Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—The Southern Virginia University men's basketball team closed out a record-breaking year finishing with a 17-7 record and continuing a program-best 28-game home winning streak.
"I'm very pleased with the season as a whole and with the effort our team put forth," said first-year Head Coach Tony Caputo. "This team was one of the most cohesive and competitive units I've coached."
In Caputo's first year at the helm, Southern Virginia ended its season with the fewest losses (7), the second-highest winning percentage (.708) in program history and an 8-0 record at Knight Arena carrying its 28-game home winning streak into next season.
The Knights made their mark in the record books even further recording an all-time best in single-season blocked shots per-game (2.9) while ranking second in both offensive shooting percentage (.463) and defensive shooting percentage (.420).
"We had key wins all throughout but the two wins at Berea College set the tone for the rest of the year," said Caupto.
After starting 2-1 through the middle of November, Southern Virginia earned a pair of victories in the Berea Classic over eventual 20 and 15-game winners Asbury College (97-84) and tournament-host Berea College (79-68) on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2012.
Following a 6-3 record leading up to Christmas Break, the Knights jumped out of the gate with a five-game winning streak including an impressive win over future Capital Athletic Conference-opponent Mary Washington (63-53) on Jan. 23, 2013, a night which the team dedicated its performance to senior guard Payton Brooks' (Beaverton, Ore.) wife, Nattie Brooks, who was recently diagnosed with GTD.
The squad followed that up with an overtime thriller against Apprentice (96-87) on Jan. 26 in which Caputo was honored as the university's Pioneer Coach.
"The games when we beat Mary Washington and Apprentice at home were some of the most electric environments in Knight Arena I've been a part of as a coach," said Caputo, who served as assistant men's basketball coach for 11 years prior to being named head coach.
Despite dropping the next three of four games on the road, Southern Virginia defeated Apprentice 84-73 on Feb. 2 for the season series sweep and its lone victory through the four-game swing.
Paving its pathway to the national tournament, men's basketball finished by sweeping the final four contests highlighted by a 73-52 win on Senior Night over USCAA-foe WVU-Tech for the Knights' undefeated homestand and a 16-6 regular season mark—the program's best record through 22 games.
No. 5-seeded Southern Virginia upset No. 4-seed Lindenwood-Belleville 91-79 in the opening round of the USCAA National Tournament before having its quest for a championship hampered with a 59-47 loss on Feb. 28 to eventual national champion Rochester College.
It marked the fifth straight season that Southern Virginia has either won the tournament, or lost to the eventual champion.
"Although we fell short in the tournament, I was proud of our team for a great first round win and for a great defensive effort against Rochester," said Caputo.
Nye, a three-time USCAA All-American, ended one of the most decorated careers in men's basketball history. For the second straight season, Nye led the Knight in scoring with 15.4 points-per-game while also ranking third on Southern Virginia's all-time scoring list with 1,279 career points.
The fourth-year shooting guard has also won more games (72) than any other player in program history, while helping the Knights to postseason appearances during each of his four seasons highlighted by the national championship in 2010-11.
"We could always count on Casey [Nye] to sink the tough shots, something he has done year-in, year-out throughout his career," said Caputo.
Nye's backcourt counterpart and USCAA All-American Second Team selection, I. Jacobson also had one of the best statistical seasons by a Southern Virginia player, ranking second on the team in scoring at 14.2 points-per-game, while leading the Knights in rebounds (5.8), assists (3.7) and steals (2.2) per-game from the point guard position.
I. Jacobson was also named to the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-District team for his accomplishments on-the-court and in the classroom.
"Our offense and defense went through Isaac at point guard," said Caputo. "It was fun to see everything come together for his successful senior season. We'll miss his aggressive play and leadership skills."
Junior guard Anders Jacobson (Kitty Hawk, N.C.) was the final Knight to earn USCAA All-American honors as an Honorable Mention selection for the second straight season, who was the third leading scorer with 11.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and nearly one steal per-game.
"Anders got hot offensively during the second half of the season when we needed him most," said Caputo. "In his three years here, we've looked to him as our defensive stopper as well."
Directly behind Nye, I. Jacobson and A. Jacobson rank fourth and fifth on the career scoring list with 912 and 906 points respectively.
The oldest Jacobson brother, junior forward Jonathan Jacobson (Kitty Hawk, N.C.), had a solid campaign down low ranking third on the squad in rebounds (4.8) and fourth in points (7.7).
"Jonathan had a great two years at Southern Virginia, providing a presence around the basket on both ends of the court," said Caupto. "All three Jacobson brothers have contributed a lot to this program collectively."
Bailey finished the year shooting .456 from the field while averaging 4.8 points and grabbing 3.8 rebounds-per-game before a late season injury put him on the sideline. In his second year at Southern Virginia, Brooks provided a spark off the bench leading the team in free throw percentage (.826) and knocking down 33.7-percent of his shots from downtown.
In his only season as a Knight, Richins made his presence known down low and filled in nicely as a starter after Bailey's injury. Richins averaged five points and five rebounds-per-game while going .486 from the field.
"Andrew and Seth did a great in the key all season, a large reason for our success," said Caputo. "Payton and Seth could always be counted on to come off the bench and give us a boost."
After returning from two-year missions, Evans and Harr added 6.9 and 5.0 points-per-game apiece with Harr leading Southern Virginia in shooting percentage (.554) and Evans ranking third on the team in three-point percentage (.358). Woodson ended the season on a high note hitting 9-of-25 shots from behind the arc.
"Jed's improvement down-the-stretch couldn't have come at a better time, especially his presence under the hoop," said Caputo. "Wesley and John did a great job for us this year. I expect them to captain the program for the next few seasons."
"Not only am I content with the way the season turned out, I'm also happy with our four scholar-athletes that were recognized on the all-academic team," said Caputo.
Entering 2013-14, men's basketball will look to continue its 28-game home winning streak and sixth consecutive winning season in preparation for its first year as a Capital Athletic Conference-member with a full conference schedule.
"I feel that our experience in playing a heavy-laden DIII schedule and CAC teams Mary Washington and Frostburg State [University] gives us a taste of what to expect next year," said Caputo. "It should be a challenging task, but I'm excited to join the conference and see what we're made of."