State.

Those two teams will face off against SFA to end this busy week of basketball for the Lumberjacks.

First up on Thursday the ‘Jacks will host Grand Canyon. SFA sits in 5th place of the WAC standings with an overall record of 11-6 and 3-2 in the conference. GCU is a perfect 4-0 in conference play and 14-2 overall.

“We have six games in 14 days and we are in the middle of it,” men’s coach Kyle Keller said. “Our guys are mentally fatigued and physically but these two games are games we have pointed to for a long time.”

The men’s game will be their annual Cram the Coliseum game. Monday night’s crowd for the ‘jacks win over Lamar was just over 1,700 according to the post-game box score. Keller and the team are hoping for a much bigger crowd than what has been showing up this season.

“We are top 10 in the country with our home court record and a lot of that is because of our fans,” Keller said. “I think COVID has something to do with it and people are getting comfortable watching games at home. We need our fans to show up and our students to get into it. We need it to be loud for the first time this year. I don’t think people realize how 18-20 year old student-athletes feed off a home crowd.”

The team has been hit hard the past few games with the loss of Nana Antwi-Boasiako and Nigel Hawkins. Add in the loss of Roti Ware for the season and the team is trying to piece together a lineup to make it work for now.

“I watched them Saturday night handle Tarleton,” Keller said. “They are very skilled. I watched them against UTRGV when I scouted that game. We cannot let them run their offense because they will put out five guys that can dribble, pass and shoot. Their transition game is going well right now. We have to limit the transition points and limit their chances to take three point shots. We cannot let them control the pace with our lack of numbers right now.”

Tip-off in Nacogdoches for the men is set for 6:30 p.m.

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